Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

What next for Sarah Palin?

By Ali Reed
BBC News

Sarah Palin says it will be business as usual when she gets back to work

The sombre air at Senator John McCain's concession speech was momentarily pierced by cheer as Mr McCain spoke about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

"[She] is one of the best campaigners I have ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength," Mr McCain said.

"We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country."

And look forward the crowds will.

With the "Obama 08" bumper stickers having achieved their goal, could the next round of bumper stickers read "Sarah Palin 2012"?

Not impossible.

Her popularity among Republican conservatives appears very much alive, despite falling favourability ratings and the death of her vice-presidential hopes.

Her 29 August VP nomination rejuvenated the Republican conservative base and Mr McCain's poll numbers. Within two weeks, they began falling off.

Exit polls give mixed signals as to whether Mrs Palin helped or hurt Mr McCain in the election.

New frontier to the Last Frontier

But she received a hero's welcome upon her arrival in Alaska Wednesday.

If we take these steps, we should be able to set up a sustainable movement that, God willing, will help propel Sarah to the Presidency in four years.

Adam Brickley

The media were there to question where she would be going next after returning home.

The first question, of course, was about that possible 2012 run.

"Plans for 2012 are to enrol Trig in kindergarten and see where the kids are at that time in their lives. They're going to come first and we'll see what happens then," Mrs Palin said.

When asked about her initial inaccessibility to the media, Mrs Palin took the chance to clear her name.

"I don't know. But did you ever hear that rumour of me going rogue? It was me trying to sneak in some phone calls to you guys. That was the rogueness."

She won't have to sneak in calls anymore. There are thousands of miles that now separate her from the national political scene.

But conservative bloggers like Adam Brickley hope those miles will not keep her out of the spotlight for long.

Governor Sarah Palin
Some political bloggers have compared Mrs Palin to President Ronald Reagan

Mr Brickley started a website in 2007 to garner attention to the relatively unknown Alaska governor. He described her as being like President Ronald Reagan and "not your average politician".

Mr Brickley's site,, caught the early attention of many conservative bloggers.

High hopes

He pushed hard to get Mrs Palin the VP nomination - even creating an online petition.

While his immediate goal was realised, the end result was not.

He now has even bigger hopes - the 2012 presidency.

His newest column, "What I want to see from Governor Palin", focuses on the path ahead to attaining that goal.

"Sarah cannot start openly tooting her 2012 horn for at least two years," Mr Brickley wrote.

He suggested that her focus remain on being governor and building the gas pipeline from Alaska to the rest of the US.

"Cement yourself as a presence on the national scene, but top priority is getting that gasline built (thereby giving yourself another major accomplishment as Governor and potentially lowering energy)," he wrote.

"Cement prices down here in the lower 48... you can run on that in 2012."

Mrs Palin is right on target.

Sarah Palin supporters
Sarah Palin has had a large, passionate group of supporters throughout the US

She told reporters on Wednesday that she is, "getting ready to work on the gasline that is going to allow this nation to become more energy independent, start producing more resources here in the state."

Advancing the 'movement'

Mr Brickley also blogged about how Mrs Palin should immediately put her strong fundraising skills to use for other Republican candidates in the country.

"You can use SarahPAC (or whatever you decide to call it) to establish a reputation for helping other Republicans win, and gain some loyalty from the Congressmen that you want to endorse your eventual candidacy."

Other suggestions include writing a bestselling book and staying away from Washington and the senatorial seat.

Conservative Republicans, the group most passionate about Mrs Palin, have invited her to their annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Focus on being governor and building a gas pipeline
Use fundraising abilities to help other Republicans win seats
Write a bestselling book
Do not run for the US Senate

For a party that saw itself divided during this election year, perhaps the candidate from Alaska will be its hope for change.

For now, it seems, Mrs Palin will focus her energy on Alaska's energy - and leave the speculation of any future run to the political bloggers and pundits.

And they are just getting started.

"Our job moving forward is to wave pom-poms and yell 'Sa-rah! Sa-rah!' at the top of our lungs for the next few years. We're the ones who will be making sure that Sarah's accomplishments in Alaska continue to be highlighted and that she stays at the top of any and all lists of potential 2012 candidates," Mr Brickley said.

"If we take these steps, we should be able to set up a sustainable movement that, God willing, will help propel Sarah to the Presidency in four years."

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