In the 2010 election season, Sarah Palin has shown herself to be a formidable force in Republican politics and a consequential one in national politics. Now, with 2012 on the horizon, "top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment" are pivoting to what they see as their next "urgent task," say Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei in Politico: Stopping Palin from becoming the party's next presidential nominee. Palin calls the story, based on anonymous sources, yellow-journalism "crap." But is it true — and can the GOP "establishment" do anything to stop her? (Watch Sarah Palin's response)

Republicans need a rival Tea Partier: Like it or not, Palin is already the frontrunner, says James Joyner in Outside the Beltway. But "aside from getting behind a single, alternative candidate early and persuading everyone else to drop out of the race," which is unlikely, the GOP establishment's best hope is to back "another candidate with strong Tea Party appeal" — Mike Huckabee? — to split "aggrieved outsider" vote.
"Republican Establishment vs. Sarah Palin"

Politico has the story backwards: The Palin supporters are "only one brigade of a much larger army" hell-bent on toppling the GOP establishment, says Dan Riehl in Riehl World View. And if you so-called GOP leaders want to focus on Palin, that's great: You'll miss the insurgency behind you, but "at least you'll have your eyes on something pretty when the knife gets pushed into your back."
"To the GOP leaders trying to stop Palin: Nov. 2 is only the beginning"

The GOP has only itself to blame: So "John McCain's little joke is turning out not to be so funny" for his party, says Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. Well, the GOP establishment gleefully built up Palin when she was an anti-Obama "demagogue," and they can't expect to "get this particular genie back in the bottle" now that she's become a conspiratorial, "unelectable, and uneducable" threat to their power.
"Sarah Palin: Ms. Conspiracy for president?"

Get used to this story line: The "only thing that could destroy" Palin — "ignoring her" — is off the table, says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, since the media won't kill its golden goose. Palin's "genius" is that every legitimate criticism of her "lies," policy positions, and "meanness" makes her stronger. So watch for the "GOP establishment vs. Palin" story to "run and run," especially when Palin runs, too.
"Palin: The Republicans' Snooki"