COMMENTARY | Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox News, may have taken the wounded body of the Michele Bachmann campaign and shot it in the head. Considering Bachmann’s standing in the polls going into Iowa, it can be seen as a mercy killing.
According to RealClearPolitics, Palin said, “As for Michelle Bachmann. She has a lot to offer, also, but I don’t think it is her time this go around.” This was a clear signal to Palin’s supporters in Iowa that they should not bother supporting Bachmann’s campaign. It is a lost cause and best it be ended so that conservatives can rally around someone who can win.
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection suggests that Palin was delivering some political payback. Last summer, then Buchmann campaign manager Ed Rollins trashed Palin while at the same time Palin supporters attempted to suggest that Palin was on the point of endorsing Bachmann. The idea was that Palin would be kept out of the race and Bachmann would be anointed her heir.
Palin declined to enter the race likely for other reasons than Bachmann’s machinations. Bachmann did not inherit Palin’s support base, which has scattered as one conservative candidate after another has risen and fallen in the polls as the political season begins apace.
Palin has and will have political influence far beyond what could be expected of a private citizen whose own career has been declared dead so many times that the phenomenon has become something of a joke. In 2010, most of the candidates she endorsed, with some notable exceptions, went on to win their elections.
But the hand that uplifts can also be the hand that smacks down. It is not as if Bachmann has had a prayer of winning, absent divine intervention. But Palin has taught a lesson that other politicians will need to pay heed to. One messes with the Mama Grizzly at one’s peril. Payback may be long in coming, but it will come.
A better way to deal with Palin is by paying her respect. Newt Gingrich mused that she would make a great vice presidential running mate or even secretary of energy. Palin has not contradicted that assessment, showing that Gingrich in this case had better judgment.
Sources: Palin On Michele Bachmann: It’s Not Her Time, RealkClearPolitics, Jan 2, 2012
Palin delivers political coup de grâce to Bachmann, William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection, Jan 3, 2012