COMMENTARY | Sarah Palin was met by cheers from tea party members in Iowa of “Run, Sarah, Run” on Saturday. Not surprisingly for political watchers, there was no announcement from Palin that she plans to run for president. There were, however, jabs at Rick Perry (denouncing “corporate cronyism” and a “permanent political class”).
Palin continues to capture the tea party’s imagination and retain her popularity among those followers. They just know she will announce her candidacy for president, but those tea party folks are likely wrong. It’s more likely Palin won’t run, if one examines the political landscape and her fate in it.
There are plenty of good reasons Palin won’t run for president, even if she won’t step out of the political spotlight on behalf of the other Republican candidates. Despite the cheers urging her candidacy on (as reported by the Chicago Tribune and other places), Palin is far less popular with the “official” GOP. In fact, Palin would likely split the party, and that makes her as popular with the Republican mainstream these days as Dick Cheney, who’s been going around town lately, ruffling feathers.
Like any serious presidential candidate, Palin would need boots on the ground and a strong support team to run for president, which Palin hasn’t bothered to organize. Without a strong grassroots effort, her candidacy would be shaky, and put her stance far behind Perry and Bachmann who have already declared and are equally intent on marshaling the tea party forces as well.
Most of all, Palin is not ready to give up the earning potential she has at the present moment. Acting like a candidate gains her far more financially than a real candidacy ever would. She’d also be competing against Romney, with his deep pockets. Although she has shown she can raise money, to begin now would put her far behind the other contenders.
Other campaign advisers note that she is really a “media star,” who covets the limelight because it helps keep the private money flowing in. Promoting her books, speaking engagements, and Fox News spot all take audience support, and getting out on the campaign trail helps that. So Palin enjoys a dominant spot in terms of recognition and visibility, her cultivation of the tea party and other Republican groups isn’t really aimed at a serious run for the office.
For now, Palin continues to act like an undeclared candidate, but in the long run she’s not likely to “Run, Sarah, Run.”