September 3, 2011

Sarah Palin Announces...

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Arg. Via ABC Sarah Palin Talks About Her ‘Plan’ but Does Not Announce in Iowa;
ABC News’ Sheila Marikar reports: Sarah Palin’s Iowa speech sounded a lot like a stump speech. She made frequent references to “my plan” — “My plan is a bona-fide pro-working man’s plan and it deals in reality … My plan is about empowerment...
I'm guessing an announcement is indeed coming, but it's starting to take too long. 

 Supporters are patient but patience has limits. While I've always been a supporter of Palin (always meaning since 2008), there comes a time when flirting with the notion of running does more harm than it does good. That time is rapidly approaching, if not already here. For quite some time the no-one-knows factor was an asset for Palin. Finding the point that asset reaches its maximum value before it starts the inevitable rapid descent towards liability, is not science, it's art.

I firmly believe we may have just passed the crest. Now is the time for her to act definitively. I'm not saying that as an ardent supporter of Palin who is now feeling jilted; there are others in the GOP race I'd be happy with as the nominee. Rather I'm saying it as someone who wants the best result for the GOP. Palin as 'damaged goods' is not the best result for the GOP or for Palin. She has an amazing ability to maximize her media value. What she really needs to start managing is her image.

She definitely needs to improve her image that is still suffering from media-taint from 2008 and beyond. Turning that around requires time. Time meanwhile is passing by, and by not entering the race, she is furthering the notion that she's not an endurance candidate. The idea that she dropped out of her governorship (despite the reason being unreasonable legal issues), is being reinforced by her not entering the race. It makes it seem as though she doesn't have the stomach for the rough going. That's the one thing she really needs to image-manage.

If she's looking for a sign on whether to announce her run now or later, somebody tell her to read this post.  The time is now. There are practical considerations that can't wait any more - like getting a field organization together.  There needs to be time to get a ground game together - it won't be as easy as the all-volunteer army her supporters envision. It just won't.  There needs to be donors.  There needs to be a media team.  The free agents still out there are no longer all top tier.

And then, there's the image thing again.  Maybe she can't win.  Maybe she has her sights set on 2016 instead of 2012, but because she has flirted with 2012, she has removed her own choice even with respect to 2016.  It would be better to go all in for 2012 and lose than to sit out and wait for 2016 or 2020.  She has to establish her credibility as a fighter and as a campaigner over the long haul.  Remember, her announcement into the McCain 2008 race was pretty late in the cycle.  She does have something to prove.  My guess is she wants to prove it.  But she can't prove what she needs to prove by being a tease.  She needs to get her hands dirty and she needs to stand up to what promises to be a knock-down, drag-out primary battle.  The benefit to whomever the eventual GOP nominee is that they will come out the other end stronger not weaker.  The coming battle won't fracture the conservative vote, it will steel its resolve no matter who the winner is.

Exit note: For Palin's detractors:  The race is served by having more candidates not less, those who don't want her to run claim she can't win.  If that's the case, then let her run, it won't matter.

UPDATE:  For the record, I didn't expect an announcement today.

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