Bill Whalen

Que Sarah, Sarah…

Will she or won’t she?

Perhaps we’ll have an answer to Sarah Palin’s presidential ambitions as soon as Saturday. That’s when she headlines the Tea Party’s “Restoring America” rally in Idianola, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines (the event having been moved outdoors to the site of theNational Balloon Classic – make of that what you will regarding presidential trial balloons).

Speaking of test runs, here’s Palin’s “Iowa Passion” video released earlier this month by the non-candidate’s SarahPAC. For someone undeclared, it’s a pretty good imitation of a candidate going through the motions of rallying the Iowa faithful.

So, with so many political tangibles in Palin’s favor this weekend – good crowd, good backdrop, good timing – is this, at long last, the big announcement the media’s been anticipating?

Karl Rove thinks it might be (he also believes the former Alaska governor has been a little too thin-skinned about the media speculation).

Others have made the argument that Palin won’t run – it’s bad for her brand, and ultimately that’s bad for the business that is Sarah Palin Inc.

So perhaps, by the weekend’s end, the “Palin Watch” likewise comes to an end, one way or the other. Or, perhaps she chooses to spend the Labor Day holiday belaboring the point – it’s her decision and her timetable, not the media’s – and extends the wait into October, even November.

In the meantime, the Des Moines Register has come up with eight reasons why Palin could easily jump into the race, plus eight reasons why a no-go also makes sense (here’s the full list).

The argument(s) for:

  1. Self-confidence;
  2. She can’t resist the limelight;
  3. Organize4Palin has laid a foundation;
  4. She’s unparalleled in firing up the base;
  5. Tea Partiers could give her an extraordinary boost;
  6. She can amass an army of small-money donors;
  7. After three full years of Palin Derangement Syndrome, what else is there to say?
  8. She has a simple but straightforward message: anti-Washington, anti-corporate excess.

And the argument(s) against:

  1. Her high negatives (40% of Republican voters say no);
  2. She could quickly flame out after Iowa;
  3. Compared to Palin agonistes, even Brett Favre looks decisive;
  4. She’s already a kingmaker;
  5. The whole “half-term governor” thing;
  6. She’s allergic to reporters;
  7. Sparing the family from more slings and arrows;
  8. She needs to turn to campaign pros if she’s serious about winning.

I guessed correctly that Mike Huckabee would not run. I was mistaken in assuming that Mitch Daniels would. I’ll leave it to some other fool to predict the course of Hurricane Sarah.

Common sense and logic say Palin should stay out – not enough neutral minds to sway; she’d be competing with Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann for the non-Romney, non-Paul vote; in a “change” election, she’s a familiar face.

Then again, it was defying convention sense that landed Palin on the national ticket. And 2012 might be the right time to be an unconventional Republican.

No wonder she can’t make up her mind.

(photo credit: Desiree Williams)

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