Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sarah Palin is running for president! -- Or not. Probably not.

I continue to believe that Sarah Palin will not run for president in 2012. I explained my reasoning last month and followed up two weeks later.

Short version: She'd lose, quite possibly by a wide margin, and much of her highly profitable appeal would burst. Instead of running, she'll continue on her quest for ever more fame and fortune by remaining visible on Facebook and at Fox News and by being, or by attempting to be, a kingmaker in the GOP -- and by being, as I have put it before, a "shadchan of the right, a link between the Republican Party and the Tea Party.

Were she to run, and likely lose, her celebrity balloon would be punctured, the air let out of her ticket to fame and fortune. She'd be probed and exposed much more than she was in '08, when she embarrassed herself as much as anything, and I'm sure she doesn't want to go through that -- surely there are things in her closet that would knock her off her pedestal.

Even in hinting that she might run, though, she has given herself a clear way out. Last month, for example, she told her pal Greta Van Susteren on Fox News that she'd run "if nobody else were to step up," that she would run "in the name of service to the public." And now she tells ET's Mary Hart that she'll run "if there's nobody else to do it."

Of course, there will be others, perhaps many others, stepping up, such as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, John Thune, Mitch Daniels, Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour, and maybe even Jeb Bush. And who knows who else.

Now, by "nobody else," Palin likely means "nobody else" she approves of, nobody to her liking, nobody of her ilk. So just as this is a way out, it's also a way in. But surely there will someone of the Teabagger variety who jumps into the race, someone who appeals to Palin, someone who will seek Palin's approval. Given the current state of the GOP, it's not like the field will be dominated by northeastern moderates. The entire party is moving to the right, including those who in other, more sober times might have been content to remain closer to the center, like Pawlenty and Jindal. But it's very much Palin's party now, and she'll no doubt find much to like in the crop of candidates who seek the nomination -- and who, to win, will have to run to right and, as Romney has learned, prove their hardcore conservative bona fides with as much fervor as they can muster.

And Palin will be there to annoint one of them. It just won't be herself. Getting richer and basking in the glow of her influence, she'll be too busy stroking her ego and playing it safe on the sidelines.

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