Although former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has decided against running for president, the tea party favorite and 2008 Republican candidate for vice president clearly won’t fade from public view. That fact prompted Politico to ask and answer five big questions
surrounding the ramifications of her decision.
So Really, Why Didn’t She Run?
Palin cited family obligations. But Politico sees other factors, saying that she “has showed virtually no interest in doing the grunt work of running a national campaign.” She put more focus into being an author and commentator. Although she hinted at jumping into the fray spontaneously, Palin is more analytical than that.
Is Her Political Career Over?
At the young age of 47, Palin certainly will have other chances to run for office but probably not in the near term. And her statement about staying out of the presidential race makes clear her doubts about the value of holding office, in any case. In Alaska, her options seem limited at this point. A Dittman Research poll this year showed that 61 percent of Alaska residents have a negative view of their former governor. She has a home in Arizona, but a May Public Policy Polling survey indicated she couldn’t beat four different Democrats in a Senate campaign. Still, she may look much stronger in a few years.
Will She Retain Her Most High-Profile Platform?
That’s her position as a commentator at Fox News. Shortly before Palin’s announcement, Fox News President Roger Ailes talked about her as if she were gone. “I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings,” he told The Associated Press. Without the hint of a presidential bid, her ratings value is diminished. “The problem is that Palin, who proudly went ‘rogue’ against John McCain’s campaign for president, has also gone rogue at Fox,” Politico says. She made clear her dislike for the moderators of Fox’s debate and for the network’s hosts, including Bill O’Reilly. That hasn’t endeared Palin to Fox staffers.
One Victim Is Clear
That’s Mitt Romney. Palin’s support was strongest among conservative and blue-collar voters. It’s unlikely they will migrate en masse to the former Massachusetts governor. The Romney camp was hoping that Palin would pull away conservative support from Romney’s main rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Now the tea party vote will split up among fewer contenders.
But Who Will Benefit?
That’s not quite so clear. Certainly Perry was hoping to get a boost. After Palin’s withdrawal, he called her a “good friend, great American, true patriot.” She endorsed him in his gubernatorial primary last year. But lately, she has taken him to task for “crony capitalism,” just as candidate Michele Bachmann has. Palin made very complimentary comments about candidate Herman Cain Wednesday, but she also made clear she hasn’t decided yet whether she will endorse any candidate. Obviously her backing would be a major prize. Without it, her supporters could fracture among Perry, Cain, Bachmann, and Rick Santorum. “Cain has the most to gain with Palin voters,” longtime conservative strategist Greg Mueller told Politico. “He is making a strong play positioning himself as a conservative, tea party candidate with a businessman’s sense as to what needs to be done to fix the country.”
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