Skip to comments.Sarah Palin in "The Undecided," or, Only Her Halibut Knows for Sure
Posted on 10/02/2011 11:22:18 AM PDT by grey_whiskers
One of the most fascinating, and maddening, topics among the political class in the past few weeks has been the electoral prospects of one Sarah Louise Palin (Schwerpunkt-AK), former GOP Vice Presidential Candidate and Governor of Alaska. A number of GOP-friendly websites seem to have parted ways over her candidacy, with flamewars, purgings, and divisions running rampant. Among the sites with strong opinions are The Other McCain (pro), Ace of Spades (somewhat con), RedState (which seems to have descended into fullbore Palin Derangement Syndrome over the last few days), and Free Republic, which is officially pro-Sarah but has developed a goodly crop of naysayers, ranging from Cainiacs and Perrywinkles all the way out to full-fledged orcs.
There seem to be almost as many opinions on what she is doing as there are posts; and especially since Palin's interview with David Brody at the Iowa State Fair back in August, of which the relevant portion is as follows:
Palin: There is still a lot of contemplation that goes on within a family, deciding whether to engage in such a life-changing venture, putting yourself forward in the name of service, in such a position as President of the United States. So, were still thinking about it, and the impact on family.
Family comes first in my life, and I just dont want to adversely affect the family. So, were still talking about it, thinking about it. And thats what I want supporters to understand.
At the same time, I want to be very fair to supporters and not keep them hanging on in perpetuity. Its fair to them to give them an answer here, in short order, so that they can jump on board with someone else, and/or to decide for themselves what they want to do. So, still havent made up my mind, havent decided when that announcement would be yet.
David Brody: Is that short order by the end of September? October?
Palin: I think that that is a fair timeline for people, because Fall time, they can start getting engaged with different campaigns, but still thinking about it, and really, really desiring to be a participant in the positive change that needs to happen in this country.
Economy getting back on the right track. Jobs created for Americans. I want to be a part of that, whether it be as a candidate, or as a supporter of the right candidate. Im still in that decision making phase.
It is interesting, by the way, that political analysts such as Fred Malek said on September 12 is too late for Palin to enter the race but that conventional sources are still claiming that there is sufficient time and room for Chris Christie (Jabba-NJ) to enter, with various VIPs from former First Lady Barbara Bush to Henry Kissinger reportedly urging him to run following his speech at the Reagan Library.
So the big question is, what on earth is Palin doing?
There are only so many possibilities. Let's list them one by one and then try to get a feel for the situation.
This is the favorite choice of the orcs and of some of the more vicious partisans of other candidates; in the light of Palin's long history of personal character (despite the fevered accusations to the contrary from the left), they are left grasping at straws as to why. The two favorite explanations seem to be ego (camera time) or money (millions of dollars in TV shows and speaking fees). In particular they opine that a failed Presidential bid will mean the end of her marketability.
This is absurd on its face, given that Mike Huckabee turned his candidacy into a Fox News gig; and the fact that the popularity she is sure to generate by declaring will not suddenly deflate due to the presence of a previously hidden skeleton in her closet (remember, she *has* not Gardasil stories lurking in her past, and her official emails have already been swept under the rug).
Even the fever swamps of MSNBC and NPR have declined to give Joe McGinniss's "exposé" any exposure.
2) Telling the truth
Oddly enough, this seems the least credible; after all this time, surely someone in Palin's position would know by now if she is planning to run? The family vacation "bus tours" including the upstaging of Romney's declaration, and the visits to Iowa, the Facebook postings...why else would they have happened unless she is running?
Well, perhaps. Maybe it would help to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Let's start by considering the past. Palin is such a rock star, a political phenomenon, that it is hard to believe that just over three years ago, nobody except a few fanatical political junkies, and some Exxon-Mobil lawyers up in Alaska, had even *heard* of her.
Recall the 2008 Presidential race, where, despite the claims of the RINOs and insiders, Palin supporters did not cost the GOP the Presidential race by staying home in a huff: McCain alienated the GOP base, as well as most of the independents, by apparently losing his nerve during the September financial crisis, abandoning the campaign ("unilateral disarmament" since Obama did not stop campaigning) to "deal with the crisis." Few people remember it, but at that point the McCain-Palin ticket actually had the lead.
