While we wait with bated breath for Sarah Palin to inform us of her plans for 2012, we can only speculate about her intentions. Actually, we can speculate or we can hang out on Facebook all day and wait for the former Governor of Alaska to post a new status.
At times Governor Palin has encouraged the press to print that she is considering running to be named the Republican Presidential nominee, and at other times she has held back. It has been a delicate tease that has worked her fans into a lather.
What will she do, what will she do?
There is no part of me that believes she looks forward to the rigors of competing for the Republican nomination. She has wrapped herself in a safe, protective cocoon. A cocoon lined with $100 bills -- lots of them.
She cannot look forward to being asked the tough questions or competing for her claim on righteousness with Governor Perry and Representative Michele Bachmann. They cannot all be personally called by God to be President of the United States. Something or someone has to give.
Right now she reigns as the queen of the Tea Party. She will not allow her reputation and status to be besmirched and called into question by fellow conservatives. There is only one glass slipper, and it only fits her foot.
Those who make up the Republican establishment are not fond of Ms. Palin. They do not like her popularity and therefore her influence on party politics. If they are honest with themselves, or at least more honest than they are with Fox News viewers, you would probably find it difficult to find a single member of party leadership that thinks she can win the general election. She is better off throwing her influence in the direction of getting Republican Congressmen elected and reelected. She does represent a force in local politics and can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether or not a race is won or lost.
Given that Palin prefers to be seen as the outsider, the fact that traditional party leaders do not generally hold a favorable view of her is actually a good thing for her reputation as a so-called maverick. However, it does very little to suggest that she would receive much support or money from those loyal to the Republican Party establishment. Without those two things it becomes an even more difficult climb to receive the nomination.
Running for the top spot on the Republican ticket is too risky for her. It appears that she does not accept failure very well, and that she takes great pains to avoid situations in which the possibility of failure exists.
There are still a couple of questions that require an answer. How does she keep herself in the limelight, and how does she turn a profit?
Profit must be taken into consideration when contemplating Governor Palin's future actions. Everything she has done since election day 2008 has appeared to be for the never-ending pursuit of the almighty dollar. Since abdicating her responsibilities as Governor of Alaska, she has been able to mute the effects of multiple ethics charges and increase the size of her bank account many times over.
Her apparent desire for both fame and fortune would be fulfilled if the half-term Governor of Alaska were to run for president as a third-party candidate.
There are many reasons that Palin might find this attractive. One obvious reason is that she would not be expected to appear at Republican debates, and thus she would suffer no shame when asked those "hardball" questions that a cute little wink will not answer.
She will have also secured her cred as the maverick outsider and news-magazine cover girl who refuses to play the game of those old, tired, smelly-cigar-smoking Republicans in Washington.
The $100,000 speaking engagements will keep tumbling in, and online retailers will be kept busy shipping her books. The third-party campaign will also likely fill the coffers of SarahPAC and insure that future donations keep coming.
Most importantly, though, when she loses, she actually wins. Somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of Americans are infatuated with Sarah Palin. If she could draw anywhere close to Ross Perot's result in the 1992 presidential election, in which he obtained 18.9 percent of the popular vote, her reputation would remain solid. The fact that she did not win would promptly be blamed on the fact that she was running as a third-party candidate, and third-party candidates do not win in the U.S.A., and therefore she bears no responsibility for the loss. She would likely still expect the adoration of her fans for having the guts to give it the old college try.
Indeed, her many supporters will love this idea, and Democrats across the land will applaud her individuality and courage. At this point we would expect Governor Palin to remain ever-vigilant in her efforts to obtain the highest office in the land.
Yes, Democrats will be looking for the Nader effect.
Many -- quite accurately, I believe -- feel that the presence of third-party candidate Ralph Nader in the 2000 election likely handed the state of Florida, and thus the leadership of the free world, to President George W. Bush.
Even with the economy as bad as it is, the Republican presidential candidate will likely win Florida and other states that have very unpopular Republican governors at the helm (like Ohio, for example) by only a slim margin. These margins could be dramatically affected by the existence of a strong third-party candidate such as Sarah Palin.
Because Sarah Palin voters are not likely to be Democratic voters, the Republican party will likely suffer negatively at the voting booth, and President Barack Obama will have an easier path to victory.
It is late in the game, and the mechanics necessary for a viable third-party campaign, which would entail placing Governor Palin on the ballot in a majority of the states, will need to be cranked up quickly. I am certain that her fans will relish the challenge.
Will Sarah Palin consider the possible damage that she could do to the Republican Party? Not likely, while she still has children that have yet to appear on Dancing with the Stars.
Sarah Palin, you can do this!
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