For tea party supporters and that special subset called “Palinistas” the withdrawal last week of Sarah Palin from consideration as a presidential candidate was a significant surprise.
The depth of the disappointment is based in the fact that many, including myself, considered Palin an excellent standard bearer for tea party principles, combined with experience, character, and lifestyle that evoked what is missing most these days in politicians — trust.
Now as the shock of Palin stepping aside subsides, the question for Palinistas is, What now? The political intelligentsia are also, understandably, interested in what will become of that particularly passionate political force.
The answer is rather simple — we’ll be doing what we’ve always been doing — agitating, organizating, and working for a restoration of America’s founding principles through political action.
Sarah Palin may have chosen to not answer the call for the presidency, but make no mistake, the principles that garnered her the unique support she enjoyed continue to inform and drive the base that lifted her.
Palin has made it clear she intends to continue to be a force within the political arena, yet interestingly while Palin will remain a political influence, her supporters may end up being the surprise long-term political force.
Already, various individuals whom had organized to help elect Palin are not crying in their soup, they’re organizing anew to determine how best to further tea party/Palin principles as articulated by the governor. Some are even pursuing an effort to "draft" the governor, hoping she’ll reconsider.
Some supporters who entered the political fray for the first time due to Palin may retreat from politics now that she does not represent the promise of the presidency. For those who had some political experience, tea party or otherwise, they will translate their already remarkable experience as Palinistas into an invaluable organizing force that should not be dismissed.
Palin may make an endorsement in the presidential race primary season, yet she of all people should know her supporters are a uniquely independent group of conservatives. Tea party activists are tea party for a reason — and with Palin’s departure the current GOP candidate field is not, frankly, an acceptable lineup.
If she chooses to endorse in the primary season it would be a mistake to think Palinistas will simply "get in line" and support whomever she might give her nod to. I’m not even sure the governor realizes that.
Ironically, the Palinista base will act on the conservative principles Palin articulated so well such as the problems of crony capitalism, Obamacare, the scourge of the permanent political class, big government, socialized healthcare, and fiscal responsibility, and apply that independently to the decisions they make.
Every candidate in the GOP field now fails on Palin’s points.
Herman Cain, a man with remarkable political potential, meets some of the criteria, yet his lack of a record and experience in governing presents what many believe is an insurmountable problem.
Gov. Palin has painted herself into a very difficult principled corner — her own standards make endorsing in this current field at the very least uncomfortable, and at worst she’s at risk of appearing hypocritical. Palinistas in that case will no doubt let the governor know where they stand, and it may not be with her.
The other option for tea partyers is to bypass the GOP primary season entirely and focus on the Senate, which is exactly what leaders at Freedom Works
, a tea party group, and Tea Party Express have indicated is their intention.
Whatever individual Palinistas decide when it comes to "What now?” they will make the difference in this imperative political season.
With the tea party, we have seen emerge the most important conservative movement since the Reagan Revolution and if there ever was a time for authentic conservatives to take back this nation, and the Republican Party, it is now.
For those who thought Gov. Palin’s supporters would fade away if Palin did not run, they’ll find the folly in that sooner than later.
There’s an old adage that warns trying to organize conservatives is like trying to herd cats. Palin and everyone else will soon find trying to round up Palinistas at this point will be like trying to herd cats who have pitchforks and torches — and it may be best to take them seriously.
Tammy Bruce's website is at www.tammybruce.com
(c) Tammy Bruce