UPDATE ON SARAH – WILL SHE OR WON'T SHE? – AT 10:01 ET: Even The New York Times has shown an interest in whether Sarah Palin intends to run. The signs are that she will:
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona — where associates have said she could base a national campaign — and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.
While it is by no means clear that she would be willing to give up her lucrative speaking career and her perch as an analyst on Fox News to face the scrutiny and combat that would come with her entrance into the race, she is being pressed by supporters for a decision and has acknowledged that time is running out.
Ms. Palin has reshuffled her staff, rehiring two aides who have helped plan her political events. And she is expected to resume a schedule of public appearances soon — perhaps as early as this weekend — to raise her profile at a moment when the Republican presidential field appears to be taking final form.
The drumbeat intensified on Tuesday night when the conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon was quoted on RealClearPolitics, a political news site, as saying that he was releasing a feature film he made with Ms. Palin’s acquiescence about her tenure as governor of Alaska. The film is to be shown next month in Iowa, whose caucuses open the nominating contest.
Ms. Palin would undoubtedly be able to raise substantial campaign financing and attract constant media attention if she ran. But she is a divisive figure in the party, and would have to overcome what polls have consistently suggested is skepticism and even opposition to her among some fellow Republicans.
Still, supporters of Ms. Palin say that her constituency beyond the Beltway remains eager, and aides and associates have said she is receptive to their calls of “Run, Sarah, run.”
COMMENT: If she does run, I suspect she'll position herself as an "independent Republican," which is what she did in Alaska, someone willing to take on the GOP establishment as well as the Democrats.
As readers know, I have decidedly mixed feelings about this. I like Sarah. She's hard not to like. But she really is very badly damaged, and her resignation from the governorship of Alaska reduced her even further in the eyes of many, many people. She's a great cheerleader, but I'm not sure she'd be a great quarterback.
If given a choice between Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, I'd choose Bachmann. I just can't see a route by which Sarah wins the presidency, and winning is what the next year and half is all about.
May 25, 2011