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In politics, as in Hollywood, “winning” is in the eye of the beholder.
Most pundits and politicos say there’s no way that Sarah Palin is going to run for president in 2012 because time has run out. She’s dragged her feet and teased us with her coy ‘I’m thinking and I haven’t ruled it out’ comments. But that analysis relies on old school political reasoning that no one would run for President of the United States unless they actually wanted to be President of the United States.
It’s no secret that Palin doesn’t play politics the old-fashioned way. She’s made it very clear that campaigning for her is just as much a function of keeping any spotlight on her, as it is about speeches, policy papers and kissing babies. And that’s why I still believe that Palin is going to jump in the race soon and mix it up with the other candidates for a couple of months. I know she’s still a FOX News commentator and that supposedly means she’s sworn to FOX News that she’s not in the race (they cut Newt Gingrich and others loose when they said they wanted to run), but Palin is a different case. She’s real star power for them. I have a feeling Roger Ailes would have no problem bending his own rules for her.
Want proof? Here are five reasons I think Palin will still get in the race:
1. Deadlines? She don’t need no stinking deadlines! I bet all the paperwork is ready and someone on the Palin payroll is on call to file the necessary forms in the primary states she’s interested in. Don’t worry -- they’ll make it in just under the wire.
2. It’s too late? Getting into the race at this point in 2011 is only late if your goal is actually to become President of the United States.
3. Media lost interest? When have the media ever lost interest in Palin if she wants the attention. Two words -- Bus. Tour.
4. Field too crowded? Republicans are still praying for the likes of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or Jeb Bush to announce a presidential bid. Mike Huckabee anyone? If it’s not too crowded for them, there's definitely room for Palin.
5. Mama grizzlies still love her. Don’t count them out. Palin was the long cool drink of water in the desert for Republican women in the 2008 election. They loved her then and they’ll love her now. And they’ll still love her when she drops out of the race for “family reasons.”
For Palin to “win,” she just needs to be a presidential candidate long enough to look legitimate, so she can increase her speaking fees and then play something of a kingmaker for the actual election. And then maybe another TV show? If we’re done with seeing her in Alaska, maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfuss will even make room for Palin in her pretend vice presidential digs.
Joanne Bamberger writes about the intersection of motherhood and politics at her blog, PunditMom. She is the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (Bright Sky Press, 2011).