In 2002, Renee (not her real name) was a director of Public Liaison for the White House. She had meetings with African American Civil Rights Leaders, activists, educators and entrepreneurs to build coalitions for the President. One leader she sought to cultivate a relationship with was Dorothy I. Height, Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women. Then at age 90, Mrs. Height was highly regarded by President Bush as one of the most powerful women in the nation. When Mrs. Height wanted to get something done, all she had to do was ask.
One afternoon, Renee invited Mrs. Height to lunch in the White House dining room. Mrs. Height arrived in a wheel chair dressed in her Sunday best wearing her signature hat. As the two of them ate, Mrs. Height recalled her life challenges fighting for the cause of justice and equality. Renee listened carefully to the historical icon walk down memory lane. When it was her turn to speak she asked "Mrs. Height, what is your philosophy on success?" In a soft, but firm voice, Mrs. Height looked into Renee's eyes, and said, "The secret to success is to have purpose and not ambition. Ambition is wreckless, but purpose keeps you grounded." It's a shame Sarah Palin does not know who Dorothy Height is, she could benefit from her wisdom.
Palin suffers from serious political cabin fever. Since she and John McCain lost the election, Palin has broken out on a tour-de-gab with the media. Palin has talked so much she is beginning to run out of things to say and like a scratched CD, she is back to repeating those tired key message campaign points that helped to shape her superficial empty suitcase image. More damaging, Palin is now becoming certifiably shrill. She is alienating Republican heads who know she was an Affirmative Action candidate not qualified to be vice president. They faked their support and pretended Palin was the second coming to the Republican Party.
It is understandable Palin is peeved about the outcome of the election, but she denies any responsibility for her part in the loss. Not wanting to look in the mirror and reflect on the gashes in her armor is a bad sign. She was completely unprepared and thought winging it with sassy lines was good enough. Even more so the caricature she has become to mainstream media and the American public (particularly a large number of women from all ages) forces her to have to try and defend herself. However, if Palin wants to salvage her political career and become any type of force in the Republican Party or at the top of Newt Gingrich's so called 20-30 emerging Republican leaders list, what she needs to do right now is to stop the shout outs, shut up, and go find your purpose.
Palin may want to begin to look at her ambitious desire to be politically powerful to see if her will to power translates into something that brings about authentic leadership for building a new Republican Party, one overthrown by the American electorate with the election of Barack Obama as President and a healthy gain of Democratic seats in Congress.
Palin's personal ambition is a real blind spot. She ignored her team of Governors at the Republican Governor's Association meeting last week. Instead of showing team leadership, she opted for one-on-one interviews. In a glaze she stumbled through her lines in the group Press Conference.
As Republicans begin to fight it out on who should be the new "leader," whether they like it or not they will either have to completely embrace Sarah Palin and work with her on deciding what public role she will play in the new Republican party remix. On the other hand, the Party could completely close ranks and annihilate her politically by socially discrediting her to the point where they hope she goes away. However, some have already tried, and Sarah Barracuda is still standing looking to speak to any one with an open microphone.
Palin desperately needs a Dorothy Height in her life. A mentor or someone who can help her create a vision, mission and true purpose for wanting to lead others. Perhaps Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchinson from Texas can help her? Or maybe after Liddy Dole mourns her loss, she can share with Palin what it is like really like to climb the Republican ladder in a world full of very eager, aggressive and pompous men and then fall flat on your face politically. Right now it appears there are no wise, prominent and conservative Republican women willing to do anything to help her. This is very telling about Palin's true appeal and lack of sisterhood. Perhaps she needs conservative hell fire and brimstone sage Pat Buchanan to become the Socrates in her life.
If Palin doesn't find purpose, cannot organize herself around real leadership goals that can transcend her message beyond the narrow base of the Republican party; and if she continues her unbridled ambition, her followers she garnered during the campaign and even her constituency support in Alaska will begin to erode. She will become a thing of the past on what woulda, coulda or shoulda been.
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