Sarah Palin Says She’s Holding Her Cards Close

Notice the Graphic: "As Time Runs Out"

If you missed it, on Thursday evening, Governor Palin appeared on Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox Business.  Many issues were discussed, but the chief thing to understand is that she basically ruled out an announcement within the next 24-48 hours to meet the “end of  September” deadline some have inferred from her previous statements.  I know that Palin is a smart player, because she refuses to get locked into a date and time by the media.  She flatly told Napolitano that she holds her cards close intentionally, knowing that the media is relentless in trying to nail her down as to some arbitrary announcement date they have concocted and pushed for their own purposes.

This is a great move, because even now, the unrelenting circus of the childish “Draft Christie” movement continues, and looking at it objectively, it appears like a set-up.  One can almost imagine that inside the Christie camp, there is a push by some to cause a spontaneous (read: astro-turf) movement to “convince” the New Jersey governor to run.  What Sarah Palin is wisely doing by deferring the decision is to remain in control.  Until she announces her intentions one way or the other, the race hasn’t begun in earnest.  Some very interesting news developing this week offers to shake things up in Palin’s favor.

Wednesday, it was revealed that the Florida primary may move up as to a date as early as January 31stIn response, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina may be forced to move their primary up to as early as January 2nd.   Florida is scheduled to announce its primary date on Friday.  If they move their primary up, they will yield half of their delegates at the Republican convention, but many want to improve the state’s influence in choosing the eventual nominee, and being early rather than late tends to have that effect.  This shifting of dates would have the effect of establishing clear front-runners early rather than late.

This would play to the distinct advantage of candidates with greater existing name recognition, and this is where Palin’s strategy may pay off.  While the other candidates have been busy trying to build name recognition in the electorate, in her absence, she’s still managed to influence much of the debate, and by now, we should have realized that she is the one candidate upon whom the rest are waiting.  As I have argued many times before, it is this inescapable “Palin Factor” that haunts the steps of the other candidates.  They are looking over their shoulders, wondering if or when Sarah Palin will enter, and while they do, they continue to play the established media game of the Republican Savior-of-the-Month.  Are we on Savior number twenty yet?  Shall we list them all again?

At this point, if she holds off another week or two, it will make little difference for her campaign if she intends one.  If the primary season leaps forward into January, it makes for an unconventional election process and primary season indeed.   I think I’ve heard that before, somewhere.   What this all means is that Governor Palin is very conscious of the calendar, probably more than most, and that she understands the gift of picking one’s time.  Whether she enters, or decides to sit it out and be king-maker, the latter choice being the one I consider unlikely, she will be in a position to either win or have the most influential voice via a potential endorsement.

None of the current crop of candidates seems particularly strong.  While this could certainly change dramatically, it seems unlikely.  There will be some jostling up and down, but the race seems to be stabilizing.  Much in keeping with my assessment of the last debate’s results, Cain and Gingrich have each moved up, and Perry and Romney are gravitating toward one another in the middle twenties in polling.   What this really demonstrates is that the field is altogether weak, at least for the moment.  Republican voters still have their eyes open, and are listening intently for better options.  Even at this increasingly late date, there’s still no definitive front-runner, but as time dwindles for others to enter, with the looming threat of an accelerated early-states calendar, it all plays into the hands of the candidate who can afford by virtue of name recognition to wait the longest to enter the fray.

If Chris Christie or other establishment-favored candidates intend to enter, their windows of opportunity will close much more quickly than Palin’s.  They may have the advantage of money-raising capacity in the short run given the nature of their friends, but they cannot beg, borrow or steal enough name recognition in such an accelerated schedule, whereas Palin does not suffer that impediment.  There already exists an army of supporters ready to leap into the fray at a moment’s notice.  She has the best name recognition among the lot of them, and that’s pure gold in an accelerated schedule like the one we may now be facing.

Palin is smart to keep her cards close and play out her hand as she sees fit.  While her supporters are still anxious for battle, most of them have now begun to see how this is playing out and have recognized the benefits of waiting a bit longer.  They’re no longer worried over silly media narratives telling them when Palin “must be in” or when “it’s too late.”  They’ve finally noticed that for all this talk by the punditry, on every show or interview in which she appears, Governor Palin is still being asked relentlessly to announce her intentions, and for her supporters, this has finally sunk in:  The pundits had told us it was too late at least once in each of the last five months, and frankly, many more times than that, but if it’s too late, and Governor Palin is irrelevant, why do they still ask her with such insistent vigor?  This stark and telling dose of reality ought to wash over anybody who has bought into that notion: If it’s allegedly so late, much too late according to some, why is it that they keep asking anyway?

