Nate Silver Is a genius. Two years ago, Nate began to predict that Sarah Palin would run for president in 2012, or at least seek the nomination. In fact I believe he placed a bet with a colleague to that effect… something involving a steak dinner in New York City.
I’ve been on record for the same amount of time disagreeing with Nate. I thought Palin was too intellectually lazy to do the preparatory work necessary for a presidential run, too much in love with her new celebrity status to trade it for the hard slog though diners and donut shops, too enamored of big money to trade it for big headaches.
Now I concede that I was wrong. All the signs indicate she IS running. I think she’s clever and self-obsessed, and knows that she has to run if she wants to keep herself in the spotlight. Without a presidential run, the bloom fades off the Palin mystique. She becomes just another voice in the noisy conservative crowd. And because she’s already found how easy it is to quit something if it gets too hard, she also knows that she doesn’t need to WIN anything to stay relevant… she just needs to try. That will be enough to keep her fan base fired up for another couple of years… and Palin years are measured in millions of dollars.
But the best indicator she’s running is the growing panic in higher Republican circles. They are already holding tense back-room meetings, trying to figure out how to stop her without antagonizing her fanatically loyal supporters. However, by now Sarah Palin is pretty much an unstoppable force. What terrifies the establishment is that while neglecting New Hampshire she can win Iowa, which has a large fundamentalist, socially conservative Republican population, and roll on to the nomination from there. The schedule for her upcoming “book tour” hints at just that strategy.
This, of course, would be a dream come true for the Democratic party. Barack Obama would be able to compete against (and Republicans everywhere would be forced to defend) a woman who ran for the Vice Presidency on a Republican ticket without knowing what the Bush Doctrine was. There would be endless national conversations like the one recently conducted at this blog, about why Democrats are so disrespectful to conservative women. The entire campaign would be deeply, painfully embarrassing for serious Republicans, and reveal the party as fundamentally dismissive about the grave fiscal and foreign policy issues facing the country. They would revert totally to being the party of God, Guns, Gays and Gametes… and it would take them years to rebuild a more responsible national image.
But Sarah Palin doesn’t care in the least what her candidacy would do to the Republican party. She has the bit in her teeth, the wind at her back, and a burr under her saddle. She’s running wild and free.
RUN, SARAH, RUN!!!
Ed Note: A new poll out today doesn’t bode well for Princess Quitterpants.