Monday, August 22, 2011

Tony Lee: The Undecided

How Long Will Sarah Palin Keep Us in Suspense?

Though some Palin supporters believe that Sarah Palin long ago made up her mind to run for president, she has been consistent in her replies to questions from the media, saying every time that she is still weighing her options. More recently she has indicated that she will reach a decision before October. At Human Events, Tony Lee examines some of the possible reasons why Gov. Palin could still be undecided:

Possibly because of family. Though her husband, Todd, has repeatedly said the family has “been tested,” and her other family members seem to be on board with the idea of her running, Palin became a grandmother again last week, so any last-minute objection on behalf of her family may give her pause about subjecting them to the rigors and scrutiny of a campaign.

Palin could also be “strategically” undecided. In other words, Palin knows that in a cycle in which information travels faster than in even the average news cycle, now more fragmented and compressed than ever, she has to pick the perfect time to enter the race in order to minimize her chances of fizzling out. In addition, entering the race at a later date would give her the advantage of seeing her potential opponents possibly wounded and damaged even as they pick up support.

On the flip side, as her detractors in the mainstream media, on the Left and in much of the GOP have said, Palin could also be strategically undecided about seeking attention. Because she does not have an organization of paid staffers and professional fund-raisers, she is not taken very seriously by much of the chattering class. Yet because she trusts that the suspense surrounding her decision will keep her relevant, critics feel, Palin is purposely drawing out her inevitable decision not to run just to remain relevant.

But perhaps Palin is undecided for a reason more in tune with her character. Does she want to effectively lead the Tea Party?

The anti-establishment energy is there, as was shown by Donald Trump​’s meteoric rise in the polls, Herman Cain’s positive intensity scores, Michele Bachmann’s straw poll win and Ron Paul​’s fervent followers. And while the Tea Party has prided itself on being a leaderless movement, this election cycle may be one in which that movement needs a leader for its objectives—such as reducing the size and limiting the scope of government—to be accomplished in the legislative arena.

But Palin may be reluctant to become the Tea Party’s leader because, as Steve Bannon, who directed The Undefeated, said, the biggest surprise about making the movie was how Palin never spoke about her record of reform and accomplishments in Alaska. To Bannon, this was so because “her parents raised her not to brag.” Seen in this light, as Palin has said, she may decide that it would be better to endorse a candidate who fits the exacting standards she often lays out.

But what if the Tea Party activists want her to be its face? She has, after all, accepted an invitation to headline a Sept. 3 Tea Party event in Iowa. What if Palin thinks no candidate fits her description of the right person to take on Obama in the fall? Or what if Palin, as her detractors have said, wants to remain in the spotlight, but sees that her core base of supporters would never forgive her, like lovers teased or scorned, if she chooses not to run?

In the final analysis, Lee concludes whether Sarah Palin has a burning ambition to be President, as those of us who support her believe, or whether she is just driven to remain a celebrity and make huge amounts of money, as those who have made it their business to disparage her cotend, "she may have no choice but to run in 2012. For now, though, she remains the great undecided."

- JP

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