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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Palin's Land of Opportunity

This is America, remember. Anything is conceivable, anything is possible, in the Land of Opportunity. Who would have imagined two or three years ago, for instance, that Barack Obama would have been a viable candidate for the presidency?

The question for Sarah Palin is this: How does her decision to step down as governor affect her chances for political leadership in the future? Initially, it might look damaging, because she's surrendering her public platform as a sitting governor. Still, we have seen politicians leave high office, enter private life, and later ascend to the White House. Richard Nixon in 1968 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 are two examples.

So, while Palin's chances might be damaged, they aren't ruined. She can always bank on the fact that she ran as the first woman on a Republican national ticket. Also, she'll no longer be subject to scrutiny as a governor, especially during harsh economic times. Her record as Alaska's chief executive ends here. Her abrupt exit might make her appear flighty, but most people will forget that soon enough.

Who knows, maybe she'll go to New York and become host of a talk show, and gain a bigger platform than she ever had before. Having a well-known name has always counted for a lot in politics, but even more so in today's celebrity-obsessed culture. Look at Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken; their political successes are no doubt linked to their prior popularity as entertainers. Stepping down as governor might prove a shrewd move for Sarah Palin.

One thing she could do to elevate her profile is to attach her name to a cause - a political issue, a charity, anything. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore have taken that route, and they're more popular than when they were in office. Sarah Palin's future, then, could depend far more on what she does starting now, and not so much on what she did as the governor of Alaska.

By Yash Gupta

 |  July 8, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
Category:  Politics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Palin Represents Hope | Next: Learning From Goldman Sachs's "Catalysts"

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if the washington post was smart, you would take this woman under your wing.. we are gonna need her reagan style politics in the future for sure-- and your ratings would sky rocket also-- just a thought

Posted by: darin_holmes | July 8, 2009 6:38 PM
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