McCain more or less went on to throw the election to Obama, going so far as to say of his opponent during a debate "don't fear this man as your President" and refusing the pleas of a disgruntled Sarah Palin to appear in Michigan to try to pull that state to the GOP column. Not to mention the inside-baseball news of betrayals by McCain staffers in setting up Palin for "gotcha" interviews in the press. Despite all of these elements, the final election was not a blowout as some have held; even though the Obama ticket won a majority of states, the popular vote was merely 53%-47%. (This is significant for a GOP loss, but not a GOP victory, since there are few "deep red" cities in which GOP candidates can stack the deck to make a losing cause seem closer than it was, or make a fairly close *national* vote contest look like a mandate.)
And further aiding the Obama machine was the attraction, particularly of young voters, of the "coolness factor" of voting for the nation's First Black PresidentTM and the open partisanship of the press in cooperating with the Obama campaign in a virtual cover-up of his early life.
The electoral loss did not diminish Palin's status as a rock star, which began at the Republican National Convention with her speech: three years AFTER being at the bottom of a losing ticket, Palin is still in demand for speeches and in person. How many other ex-VP candidates can say this?
But the popularity did not come without a price. Palin, as payback for making the race so close, was soon to be subjected to Chicago thug politics (which she called "The Thumping" in her first New York Slimes bestseller, Going Rogue). The politics of personal destruction, despite Clinton's assurances, were not over: Palin was hit with dozens of nuisance lawsuits, under an Alaska whistleblower law which she herself had signed. The suits were designed to defame her, ruin her good name as a future candidate, and to destroy her personally and politically by dragging her and her family through the mud and bankrupting her. My favorite suit is the one which claimed that her legal defense fund was illegal: despite the fact that it was crafted BY lawyers to match exactly prior legal defense funds which had already survived legal scrutiny. She was forced to return the money from this fund, after those attacking her claimed that the word "Official" in the title implied state sponsorship: even though that title was there only to distinguish the fund from FAKE Sarah Palin Defense Funds set up by political operatives to siphon donations away from her.
So, Sarah was facing legal bills of half-a-million dollars (and climbing, with dozens of more knowingly spurious suits waiting), on a salary of $125,000 / year; and with the state's time and effort grinding to a halt in the effort to comply with the discovery requirements of the lawsuits.
Sarah's response was one of the most unexpected developments in modern American political history: instead of hanging on as a useless lame duck, she resigned the governorship, removing herself as a target for the suits: and then went on the offensive -- first writing a New York Slimes bestseller entitled Going Rogue, then starring in a reality show on TLC called Sarah Palin's Alaska: millions of dollars of free, FAVORABLE publicity and positioning with a likely voter demographic, which she not only paid no money for, but which instead paid HER. And then acting as unofficial face of and spokesman for the nascent Tea Party movement, culminating in a historic sweep of Congressional and Legislative seats nationwide, in November of 2010: the greatest power shift in close to 50 years.
This, then, is the Sarah Palin who is considering a run for the Presidency. But despite her popularity, and her accomplishments, she has made enemies as well. Even as the Bible speaks of "The World, The Flesh, And The Devil" fighting against the soul, so too, Palin faces three sets of enemies fighting against her candidacy: The Press, the GOP Insiders, and The Democrats.
The World is the Press: the hustling, bustling, oh-so-connected, wiser, and generally just more sophisticated than her (and you) in every way.
Despite their disdain, it is obvious that they suffer a toxic codependence on Palin. Since Bush is no longer President, they need someone as a target (since John Boehner is too much of a jellyfish to get people riled up over). And she lives, rent-free, inside their heads. Their thinking goes like this: as long as she draws a crowd, she is newsworthy, and, oh, the sheer JOY of being the next one to catch a major gaffe, or manufacture one; and try to imagine the horror of being the one organization SCOOPED if and when she announces for President and I am not covering it.
...but if we go ahead and cover her, that keeps her in the public eye, and what's worse, gives her credibility: we can't bury the REAL woman in myths and clips from old Tina Fey spoofs and Katie Couric and Charles Gibson "gotcha!" interviews to make a false persona. Dammit.
