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Palin is the Future of the GOP

By Andrea Tantaros

The next generation of the Republican Party is Governor Sarah Palin, despite the political malpractice of the McCain camp, and the current rumblings of the old guard (emphasis on old) of the GOP establishment.
 
In this year's election she was our most valuable player, and like any MVP her political athletic ability is a force to be reckoned with. She has youth on her side which will make her viable for the next two decades (at least). She possesses the supernatural ability to draw tens of thousands to a rally.  Her fundraising potential is boundless and her biography is politically seductive. 
 
She is slightly damaged from the Presidential election, not by anything she did, which is why it is possible to overcome the hurdles, the naysayers and heal her two biggest bruises:
 
First, the one trick ponies on the McCain campaign tried to staff her as they did George W. Bush: as a propped up, stilted, artificial attack dog and full throated conservative, because McCain needed that base to succeed. But this is not the real Sarah Palin.  Most Alaskans will vouch for that, especially the Republicans.
 
Palin is a populist powerhouse who has spent years taking on her own party's corruption. She seemingly works better with Democrats to put points on the board for the benefit of her state rather than get locked in the partisan gridlock and posturing that cripples male politicians. She is razor sharp and savvy when it comes to maneuvering. (Too bad she outmaneuvered her McCain handlers too late).
 
Second, Team McCain was fairly anemic when it came to assets this election cycle, but one thing they did have on their side was time. Instead of choosing Palin earlier in the summer which would have given her weeks for preparation on issues like national security and the economy, they shoved her into the fray before she spent sufficient time grappling with complex national issues. Imagine the Couric murder board taking place in early summer and not late fall?
 
Time is now on her side. Here's what she needs to do:
 
Give major policy speeches. She dazzles the audience when she addresses the energy issue. This is a logical starting point.
 
Campaign and fundraise on behalf of Republicans. It will be imperative for her to build an army of allies. The next RNC Chair should be her first priority.
 
Begin to harness the power of her grassroots support. I'm fairly certain Palin doesn't have access to the McCain fundraising and grassroots lists of this past election, which is why she needs to create her own. Palin has millions of Americans at her beck and call. She needs to start organizing this asset by collecting names, emails and phone numbers.
 
Write a book (on substance, not moose chili). It's time to get serious. The snowmobiling was cute for a while but the current state of our nation requires thoughtful policy and real deal solutions. We're faced with crisis of ethics. As someone who cleaned up Alaska, she should write about the lessons she learned and apply them to kitchen table concerns.
 
Get some ink in her passport. Obama has very little but was somehow inoculated from criticism after he took a highly publicized trip east. She should do the same, frequently.
 
Do a weekly radio address. The topics should be major issues of national importance.  She should do the research and writing herself.
 
Appoint herself to the US Senate. If Senator Ted Stevens is elected -- and then kicked out of the Senate by his colleagues as is widely expected, which can be accomplished with a simple majority vote -- Stevens' temporary replacement would be appointed by Governor Palin.  Imagine Hillary, McCain and Palin on Capitol Hill and Obama and Biden in the White House? It would be Shakespearian! What better way for her to shake up the Senate, stay on the national stage and keep an eye on the party?
 
With the doom and gloom of the current economic climate and total Democratic rule set in place to govern, the ground will be seeded for a Palin comeback in 2012, though it won't be easy. She'll have the far right behind her, but she must run as herself this time, as the pragmatic, centrist reformer she is to truly be successful.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican political commentator and FoxNews.com contributor. Her commentary can be found at FoxNews.com and www.andreatantaros.com.