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The reasons Sarah Palin wouldn’t run for president

at 07:53 AM ET, 08/22/2011


Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, look at a bull calf during a visit to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, two weeks ago. (REUTERS/Jim Young)
It’s the question that has been asked over and over for well more than a year now: Will Sarah Palin run for president?

The former Alaska governor has people talking yet again after her PAC on Friday released an Iowa-themed web video teasing her appearance at a tea party rally there on Sept. 3. And former Bush adviser Karl Rove, for one, thinks she’ll do it.

For what it’s worth, so too do an increasing number of Palin’s potential opponents in the GOP presidential campaign. But many others remains skeptical.

As we get closer and closer to decision time, here are a few reasons to believe that she won’t pull the trigger (with the caveat that nobody really knows what she’ll do):

* The time commitment: Palin has been a nearly constant part of the conversation when it comes to the presidential race, but she has made a habit of virtually disappearing for weeks at a time. Consider her bus tour, which went on hiatus after a trip up the East Coast and then resumed — apparently for just one day — for the Iowa trip. She has yet to show an appetite for the kind of constant campaigning that a presidential run would demand, and there is little sign that she’s using her free time to build up the kind of infrastructure she’ll need to run.

“A candidate for national office needs to focus on building a national finance committee, recruiting talented operatives and campaign leadership in the five early states, and developing a message with a narrative that is based on conservative values and positions,” said GOP strategist Scott Reed. “Sarah Palin is zero-for-three.”

* There’s a lot less room for her: Rep. Michele Bachmann’s strong statement in the Ames Straw Poll and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to enter the race both mean Palin will have to compete for the people who otherwise would have made up her base. By waiting this long, Palin has given the people she will need the opportunity to support someone else, and both Bachmann and Perry have stepped forward to more than fill that vacuum. She could have pretty easily been the chief alternative to Mitt Romney; that’s no longer the case.

* Little to gain: Palin is a part of the political conversation and will continue to be even if she doesn’t run. And given how much her prospects in the presidential race have dimmed — recent polling shows she is increasingly unpopular among even Republicans, and she would not begin the presidential race as a frontrunner — she’s got something to lose with a poor showing. If her goal is to be president, she runs; if it’s to remain a part of the conversation, she doesn’t have to. In fact, a pretty good argument could be made that she’s got more to lose with a poor showing than she does to gain with a good one.

* Her Fox News contract: This is both motivation to stay on the sidelines and an indication that she will. Jumping into the presidential race would mean giving up her steady and lucrative paycheck as a Fox contributor — a fact that weighed heavily on Mike Huckabee before he declined to run. Of course, Palin makes a lot of money doing other things, including speaking and writing books, but her constant presence on Fox is a big reason that she stays a part of the conservative conversation, and there’s no guarantee that a new contract would be available after a presidential campaign. Also, skeptics that Palin will run point out that other presidential candidates planning presidential runs have been forced to vacate their Fox contracts even before they announced — simply because they were getting serious about running. The argument goes that, if Palin was serious about running, Fox would have taken her off the air already.

Romney super-sizing California house: It's not quite John Edwards’ 28,000-square-foot House, but it could be a liability for Romney.

Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his La Jolla, Calif., family home, increasing it from around 3,000 square feet to more than 11,000, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. A spokesman for Romney told the Washington Post that the expansion is needed for Romney’s five married sons and 16 grandchildren, and that no work will be done until after the presidential campaign.

Romney’s wealth is no secret to political junkies, but the optics of building an 11,000-square-foot house could very well reinforce the idea of a guy who comes from a completely different economic class than most Americans. This is an emerging attack on Romney — think “corporations are people” — so keep an eye on how it’s used.

Edwards arguably suffered more from his $400 haircut than his house, but it was all part of a pretty similar narrative.

Huntsman on the attack: Continuing a confrontational tack and a trend toward moderation, presidential candidate Jon Huntsman went after Perry and Bachmann on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday for what he called “extreme” views.

He called Perry’s attack on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke a “treasonous remark” and Bachmann’s promise to bring gas below $2 a gallon “completely unrealistic.” He also said there’s a “serious problem” with Perry’s comments dismissing global warming.

“I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable,” Huntsman said.

The former Utah governor has gotten little traction in the race so far, and he’s clearly hoping to change that by getting more aggressive. But winning the primaries as an outspoken moderate will be difficult.

Democrats’ fundraising slows: The Democratic National Committee raised $6.7 million in July — its worst month since President Obama announced his reelection campaign.

Obama, who has been raising lots of money for a joint fundraising committee with the DNC, canceled a number of fundraisers last month to deal with the debt ceiling crisis. The DNC raised $12.2 million in June, $10.5 million in May and $14 million in April. It has $20.1 million on hand but still owes $11.2 million in debt.

The DNC still outraised the RNC, though, with the GOP committee taking in $6.1 million and having $7.6 million in the bank. The Republican committee has $17 million in debt thanks to a financially troubling 2010 cycle.

House committee fundraising, meanwhile, is neck-and-neck. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $4 million last month and has $8.1 million on hand, with $4 million in debt. The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $3.9 million and has $11.3 million on hand, with $2.8 million of debt.

NRCC sticks nose in New York City race: We could have a second competitive special election on Sept. 13, with the NRCC now getting involved in the race for former congressman Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) seat.

The New York Post reports that the NRCC is spending money on Republican nominee Bob Turner in an effort to pull off what would be a very surprising victory. And the New York Times gives the race a quick look, noting that anger with Obama is helping Turner.

Weiner’s districts, while one of the most conservative in New York City, still leans heavily Democratic. A recent poll showed Turner trailing by six.

The New York special will be held the same day as the special election in Nevada, where the NRCC has been on the air in recent weeks trying to prevent Democrats from having any chance.

Fixbits:

Bachmann’s spokeswoman says her decision to not compete in the Florida Straw Poll comes down to resources and that the campaign will vigorously compete in the state.

The next addition to the GOP presidential field could very well be former New York governor George Pataki.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) says the tea party “can go to hell.”

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) says Perry’s comments about Bernanke and treason were “unfortunate.”

A chink in the armor for Washington Attorney General (and GOP governor hopeful) Rob McKenna?

Indiana state Sen. Mike Delph is still considering running in the primary against Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). Delph, if he were to run, could actually help Lugar by splitting the anti-Lugar vote with state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Must-reads:

Chris Christie: America’s Caesar” — George F. Will, Washington Post

Scrutiny of Bain Capital and of Romney as CEO intensifies” — Glen Johnson, Boston Globe

Rick Perry, annotated” — Andrew Ferguson, Weekly Standard

Michele Bachmann’s low-key IRS role belied ambitions” — Tony Kennedy, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Eccentric long shot” — Todd Domke, Boston Globe

House races focuses on Nevada’s poor economy” — Cristina Silva, AP

A new way around election laws” — Albert R. Hunt, Bloomberg

Wall Street execs turn backs on Obama, donate to Romney” — Jake Interrante and Bob Cusack, The Hill

Read more on PostPolitics.com

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