Rampant speculation continues over what Sarah Palin’s plans regarding 2012 might be. The conventional wisdom: She’s running, no question about it, yep, she is, damn the torpedoes, or she’s not, because she’d rather be a conservative celebrity, because being a conservative celebrity pays more than being a presidential candidate.
I’d like to throw in a third rail to the Palin question. Run or not, she’s on the road back to nowhere sometime in 2012.
And I think she’ll ultimately decide to run, mainly because she has to, if she wants to scratch and claw a few extra minutes to add to her 15 minutes and counting. Whatever value Palin has is to the 35-40 percent of the voting electorate that considers her the hero of the far, far right, and her value to them is in her Facebook posts blasting socialist ObamaCare death panels and similar noisy claptrap.
That group sees Palin standing up to the big bad Democrats who are trying to turn America into Europe. A decision by Palin not to run would be akin to joining the hate-America lamestream libs.
So she runs. She doesn’t come close to winning the Republican nomination, and the reason has nothing to do with lamestream media socialist anti-American libs. It won’t take much for the likes of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee to paint a picture of Palin as the modern-day GOP version of George McGovern, the darling of the liberal left who swept to the Democratic nomination in 1972 to face the hated oppressor right-wing nut Richard Nixon, who promptly wiped the floor with McGovern in a landslide to end all landslides.
If Palin lasts into February 2012 with a fighting chance, I’d be surprised. More likely she’s 2012’s Rudy Giuliani, the 9/11 hero who blundered his way into an ignominious early exit in the 2008 GOP nomination contest and now is a C- or D-lister in the GOP celebrity pantheon.
Based on those presumptions, I wouldn’t expect Palin to formally enter the race until sometime in the third quarter of 2011, so that she can have enough time to maximize the cash out on her fleeting celebrity. A half-hearted effort at the nomination will follow, an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle, as it were, with desperate grabs at whatever embers fall her way in the spring and into the summer and fall, which will be highlighted by a primetime early-week speech at the Republican convention that will represent her swan song from the American political scene.
All things considered, four years in the political limelight isn’t bad considering how little Palin had to offer outside of the occasional incendiary Facebook post and two glorious years running a state with a budget smaller than your average county government.
Column by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].