For all the good John McCain has done over his many years, I don't think I can ever forgive him for putting the national spotlight on Sarah Palin.
Now looking back at 2004, after Kerry lost many looked to Edwards to run. He was, for a short time, the party's front runner. Now he didn't keep that very long once everyone just remembered Hillary Clinton.
Now, looking at the landscape of the Republican party, there are only a few names already popping up to run in 2012, barring John McCain actually winning in 14 days. First, you have Sarah Palin, whom just debuted on SNL:
It was while I was watching the Weekend Update skit that I finally understood why she went on the show. It wasn't going to help her and John win the election, but it was going to have people talking about Sara Palin on SNL. And in a year, no one will remember what she did on SNL, but they will remember she went on and took the jokes to her face. That will make people like her. And she has several years to hit the books and bone up on every weak point she has. And I don't doubt she will do it. So, like most everything she does, her going on SNL was all about Sara Palin and little about McCain/Palin.
And with only Mitt Romney and maybe Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to really likely to come out early, being where she is now gives Palin way too much time to mold her image with the party's base. Now, mind you this is saying that there is a Republican party in four years. I have great feelings that the party is coming apart, and someone needs to come forward to save it (McCain couldn't) before it gets too far gone.
Odds are not in Palin's favor for being the front runner for long, but her media coverage and message will shape the dialog forcing any other major challenger to at least deal with it. Her popularity with the Republican base is strong, and while she may become the head of a new, more conservative, party rising from Republican ashes, she now has her eyes set much higher than Governor of Alaska. And come February of 2009, Sara Palin will only be 45 years old. She ain't going anywhere, and she is going to spend most of those days thinking of ways to get into the White House herself.
If we, god help us, have to see Palin running against Obama in 2012 it will all be John McCain's fault. You can't even blame America for nominating her in my weird fantasy; America loves its redneck, straight-talkin' mavericks.
So, John McCain, I blame you. And I'm not sure I can ever forgive you.