Look at all of the dirt the Press had ready to go against her, and all so-coincidentally scheduled to hit right when they estimated she would be just beginning a new national campaign: from Nick Broomfield's Sarah Palin, You Betcha! to the ill-fated Joe McGinniss book. Sarah's counteroffensive took two forms: first, political judo by pushing back any announcement, so that the dirt hit not a candidate, but a private citizen; and secondly, announcement of a possible libel lawsuit against the deep pockets of McGinniss's publisher, Random House (and by extension, its owner, the giant German publishing house Bertelsmann, which by some coincidence also published Obama's Dreams From My Father. Small world.) It is also noteworthy that following the lawsuit, a number of the orc-like anti-bloggers seem to have quietened down, and normally reliable progressive outlets like NPR and MSNBC suddenly declined to have McGinniss on for the expected softball interviews.
Moving on to the Flesh -- the temptation from within, the lust, the appetite to power. As Palin herself said in Going Rogue, "In politics one either eats well or sleeps well." And the current GOP, especially the entrenched Washington crowd -- they have been feeding very well at the trough of late. Why should they want to end it?
Her fight with the GOP is in *three* arenas.
1) Conservatives vs RINO, new blood vs. Establishment.
Lobbying influence, philosophical control. Rush Limbaugh loves to recount how various household-name, national level Republican insiders love to take him aside during cocktail hour or somesuch, and speak to him in a low voice of how he has got to make "his people" -- the unwashed, the flyover country, the social conservatives -- UNDERSTAND. Nobody really goes for that "God and Country stuff", but they'll tolerate it for appearances; but you know, that pro-life fanaticism just HAS to go, there's no room for it. (By which I take it to mean that a lot of the pampered wives of Washington insiders are pro-abortion, and have their husbands by the ovaries.)
And of course, the resurgence of the Tea Party, and their threat to not play ball, bids fair to upset the long tradition of Republicans showing their moral superiority to Democrats by acquiescing and compromising away their principles on every major policy issue as soon as it threatens to be inconvenient for the Democrats. Tea Partiers threaten to live up to their principles: making the GOP insiders look bad by comparison.
2) K-street insiders: look what Palin did to corruption in Alaska. Theyre SCARED. If the corruption in DC was eliminated, the federal budget could probably be cut in HALF. And what would become of the lobbyists who can no longer get paid six-figure or higher incomes for what is nothing more than sophisticated indirect bribery with other people's money?
3) Oft overlooked, because of all of the she cant win, lets push somebody ELECTABLE propaganda, is that Obama is weak. Dhimmi Carter weak. LBJ weak. And in the opposite of how Bill Clinton got elected, because none of the major players wanted to challenge Bush 41 after the First Gulf Wars success, EVERYONE wants to challenge Obama. And Sarah has shown that she is more popular than ANY of the other GOP field in play right now.
And then, finally, after the World and the Flesh, there's the Devil. The Democrats.
Do I really need to spell out why *they* hate her?
Given all of these factors, we can summarize her tactical position with regard to entering the GOP Presidential race as follows:
1) Getting in now makes her the primary target from all sides
2) As an observer, and not a declared candidate, she can let the others fight it out and make some of them drop out (which means more time and room for her at the podium when she *does* show up at a debate)
3) Sitting out also means she can study the opposition and perform SWOT analyses on them, while she remains (as a politician) more of an unknown quantity (lots is known about her, but not as much about how she performs under fire: you *know* she has grown in savvy and polish since the old Gibson / Couric interviews, but doesn't want to tip her hand about it yet)
4) And she can save money: she doesnt have the personal wealth of a Romney or the Texas Slush Funds of Perry: and much of the money (and the voters) are sitting out. Maybe those voters, and their wallets are waiting for her?
5) But not everyone is just waiting for Palin. Karl Rove is s pretty sophisticated operator, and he is likely behind one of the memes that she is declaring today / later this week / this weekend / next week FOR SURE. Get the rumor going and make Sarah deny it: if she denies it enough, it looks like she is denying running at all; then if she does run hold those statements against her. And if she doesnt deny it, then "Goody, shes not running." And in the meantime Rove can make his own do-it-yourself Palin fatigue by proxy, without her doing anything, by starting his own destructive rumors.
So, is she or isnt she? Has she made up her mind? Well, I think so, but also, that the answer is that she has both made up her mind, and also that she honestly doesnt know if she is running.
That's a contradiction. What does it mean?
