It’s now official what many people had predicted: former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has ended her political tease — which helped her promote books and raise money for her political groups — and has formally announced that she is not going to run for the 2012 Republican nomination:
Sarah Palin is not running for president.
Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, ended her inscrutable cat-and-mouse game with the political establishment on Wednesday by saying that she would not join the field of Republican candidates seeking her party’s nomination, but would still work to oust President Obama.
“Not being a candidate, you are unshackled and able to be even more active,” she said on the Mark Levin show. “I look forward to using all the tools at my disposal to get the right people in there who have a servant’s heart.”
The decision from Ms. Palin on Wednesday placed a punctuation mark on the Republican presidential field. Her intentions were the biggest remaining question in the race. While there was not a groundswell among Republican leaders about a Palin candidacy, she has a deeply loyal following.
Her announcement, which took the Republican world by surprise, was vintage Palin. It also raised the question of how intensely she plans to be involved in the race and whether she intends to endorse a candidate or simply be a commentator, cheerleader or critic.
Actually this was NOT a stunning surprise. Various political analysts made it clear they felt she was NOT going to jump in this year for three main reasons:
(1) Polls show most Republican voters don’t want her to run for President.
(2) She had virtually no political apparatus in place to run not even the most embryonic kind.
(3) She was still working on her Fox contract and would have had to leave if she had decided to run.
In the case of the Fox contract, Fox News boss Roger Ailes in an interview did not exactly give Palin the most ringing endorsement when he explained why he hired her:
From the start, Ailes has steadfastly denied any such political bias or agenda on the part of his network. Politics, schmolitics: “I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings,” he declares.
Most Republicans had not expected Palin to run ever since Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann got into the race and soared to the top in the Iowa straw poll. But Bachmann’s stumbles since then opened the door a bit for another female contender with strong conservative credentials.
Palin’s path to the nomination would have been complicated by the presence of Perry and so many others, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, destined to split the conservative vote.
The man who picked her as his running mate in 2008, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said on Twitter that Palin will “continue to play an important role in our party and for our nation.”
As word is leaking out that Sarah would rather be kingmaker than queen, her supporters are flooding her Facebook page, asking her to reconsider:
“Dear Sarah, Please reconsider running. This country needs you. You are the only person who will beat Obama.”
No, she wouldn’t…at least not according to oh, every major poll. President Obama would drub Palin by an AVERAGE of 12.8 points according to an average of major polls by Real Clear Politcs.
Campaigns are real work — the fundraising, the organization, the policy positions — and she hasn’t had to do one ON HER OWN since she ran for office in a state that has less population than Contra Costa County. Plus, she’d have to take a paycut — the loss of her $1 million annual salary for punditizing from Fox News, which has provided her with four hours of airtime to tease the POSSIBILITY of a run, according to the liberal Media Matters.
Bottom line: It was an uphill battle where she really didn’t have the numbers. Financially, it’s a good call for her.
We now await the time honored political tradition: The gratuitous suck-up message from the other campaigns, wishing Palin well. We’re betting on Romney clocking in first, Perry second on this one. Stay tuned.
Here’s her full statement as carried on the CNN website:
October 5, 2011
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.
My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.
From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.
I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.
Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.
In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.
Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!
God bless America.
– Sarah Palin
OTHER REACTION TO PALIN’S NOT RUNNING:
She did the smart thing by staying out. Just yesterday, CBS found that three out of four Republicans didn’t want her to run compared to just 23 percent who did. Her favorable numbers have been underwater for ages and she would have been hammered on the inexperience charge for failing to finish her term as governor. I do think she could have emerged as the “Not Romney” in the race over Cain and a weakened Perry, but realistically there was no way to beat Mitt once it was a binary choice. His campaign pockets are too deep and undecided Republicans are too desperate to beat The One to roll the dice on a nominee who’s arguably unelectable. Once Christie decided not to get in and split the centrist vote with Romney, there was no obvious path for her (which may explain the timing of her announcement today). Worse, there was a chance that she wouldn’t even emerge as the “Not Romney”: If Perry or Cain ended up faring better than her in Iowa or South Carolina, it would have shattered her mystique as the ultimate champion of grassroots conservatives. By staying out, her supporters now get to say “she would have won if she ran” without ever having to test their theory and she gets to kinda sorta play kingmaker as people wait to see if she’ll endorse Perry, Cain, or (gasp) Romney. And who knows? Maybe she’ll focus now on challenging Begich for Senate in Alaska in 2014, which would be a huge first step back towards national viability down the road. She’s 47 years old, fully 25 years younger than McCain was when he was nominated three years ago. No rush.
So she’s not running. Whoop-de-doo. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that Chris Christie isn’t running either.
As I said, this doesn’t really come as a surprise. Palin has done little to form a campaign organization, and has fallen back in the polls as Republican voters have paid attention to the candidates who are actually running.
Palin’s endorsement will be sought after, no doubt, if only because of the loyal following she still seems to maintain among a certain segment of the Republican Party. In the end, though, this pretty much means the end of any idea that Sarah Palin as a major force in American politics. More importantly, though, this confirms once and for all that the 2012 GOP field is set in stone. There may be subtractions to come, in fact there inevitably will be, but there will be no more additions.
After endless teasing and basking in the attention, Sarah Palin has informed supporters in a letter Wednesday night that she will not be running for President in 2012. “After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States,” she writes. “As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.” Our national nightmare is over.
In true Palin form, her announcement does leave the door open for plenty of speculation, on which the news media will certainly pounce. Notice how she makes clear that she “will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination,” but never says in writing that she won’t run as a third-party candidate. (She did tell conservative radio host Mark Levin that she believes “a third party would guarantee Obama’s re-election, and that’s the last thing that our republic can afford,” but if you think that will stop the conjecture then we’ve got a Chris Christie to show you.) And there’s still the vice presidential nomination! Lord have mercy.