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Right Turn
Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 08/19/2011

Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?

It’s not like Sarah Palin ever goes away. She finished her “One Nation Tour” (which focused on early-primary contests for the convenience of the “lamestream media,” on which she is dependent for attention) and went back to Alaska. But she will be back soon in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Sarah Palin’s Sept. 3rd event has been relocated from Waukee to Indianola in an area organizers say can better accommodate large crowds.
Palin is the keynote speaker at the Tea Party of America’s “Restoring America” event that is free and open to the public.
The event was originally scheduled at Hawkeye Antique Acres in Waukee. However, emergency officials and event organizers became concerned that an expected large crowd could clog interstate traffic and additionally be difficult for attendees to get around because of the sloping topography of some of the area. . . .
There is speculation that Palin, a former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, will announce if she plans to run for president in 2012.
“I don’t know if she’s going to announce or not,” said Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of Tea Party of America who is helping organize the event. “I have no idea. But whether or not she announces, we’re going to have a huge event.”

The Republican presidential campaigns are buzzing with Palin rumors. She may be hiring advance people. She is trying to round up donors. But, as with all things Palin, it’s unclear whether this is simply one more effort to keep Palin on the national stage without her declaring her candidacy.

At the point at which other potential candidates are still mulling a race, she is able to maintain a modicum of interest in her potential campaign. But the moth-to-the-flame media attention she enjoys will largely end should she decline to run. There are plenty of storylines and conservative figures to follow without her. In short, she would, at least in the short term, become nearly entirely irrelevant.

And what if, in a flight of fancy, she decides there is some untapped demand for another Tea Party-friendly candidate in the GOP presidential primary? (Notice she was not even a write-in blip at the Ames straw poll.) To begin with, the Mitt Romney camp would break out the champagne. They are already counting on a subdivision of Tea Party and social conservative support between Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and a revived Rick Santorum. Throw Palin into the mix and Romney could well be the only candidate above 25 percent in the early-state contest. (In addition, the more less-than-sterling candidates in the debate the better — less time focused on him, more sniping among the crowd, and the benefit of comparison to lesser figures.)

The rationale for Palin’s own campaign would be tough to articulate. Perry has a more experience. Bachmann is fresher and unburdened by obsession with the “lamestream media.” Santorum is a social conservative favorite with national experience. What is Palin’s unique asset? It’s far from clear. And why risk the Palin brand for, say, a third- or fourth-place finish in Iowa?

Those who admire her marketing shrewdness conclude that she knows all of this as well. They suspect that if not Palin then her husband understands that Palin the potential candidate is far more potent than Palin the actual candidate. It does, however, mean accepting for a time her absence from the front pages. That may, nevertheless, be the price to pay for husbanding her fame and keeping her star power in tact for the future.

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 08/19/2011

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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