If the Republican Party was a Fortune 500 corporation, the sudden and dramatic arrival of Sarah Palin on the national stage would have all the markings of an orchestrated sacrificial lamb strategy.
In the corporate world, when a high-profile project is wildly off-track and facing unlikely odds of success, a tried-and-true executive cover-your-ass strategy is to bring in a young, hungry, eager-to-please "game changer" to ostensibly push the project to success. The strategy works well because if the game changer actually manages to pull off a miracle the corporate executives win bonuses. However, if as anticipated, the game changer fails to turn the situation around the executives save face, keep their jobs and, most importantly, get to participate in the next high-profile project slated for 2012. The game changer becomes sacrifice.
When I say executive, I don't mean John McCain. In this case, John McCain and his wildly off-track campaign are the doomed project that top-level GOP "executives" appear to be busy insulating themselves from.
Keep in mind that, on her way to the podium/sacrificial altar Wednesday night, Sarah Palin had to walk past Meg Whitman (founding President and CEO of eBay), Carly Fiorina (ex-CEO of Hewlett Packard), as well as Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Tom Ridge, and other more qualified oval office hopefuls; none of who wish to carry the memory and burden of a failed campaign into a 2012 Presidential bid. "Country First" can only take a truly ambitious Republican so far.
Interestingly, Sarah Palin appears to be the perfect person to carry out a dead-old-man-walking strategy. She presents well and is smart enough to be perceived as a contender. She's also eager to please, hungry for recognition...and most importantly, if she fails, she gets a one-way ticket back to the Alaskan wilderness. After the election, nobody within the GOP top-tier needs to worry about running into Sarah Palin at the DC water cooler.
But what's really useful about sacrificial lambs is their blood. As any Christian can tell you, sacrificial blood has the unique property of washing away countless sins. Although, it will take much more than Sarah Palin and 500,000 square miles of Alaskan wilderness to absolve the sins of the Bush administration, as sacrificial lambs go, Sarah Palin is particularly well-suited to help erase two long-standing GOP sins: 1) the sin of melding religion with politics and, 2) the sin of being a testosterone-dominated party.
Since Sarah Palin embodies what John McCain once referred to as "the agents of intolerance," when she's banished to the wilderness Republicans will be granted a 30-second window of opportunity to reclaim their party by sending the religious right along with her. Furthermore, Sarah's historic walk to the podium/altar Wednesday night opened a door that Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and countless other women couldn't open it by themselves. Ironically, by elevating women inside the GOP and possibly unwittingly helping to drive the religious right out, Sarah Palin may actually end up saving the Grand Old Party from itself by making it look more like the Democratic Party. But then again, given enough time, religious zealots have a habit of finding their way out of the wilderness.