04/26/2011 06:51 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2011

Sarah Palin Has Already Decided the GOP's Fate in 2012

This is about Sarah Palin. Remember her? She was the Republican candidate for vice president in 2008. Since the defeat of the Republican ticket Ms. Palin has been occupied with book signings and occasional political speeches to Tea Party supporters and similar thinkers.

It wasn't that long ago that the former governor of Alaska was one of the hottest commodities on the rubber chicken circuit. Her payments for her political wisdom have been in the range of $75,000 and up to $100,000 an event. In addition, her staff dictates such things as bottled water in the hotel room and other niceties.

Most political observers agree that Ms. Palin took a hit on her reputation after the attempted assassination of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at an Arizona shopping mall. In the aftermath of the incident, the media pointed out that Palin's website had a campaign map in 2010 with targets on the locations of a number of Democratic Congressional candidates.

Ms. Palin didn't handle the post shooting controversy well and since that time she hasn't been seen much on the nightly television news. In the interim the right wing need for red meat rhetoric has been filled by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Both Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Trump know how to turn a phrase or two and they have succeeded in getting more than their share of Fox and MSNBC news clips. Congresswoman Bachmann has been harping on the government deficit and Mr. Trump wants proof that President Obama was really born in Hawaii. The Tea Party people are absolutely enthralled about these subjects and they love what the duo has to say.

It isn't necessary to feel sorry for Ms. Palin as she started the trouble when she decided to put shooting targets above the names of Congressional candidates. If there is any sympathy owed it has to go to Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Governor Haley Barbour. All of these gentlemen and no doubt two or three others have been pushed off the Republican stage at a time when the real presidential candidates should be gearing up for a decision about whether to challenge President Obama in 2012. Each of them would like the media to pay some attention to their ideas about deficit reduction, global warming and shutting down the government.

The latest polls show Mr. Trump gaining major ground over the field of real candidates and basically sucking the air out of the Republican wannabees. Most of the press and the political experts don't believe that Trump is a serious candidate but like it or not, Trump knows how to grab a headline and it is at the expense of the people who could use a headline or two to show that they are serious.

But back to Sarah Palin. She has pretty much decided what the fate of the Republican Party will be in 2012. Her two year campaign like swings through the early primary states under the guise of selling books, has made the 2012 campaign incumbent Obama against someone yet to be named. In addition, Republican contributors who like to bet on clear favorites have put away their checkbooks.

The year 2011 should have been the start of a year of serious discussion about America's future and who has the vision to lead it after the next election. Instead thanks to Sarah Palin, the political playing field looks more like the Roman forum with a small, vocal claque screaming for the president's head or at least his birth certificate.

Sarah Palin will more than likely go down in the history books as having done substantial damage to her party not in one election, but in two. There is not much glory in being the only woman who had two bites of the political apple and failed both times.