Finally, her husband's careers in oil production and commercial fishing necessarily mean he is away from home regularly, as does his championship-level snow-machine racing. By all accounts, the Palins have raised a happy family while excelling in their chosen fields. And they appeared to manage their domestic duties seamlessly during the recent campaign. But this was a two-month sprint, not the multiyear marathon required of successful presidential nominees.
Sarah Palin will remain a star in the Republican Party for decades, perhaps even ascending to the presidency someday. But to imagine that day is just four years away is to deny the very simple calculus of her current situation.
Frank Micciche is deputy director of the Next Social Contract Initiative at the New America Foundation.