We'll find out over the weekend, but he's predicting that Sarah Palin will not only not announce her own candidacy for the Presidency, but will endorse Rick Perry's.
Sarah Palin is only 47 years old, a full 15 years younger than Hillary Clinton was when she ran in 2008 and more than two decades younger than Ronald Reagan was when he mounted his successful campaign for president. She knows she has small children to raise and that her own mistakes and relentless media hostility have damaged her brand as a presidential candidate. But she also knows that attention spans are short, America is full of political careers that have been resurrected and she has lots of time to outwait her critics.
Let’s also take Sarah Palin at her word. Last year, she told Greta van Susteran of Fox News that the major reason she might run would be “if nobody else were to step up with the solutions that are needed” to set the country right. “But I also know that anybody – anybody – can make a huge difference in this country, without a title, without an office, just being out there as an advocate for solutions that can work to get the country on the right track. And that’s where I am now.” Doesn’t that pretty much describe what Sarah Palin has been doing the last year, fueled with celebrity-infused brio?
So if Sarah Palin isn’t running for president, what will she do in 2012? Even as a non-candidate she has the potential to shake up the GOP race. In a recent slickly-produced video producer by Team Palin that chronicles her bus tour of Iowa, Palin shakes hands with a girl in an “Americans for Rick Perry” T-shirt and then poses for a photo with the girl and her fellow Perry supporters.
“Given the elaborate editing that went into this production, is it likely that Palin would have approved a visual nod to Perry as a mere coincidence?” asks blogger Robert Stacy McCain, a keen-eyed Palin watcher. “I don’t think so.”
Indeed, Republican governors tell me that while Palin and Perry attended meetings as fellow governors from 2007 to 2009, they clearly bonded. “As executives of the two biggest energy-producing states in the country they had a lot in common and were simpatico on issues,” one governor told me last week. “You could also say they are both larger-than-life personalities who no doubt learned from each other in the publicity department.”
Rick Perry has already vaunted – at least temporarily – to the front of the GOP presidential pack, leading Mitt Romney by 29% to 22% in the latest Fox News poll that has Palin at 8%. If Sarah Palin decides that 2012 isn’t her year to run, as I firmly believe is the case, but even sweeter revenge could she have on her media adversaries than to give early backing to a kindred conservative spirit who then went on to win the GOP nomination and indeed the presidency?
That’s why I believe Sarah Palin isn’t running, and why she will ultimately endorse Rick Perry. And if her bet pays off and Perry becomes president, don’t be surprised if the next Secretary of Energy is a certain former Alaska governor who has an aggressive agenda to open up America’s energy resources. Such a platform would also be an effective launching pad for her to start refurbishing her political and policy image.
I am envisioning a bumper-sticker with just a pair of fashionable women's eyeglasses and the words: "Palin - 20/20".