Sarah Palin is the cover story in the new edition of New York magazine. It's a liberal publication, so the article is just dripping with the sort of condescension and ignorance you would expect from leftists who don't get out of New York City much. The piece is just wrong about several things. We agree, for example, with Ian Lazaran that Gov. Palin is perfectly capable of winning the 2012 election without a Michael Bloomberg third-party candidacy, which is the antithesis of the main point of the op-ed. But the article makes clear that many of the same elitists who pronounced her politically dead after the 2008 campaign and again after her resignation as Governor of Alaska are now grudgingly admitting that she's not only a player, but she's holding a poker hand that could win the pot. Here's are some excerpts:
But today the conventional wisdom about Palin is being revised again, nowhere more so than within the ranks of professional Republicans. Among two dozen senior strategists and operatives with whom I’ve spoken in recent days—including many of those responsible for securing the nomination for the party’s last three standard-bearers—there is a growing consensus that Palin is running or setting herself up to run. All agreed that her entry would radically and fundamentally transform the race. Most averred that if she steps into the fray, she stands a reasonable chance of claiming the Republican prize. Indeed, more than one argued that she is already the de facto front-runner.Indeed, if the unemployment numbers remain where they are or get worse over the next two years, Sarah Palin will clean Obama's clock in the 2012 general election, should she decide to run. And that is regardless of whether Bloomberg or any other candidate mounts a third party effort.
“She has a greater claim to outsider status than anybody else in the race or who might get into the race,” says Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman who backed Romney in 2008 and will be with Pawlenty this time around. “Whether it’s tea-party activists, Evangelicals, or whatever stripe of activist you’re talking about, she has the strongest grassroots base, the most credibility, and the greatest appeal of anybody in the party.”
Weber pauses. “If she runs, she’s a very serious factor,” he says. “Everyone’s strategy is going to have to change—everyone’s. It’s a big computation to make.”
With her stratospheric name recognition and presumed capacity to raise millions quickly from her devotees via the web, Palin would be able to hold off on wading in much longer than her rivals, perhaps until as late as next fall. In the view of most Republican strategists, on the day she enters she obliterates all of the other candidates in the anti-Establishment bracket—which is why some deem her the front-runner today. “If she runs, given the intensity of her base, she will be for sure one of the two finalists coming down the homestretch,” says a veteran GOP campaign hand. “You can’t say that about anyone else in the party.”
Beyond the intensity of her grassroots following, Palin would bring to the race two other significant advantages, the first being the calendar. That she would be the prohibitive favorite in Iowa, where the caucuses are dominated by Evangelical voters, is considered a given by most strategists. But, in fact, all of the first four states might provide fertile ground for Palin. “Iowa and New Hampshire both are places in which the tea party has manifested itself,” observes Dowd. “In South Carolina, [firebrand Senator] Jim DeMint has already shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with. And Nevada’s nominated Sharron Angle.”
Palin’s second advantage, nearly incalculable in its scale and implications, is her ability simultaneously to drive and saturate the electronic media, new and old—the way that cable chronicles her every twitch, that with a trifling tweet she often earns 24 hours of breathless nonstop coverage. “It’ll be something that we’ve never seen before,” says John Weaver. “Obama wasn’t like that until the general election.”