This is another reason why Palin’s argument about the media seeking a bruising GOP primary contest is correct.  By refusing to fall into their game, she’s made them expose theirs.  Think about this approximate dialogue you have witnessed:

  • Pundit A: “She gets in now, or it’s too late.” (Three months ago)
  • Pundit B: “She’s becoming irrelevant.” (Two months ago)
  • Pundit C: “I agree with you, Pundit A, this is absolutely her last chance.” (One month ago)
  • Pundit D: “Yes, I think it’s finally too late.” (Today)
  • Pundit E: “Are you going to run?” (A week ago)
  • Pundit F: “Are you in?” (Two days ago)
  • Pundit G: “Well, I must ask the obvious question…” (Today)

If Pundits A-D are credible, then why are Pundits E-G still asking?  Yes, it’s clear that Palin’s supporters have figured out this part of the game, and they don’t seem so skittish as the first time or two the media ran with this narrative.  They have moved on, and have begun to further their organizations rather than wait for the next day the media says this must be “the last, absolutely final chance” to get in. Again.

UPDATE: FoxNews “If Palin enters 2012 Contest, Christie Will Too”

You can watch the entire video below:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ksparbanie Keith Sparbanie

    Just the other day, a "pundit" said that Christie has until October 31 to announce he was running. I guess "time is running out" only for Sarah. LOL

  • http://PalinsPlace Laurie

    Great piece Mark. Love the way you see things I miss!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1605039352 Batmo Beal

    Her name is the ONLY name (besides the usurper's) that voters will remember was also on that ballot in 2008. Governor Palin knows that, as well as the crony controlled media puppets. She's in it to win it!

    • marylou777

      Wow that is one one approach I didn't see. Very good!

  • jb

    Well said!!!

  • http://akaboland.wordpress.com akabosan

    The piece by Juan Williams should be displayed prominently on a stick somewhere… So we can throw things at it. :-)

    GB

  • http://twitter.com/MinneMike Michael Wiley (@Minn

    Here's my theory:

    Christie wants to run but he wants to be the last one in. Why? Because if he could wait to announce until immediately after Sarah announces, he instantly eclipses Sarah's entry and gets the full "last person in" bump.

    If so, he is completely wrong. Sarah is in a much more advantageous position to wait it out until the last minute. This is what Donna Brazile wrote in June 2011:

    “Palin can wait until the last possible moment to officially file her intent to run. Others who have already filed or are looking to file need to start developing traction-generating strategies now. However, Palin has both name recognition and the ability to quickly raise the funds needed to pull together a massive organization in the key early states. This media-savvy political professional can decide when it is the right time for her to file. “

    Christie has none of these advantages.

  • Peter Gabriel

    i THINK iT'S TIME WE SUPPORTERS LET HER PUBLICALLY HEAR FROM US. i SAY ALL PROpALIN BLOGGERS ORGANIZE A TOWNHALL MEETING W/gOV. pALIN ASAP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649923542 Thomas Dixon

    It's a fact that the 2012 election (national, state, & local) is the most important in terms of preservation of the Republic and the future of our country. There are many critical components to the outcome, one being the Presidential nominee.

    Sara Palin operates at the concept level of operations with broader view of outcomes ~ the big picture you might say. She knows that many aspects of this electoral process must come together precisely in order for the result to reaffirm American values as laid out in the Constitution. The Presdency is only one facet of that complex set of conditions.

    To our benefit, she has not yet decided (been inspired by God) where her talents will most positively affect the 2012 decision.

    I believe in her and I believe in God. She will make the right decision.

  • blackbird

    Thanks Mark, excellent read.

  • http://gravatar.com/kara515 kara515

    Mark – Do you think Florida's earlier primary date (1/31) would have an impact on Sarah's timing? I'll support Sarah Palin no matter matter what, but I wonder if Florida's primary date change might impact her decision timeline or not.

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  • Jakartaman

    Palin is a true patriot and just maybe saying i am not playing the medias game making the election cycle two years.
    My personal opinion is the election process should only be 6 months.
    politicians need to stop campaigning and start governing