I think she has made up her mind to move in such a way to maximize the influence of the Tea Party, to maximize the good to the country. She thinks that she can do this best by becoming President but due to all the opposition she has faced, she doesnt want to run for the sake of running, or of chances for future publicity, but only if she can win: for a certain type of failure would set the Tea Party back to nowhere.
And so she waits and considers: she wants to bleed the opponents, and find a time when they are all at more or less a low ebb (the first campaign enthusiasm wearing off) and she can ride the initial wave of interest and excitement to get an early lead in some primaries. And there are no other RINO or establishment candidates about to enter. And this is yet another reason she hesitates: first, she doesnt know *when* her conditions to allow her to enter will occur; secondly, some of the establishment types, like Rove, have figured out she is waiting for the right combination of circumstances in order to declare, and they keep on hinting / bluffing at new RINOs with extensive establishment backing (Perry, Christie, Jeb Bush?) in order to keep her off balance and hoping to push back her announcement until it really IS to late to declare with any hope of victory.
And so the answer is YES, she has decided to run IF she can find the right opening; but NO, she doesnt see that opening yet. She is not toying with her supporters but keeping an eye on the race, hoping to see the circumstances which will ALLOW her to run.
And if such an opening doesn't appear this cycle, she will continue as a commentator, and cheerleader, and bide her time...until 2016.
Further affiant sayeth not.
Sarah Palin knows what the MOST IMPORTANT issue is, and in fact what this election is all about.
I wish the rest of the conservatives could remember this. This isn't an election that we can throw away for minor issues of no real importance. Economy -- The debt, the deficit, our livelyhoods depend on getting the economy moving again. Jobs -- people need to be working, and government is getting in the way.
It just doesn’t matter. Nothing matters till the primaries and caucuses start and delegates are chosen.
I can’t understand the angst among those who care so much when a candidate enters the race.
Everything thing that happens tells us more about the candidates, from interviews and debates to decisions regarding a campaign.
If the candidate waits too long, that’s one indication of bad judgement.
If a candidate enters “late” and still prevails, that’s impressive.
Just let it be. Watch and wait and make your well-informed mind up next year.
Still way too early.
I don’t know what she is going to do. I believe she has the potential to be the greatest leader of our time.
Being an effective President at the point in history requires someone able to stay positive and strong to the American people on the outside while reality is very very ugly.
Being a great leader requires a certain amount of misery. Abraham Lincoln aged 40 years in a 4 year term.
Would I wish the Presidency on Sarah Palin the person ? No. But does our country need her leadership ? YES
No -- not really.
It’s Oct 2. She’s not running.
Wow, you’re an excellent writer!!
When Sarah said “I am not for sale”, I actually believed her. I pray for the “opening” she’s waiting for.
The primarys have already started? I wish someone would have told me.
Who won the 1st primary and in which state?
But I don't deserve it.
The best pro-Palin writer here on FR is Brices Crossroads, by far.
At this point I think she is just teasing people and may be milking it for all it is worth. Most likely she is lying about being undecided. In the end, she will lose and upset a lot of people.
She knows many people want her to run. If we are to believe her that she is still undecided after many years, then why pretend to be a candidate sometimes and not other times? She cannot have it both ways. Hence the tease.
She has already flipped flopped on announcing already. Earlier in the summer she agreed to an August-September deadline on thr Fox News Channel.
She has NO RIGHT to defy them.
We want the same old thing. We don't want to try something different.
We would rather keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
I enjoyed your analyisis, even as I disagreed with the conclusion. The country is going to hell in a hand-basket. If we don’t get our fiscal house in order PDQ, things are going to get very bad for everyone. Palin is concerned for the future of her country and her children. She recognizes that none of the current crop of candidates has the will and/or intestitinal fortitude to do what must be done. I don’t think she is looking for an opening, and if she doesn’t get it, will wait until 2016. Sarah is a leader, not the kind of person who bases her decisions on what others do. She will force the door open if necessary.
Okay define the "worth" that she is milking.
Give specific examples of money that she has earned in September that she otherwise would not have earned.
Then contrast that to the loss in future income she would have if she lets people down by announcing that she's not running.
(The answer of course is that she isn't milking it for anything except for the best time to enter the race.)
OK I don’t care who you are. That’s funny.
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