I was sitting in the waiting room at the airport in Missoula, Montana, earlier this week when the garrulous man a few seats away began holding forth on Sarah Palin, who had visited the city just that weekend. He was telling the nice lady from New Mexico what a great, normal person she really is -- his expertise apparently coming from his son having attended the University of Idaho at the same time as Palin, though they had never met.
In any event, he was quite certain she would not be running for president in 2012. "I don't think she will," he said. "Why would she need to, at this point?"
Not wishing to create a row, I kept the answer to myself: Um, because she's a raving megalomaniac?
Palin's heading to Iowa this week, and it of course is fueling all kinds of speculation that she's getting ready to run in 2012. Of course she is.
Palin is one of only a tiny handful of people whose name comes up automatically when talking about the potential candidates in 2012. That's political capital you can't buy, and as savvy a political animal as Palin is, the likelihood of her letting it slip through her fingers is very small. She's obviously going to run.
That was made obvious last night, when she was interviewed in the above clip from Fox, and asked about her plans to run:
Palin: I don't know. And it -- we know that it's not up to me. Um, if the American people were to be ready for someone who is willing to shake it up, and willing to get back to time-tested truths, and help lead our country towards a more prosperous and safe future, and if they happened to think that I was the one -- if it were best for my family and for our country, of course I would give it a shot.
Jesse Zwick at the Windy has a roundup of the speculation. The consensus seems to be that she probably will indeed "give it a shot." But as Alex Parene at Salon notes, Mitt Romney is still very much the front runner for the GOP nod -- though of course, he has more than a few drawbacks, particularly his Mormon background, when it comes to getting the backing of the Republicans' religious-right base. Palin has the clear advantage there.
On the other hand, when conservatives like Daniel Larison are writing passages like this, it can't be a good sign for a Palin candidacy:
The basic argument against O’Donnell can be made against Palin: outside the bubble of her devoted followers, very few people like her, and even fewer believe she is qualified for the office. The main difference is that Palin has a slightly larger bubble, but even this bubble doesn’t include most of the GOP. As Ross suggested yesterday, Delaware could be a reality check and a cautionary tale about “ideological purism,” and most attentive and savvy voters (which is what a lot of early primary voters are) will see it that way. Defeating an incumbent President is difficult. There’s a reason that it has only happened four times in the last century. If Republicans want to have a chance, they will nominate someone other than Palin, and if there is one thing that is obvious from the last two years it is that most Republicans are desperate to have a realistic chance of defeating Obama.
Palin's running. It will tell us everything we need to know about the Republican Party if she succeeds.