Dear Gov. Palin:
Congratulations on the release of your autobiography, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which has already achieved best-seller status even before it hits the bookstores on, coincidentally or not, the same week your former fellow Republican governors gather in Austin to discuss among themselves who should best lead the GOP to victory in 2012.
As a fellow author, I know this is an exciting time for you and your family. How very interesting, not to mention clever of you, to embark on a campaign-style bus tour of small- and medium-sized towns in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania — to name just a few of the key electoral states that fill your book tour's itinerary.
From everything I have read about your book, it tells us about your experiences as Sen. John McCain's running mate, your views on the media and your thoughts on the new administration. Oprah has given us a peek at what to expect. Her interview with you hasn't aired yet, but she told us through YouTube and Twitter that you two discussed everything: your marriage and family, the campaign trail and whether you wanted your own talk show.
Governor, despite our many political differences, I would like to encourage you to use your book tour not just to sell books but to also motivate women to run for office and help set a new tone in American politics. You can make a difference.
Although women are the majority of voters, we continue to lag behind and are underrepresented in American politics. In fact, American women rank an embarrassing 71st in the world when it comes to holding elected positions. It's time we hurry history to encourage more women to enter politics.
My point, governor, is that this is not just your moment to be heard and to set the record straight, this is our moment as women to inspire and be inspired to step up and get involved in governing our diverse country.
Since the 2008 presidential campaign, you have been living in "Sarah Palin's America." While most Americans are clamoring for both major political parties to come together to solve some of the toughest problems of our time, the tone of your public comments and Facebook messages have played to a narrow crowd and not helped change the all-too-often divisive tenor of our national political debate.
And there have been repercussions. Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, the woman you helped defeat in the 23rd N.Y. congressional race this month, warned against them when she recently observed, "I don't think it's good for the health of our party — any party — that just tries to purge members that might have any sort of independent thinking. … I think any sort of party has to be willing to solve the problems. And in order to solve problems, you have to look at things sometimes differently. And you do have to drive towards some sort of consensus building. Otherwise, you have ideology that's really not based on any sort of substance that can move an agenda forward, that can really help people in this country."
So, governor, will you help build, not purge, the GOP?
There are people who believe that your vision for America is too limited and polarizing to help the GOP stage a comeback. Others, including the moderates who still remain in your party, are worried that if you cannot take command of the GOP, then you will, ahem, go rogue and secede from the party with your own faction in pursuit of a narrow agenda that focuses solely on guns, gay marriage and immigration.
Still others are betting that if you implode during your campaign tour — excuse me, governor — your book tour, there will be lasting impact on the GOP, one that will make it tough to unify the party in time for the important midterm congressional elections. They wonder, "What happens when the rogue can't control her fellow rogues?"
All of which takes me back to my earlier message to you. Use this moment, governor, to help change the tenor of American politics and to encourage young women and girls to pursue careers in public service. Talk about the lessons you learned on the national stage and how women can confront a media bias that all too often stereotypes women candidates as not being ready for prime time by focusing on what they wear and not on where they stand on important issues.
Governor, this is a moment to demonstrate once and for all that Sen. McCain did more than take a risky gamble in putting you on the ticket. Rather, he made a bold calculation: Women candidates are ready for prime time.
Prove him right. Prove your detractors wrong. And for the sake of our great country, go rogue against those who doubt you by inspiring us to come together as a people.
Governor, can I hear a "You betcha!"?
Donna Brazile is a political commentator on CNN, ABC and NPR; contributing columnist to Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill; and former campaign manager for Al Gore.