When all the confetti and balloons finally came to rest at the end of Election Day, the Republican Party had carried a very large percentage of the state and national races across the country. Although they didn’t take control of the Senate as hoped, they did make the margin of majority for the Democrats somewhat smaller. They took an overwhelming number of House of Representatives seats. And through it all, a nonstop media frenzy swirled around Sarah Palin, her thoughts, Twitter posts, speeches and candidate endorsements. What would be the final outcome? Would her name carry the vote? What would it all mean for a possible Sarah Palin run at the presidency in 2012?
According to the CBS News scorecard, Palin endorsed a total of 55 House and Senate candidates. In the end, 30 of her endorsed House candidates won (out of 43). Seven of the 12 candidates she endorsed for Senate won. Mathematically, that works out to 37 of 55, which is a 67 percent average. Not a bad showing.
But did her endorsements help? Although it can be argued from both sides, it must be stated that the most high-profile candidates with Palin’s blessings lost — Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Carly Fiorina in California. And then there is the case of Tea Party Republican Joe Miller in Alaska, who lost to Palin rival Lisa Murkowski, in her own back yard. Some have argued that a Palin endorsement, while being a boon during a Republican primary run, can become a detriment in a generalized election.
So what does any of this mean in the overall scheme of things? Palin has made it plain since she and running mate John McCain lost the presidential election in 2008 that she has designs on the presidency. And even though she seems to have done several things many believe she shouldn’t have — resign mid-term as governor of Alaska, sign on to a reality show — Palin seems poised to run.
And she will.
There are all sorts of indicators that Sarah Palin has been planning and will soon begin to run for president and the outcome of the midterms wouldn’t have mattered — even if Palin’s endorsed candidates had been far less numerous. It was why she set up SarahPAC.com to channel money into political campaigns and, eventually, finance her own.
NPR reported in July that Sarah Palin was showing every indication of running for president. “SarahPAC’s latest financial report,” Peter Overby wrote for NPR, “filed over the weekend, shows Palin has a powerful base of small donors, and she’s busy doing what prospective presidential candidates usually do – giving campaign cash to candidates who can help her later on.”
She dropped the biggest hint at the end of October that she was ready to make the run. Appearing on Entertainment Tonight, Palin said she would take a close look at the field of candidates and, if there was one who really appealed to her, she would support them. “Or whether there’s nobody willing to do it,” she offered, “to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I believe the priorities should be.
“If there’s nobody else to do it,” she continued, “then of course I would believe that we should do this.”
Nobody willing? Nobody else to do it? Exactly who is she attempting to convince? Newt Gingrich? Mitt Romney? Rudy Giuliani? Tim Pawlenty?
Even Karl Rove knows she is going to run for president. As a campaign strategist and former president George W. Bush’s chief political advisor, he finds the idea less than satisfactory. He recently told the Telegraph, “With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office.'”
Rove noted that she would probably curry strong favor among her “true believer” followers, but, referring to Palin’s mid-term resignation, he pointed out, “They are going to be saying ‘the person who can win is the person who proves to me that they are up to the job.'”
But if there were still lingering doubts that she might actually choose her money-making, camera-ready lifestyle over that of the presidency, her statement on “Fox News Sunday,” after refuting Rove’s comments about her reality show by noting that Ronald Reagan had also been on television, should remove said doubts.
“When we talk about making money today,” she said, “having a lot of fun today, having all this freedom, if the country needed me, and I’m not saying that the country does and that the country would necessarily want to choose me over anyone else. But I would be willing to make the sacrifices if need be for America.”
That would be translatable to: Yes, Sarah Palin will run for the presidency in 2012.