Thursday, May 26, 2011

So is Sarah Palin running, or what?

The Times looks at recent developments that suggest maybe. The purchase of a new home in Arizona. A new hagiographic movie about Palin that is set to be rolled out in Iowa. Ongoing enthusiasm "beyond the Beltway" among her supporters.

The GOP establishment, and particularly those Republicans still with a trace of sanity (and a hope of winning), are clearly against her, but sanity is in short supply out there:

"All indications are that she will be in -- her supporters have an intuition about it," said Jeff Jorgensen, chairman of the Republican Party of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where Ms. Palin came in second in a straw poll last week. "People are looking for somebody, a Ronald Reagan reincarnate, who does not seem to be out there yet."

Palin as Reagan 2.0? Please.

But Republicans are taking a look at their embarrassing field of unelectables and getting more and more desperate. Some may reconcile themselves to Romney or Pawlenty, while others may push for someone like Huntsman to get in, or maybe Giuliani or Pataki, but the right won't be happy with any of them and is already looking to someone like Bachmann to advance its agenda. And, of course, there are those, a hardcore group of admirers, who think that Palin really is the savior.

It's been my view all along that Palin won't run and I'm sticking with that now. She just has too much to lose, specifically whatever shred of credibility she has left. And yet she lives in a bubble surrounded by sycophants, and what if those sycophants convince her that America needs her and that it would be to her own greater glory were she to run? Or what if she thinks that the best way to extend her brand, a brand that has been in decline as she has become more and more irrelevant (even on Fox News), and to make even more money with an extended brand, is to run? When you look at it that way, even a crushing loss could benefit her in the long run, as she would be hailed as a martyr, with blame for her electoral demise heaped on the usual targets, the un-American coastal elites and the "lamestream media."

All of which is to say, I don't know. I thought I did, but I don't. Given how utterly self-absorbed and irrational she is, if also calculatingly focused on profiting off her brand and to that end keeping herself in the spotlight, it's hard to tell which way she'll go.

Just know that whatever she decides, it'll all be about Sarah Palin. In her world, that's all that matters.

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