wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Will Rep. Paul Ryan's anti-poverty proposal help the poor?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

12:00 PM Dr. Gridlock
2:00 PM Talk about Travel

Weekly schedule, past shows

ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 09/28/2011

Make no mistake: Sarah Palin is still a wild card

Sarah Palin still has absolutely no idea what she’s doing or talking about. But make no mistake: This is actually a serious problem for Republicans, because there's absolutely no reason to rule out the possibility that she could still enter the presidential race — either as a contender for the GOP nomination or as a third party candidate.

Which is amazing, considering that after three years in the national spotlight, she still doesn’t seem to get what running for office is about:

I’m going to keep repeating though, Greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination for 2012: Is a title worth it?
Does a title shackle a person? Are they — someone like me, maverick, you know, I do go rogue, and I call it like I see it, and I don’t mind stirring it up ... is a title and is a campaign too shackling? Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of the box, not allowing handlers to shape me?

A “title”? Palin professes to love the Constitution; perhaps she should read through Article II, which explains that the presidency isn’t a title. It’s an actual job, with responsibilities and obligations and opportunities. Of course, it’s nothing new; her resignation speech when she quit being governor was heavy on title-talk, too.

Ah well. At this point, I suppose there’s no reason to expect Palin to change. She remains, however, a serious wild-card threat to Republicans. Remember, she sees herself as all mavericky, willing to take on both the Democratic and the Republican establishment. Don’t forget that her signature electoral success was a primary challenge against longterm GOP Alaska royalty, Frank Murkowski. Could she still enter and contest the Republican primaries? Sure. I think she’s pretty much destroyed any realistic chance of winning the nomination. But it’s not at all clear that she realizes that. And she certainly would be disruptive if she did enter the race — we know that the press would find her impossible to ignore.

And, for Republicans, it’s easy to speculate about even worse possibilities. Could Palin launch an independent bid for the presidency? Why not? What bridges would she be burning with Republicans that she hasn’t burned already? And if she did go that route, she certainly wouldn’t have problems raising a fair amount of money, and she would be able to mobilize enough volunteers to get her name on the ballot in quite a few states.

It’s very possible she’ll just keep doing candidate-like things to keep her name out there without actually going so far as to risk getting clobbered by the voters. Could be! I have no idea what she’ll do next. But the real point is that neither do Republicans — and they don’t really have any way of affecting her next decisions, even if they can prevent her from winning their nomination. And having a wild card like that out there should scare Republicans who hope to win the White House in 2012. Most politicians operate within a fairly rational system of incentives and constraints. But the only thing you can say with any confidence about Palin is that she’s capable of doing pretty much anything.

By  |  12:23 PM ET, 09/28/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company