Rudy-smashing journalist Wayne Barrett thought there was something fishy about Sarah Palin's claim to be a "small business" owner. He checked into it. The good news: Palin did venture into small businesses. The bad news: None of them did any, you know, business.
On July 1, 2004, the Palins and Carolin and Ray Wells purchased commercial property in Anchorage, incorporating themselves as Anchorage Car Wash LLC. "When we started, we thought we were going to go ahead" with the car wash," Carolin Wells told Modern Car Care. "We just decided to disband it. It was actually just an investment for both of us over a piece of property as it turned out." They sold it for a small profit in January 2006, just as Sarah Palin was launching her gubernatorial campagn.
In 2005, Palin incorporated Rouge Cou (roughly translated, "Red Neck"), a marketing firm that got a license but, according to disclosure forms she filed with the state the next year, never did any business.
Let's assume McCain doesn't overcome an 100-electoral vote deficit and win the presidency. Will Palin be the frontrunner for the next GOP nomination? Her national profile is bigger than it ever could have been had she stayed in Alaska, but with about two months to work, reporters keep blowing holes in her resume. A month into her quest for the Naval Observatory, she hasn't given a press conference. Having survived a debate with Joe Biden, she can't again enter one of these contests with Mariana Trench-low expectations.
Ross Douthat, a Palin fan in general, assesses her chances here, but to really do that you need to consider who'll be in the field. Mitt Romney? South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal? In mid-2011, when these candidates start debating, will Republicans really think being a "hockey mom" is more impressive than being, like Jindal, a Rhodes scholar who more-or-less single-handedly saved a state's hospital system? I doubt it. If Jindal was McCain's veep this year, Sean Hannity would probably be telling you how Jindal's wisdom and experience were far more impressive than Joe Biden's phony, time-travelling attempts at "Joe Six Pack"ism. He'd accuse the Democrats of class warfare. He'd be right!
Palin could probably stand 100 or 200 more pinpricks in her record and still win the female vote in GOP primaries, but by 2012 party leaders will be done pretending she's qualified for this job.