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Is Sarah Palin's political career kaput?

Sarah Palin has decided not to run for president, and that’s probably a wise choice. Her polling numbers are dismal. But does her announcement signal the end to her political career for good?

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We were there when she gave her big VP acceptance speech to the 2008 GOP Convention, and she blew the doors off the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Delegates were ecstatic. We think if she’d asked at that moment they all would have quit their jobs and followed her home to Wasilla.

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But lucrative speeches to tea party groups or other friendly audiences are one thing. The sort of public exposure that shapes your image and maintains political viability is another.

Since 2008, Palin has followed the path of a political celebrity – a “polebrity” if you well, or a “celetician” – by appearing in her own reality show, hawking books, and appearing on Fox as a paid interviewee.

What she hasn’t done is make lots of trips to New Hampshire to meet important GOP locals, or produce Romney-like multi-point jobs plans, or spar with hostile interviewers. Those are activities which people who actually aspire to office, such as Herman Cain, often engage in.

Indeed, in a recent chat with Fox’s Greta van Susteren Palin appeared to question whether it would be worthwhile to ever serve in government again.

“Somebody like me – is a title. And is a campaign too shackling?” Palin said. “Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what political pundits want it to be?"

As Politico notes today, it’s hard to imagine a world in which Sarah Palin isn’t viewed as a possible presidential candidate. But it’s almost as hard to imagine the ex-Alaska governor ever putting her name on a ballot again.

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