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With the country reeling with shock and sadness after the recent shooting in Arizona, many are wondering who or what is to blame.

Immediately after news broke that Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and several others had been shot outside of a political event last Saturday allegedly by Jared Loughner, many blamed the growing political rhetoric that has become increasingly negative and divisive.

As the news continued to unfold, several voices chided former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for imagery on her website that listed Rep. Gifford’s district, and other Democratic officials, in the “cross hairs” of Republican candidates for the 2010 midterm elections.

While some felt Palin was being unfairly targeted after the Arizona shooting, I think it would be naive to think that, despite Loughner’s history of mental illness, the current nasty political climate is not somehow at work.

In just two years, Sarah Palin has gone from little-known Governor of Alaska to influential Republican personality. Part of Palin’s appeal is that she’s touted her frontiersmen upbringing, often playing up her hunting and fishing background and her penchant for guns.  It is precisely this rhetoric that has many placing some of the blame for the Arizona shooting on her shoulders.

When the health care reform bill passed, Palin did not ask her followers to write their congressperson to express disdain, but rather tweeted, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” And her recent refusal to back away from the “cross hairs” imagery (but rather defend herself by calling them “surveying” symbols) on her website in the wake of the Arizona shooting, has some wondering if Palin’s political career will be able to bounce back after this controversy.

Sarah Palin is a media genius. Her ability to remain active in political discourse and even be in contention for a Republican presidential nomination despite quitting her Governorship is nothing short of astounding. Her rise has been meteoric, but she may just be a victim of her own “cross hairs.”

Like many, it pains me to write about Palin, however, I’m hoping this latest stunt will make her trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue even more unlikely.

But in case you still have doubts, here are five reasons why Sarah Palin should fade to black.

She’s Unreliable: Half-way through her governorship, Palin quit citing she could effect even more positive change outside of the governor’s office than within it. In her farewell press conference, Palin told her constituents that she could “fight for all our children’s futures from outside the governor’s office.” Apparently, however, she wanted to pad her own pockets. After stepping down she released a best-selling memoir, inked a deal for a reality show and became a Fox News pundit. Sarah loves (her) kids!

She Makes George Bush Look Like Einstein: First she claimed she could see Russia from her house, and then she couldn’t list a single newspaper she read regularly. Between making up words and her trademark “you betcha,” Palin proudly touts her “common person” persona, while taking shots at the liberal (*ehem* educated) elite. While her interviews have been quite entertaining (because they’re so bad they’re good), leaving such complex issues like garnering a Middle East peace treaty or brokering the START Treaty in her hands would be disastrous for our country.

She’s A Media Whore Who Hates the Media: Sarah Palin at once chastises the media for twisting her (already screwy) words and continuing to attack her family, yet on every occasion she puts herself and her family out there to bask in the media’s spotlight. From her reality show, to her daughter Bristol’s “Dancing with the Stars” appearance, Sarah Palin can’t get enough of the limelight. Sure, most politicians want to get their fifteen minutes, but usually it’s to champion a particular cause, not shoot a Caribou in the Alaskan outback.  I’m just saying.

She Needs More People: Democrats think she’s an idiot, but apparently conservatives cringe each time she opens her mouth as well. If Palin were to make a serious run at the White House, she’d need to get more than just the Tea Party Express on her side, Palin needs to convince middle-of-the-road Republicans she is capable of doing the job. Good Luck with that. Recently, prominent conservative commentator Peggy Noonan called Palin a “nincompoop” and Bush’s brain, Karl Rove, said Palin lacked the “gravitas” to be President. What’s the saying? With friends like these…

Her Foot Loves Her Mouth Way Too Much: Instead of coming out and saying the Congressional map with sniper cross hairs was in poor taste, Sarah Palin released a statement today reiterating that she did not intend for her map to be taken in truth. In her apology Palin could have said, “my bad…I was wrong. I will tone down my rhetoric,” but instead she went on to attack the media for creating an atmosphere of “blood libel,” an anti-Semitic idea that stems from the medieval myth that Jewish people killed Christian babies and used their blood in rituals. The idea of blood libel was used to perpetrate acts of violence against Jews for centuries. But I guess sister Sarah didn’t know about that either, though.

Check out Sarah Palin’s statement on the Arizona shooting. Do you think she has what it takes to make it to the White House? Sound off!

Sarah Palin: “America’s Enduring Strength” from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

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