Reigniting smoldering questions about her presidential ambitions (or lack thereof), Sarah Palin gave the headline speech at the Iowa GOP's annual Ronald Reagan Dinner last Friday. It was Palin's first visit this year to the influential state whose caucuses kick off the nomination process — and, in line with party tradition, require candidates to invest time and money selling themselves to Iowans. But among the targets in Palin's speech — President Obama, Democrats, the media — was the GOP "machine" itself. Does this tell us anything new about Palin's plans? (Watch Palin joke about running)
Palin needs Iowa to win: Palin's clearly considering a presidential run, says Ben Smith in Politico, but she "showed no sign that she plans to engage in the painstaking, humbling contest that will begin here in Iowa...." With its attacks on the "machine," her speech "made it difficult to imagine her giving up her current, comfortable platform to jump through the party’s hoops." Her path to victory in the Hawkeye state would have to be "unorthodox."
"Palin may run, but it's not clear how"
Palin's leaving her options open: "The conventional route of pressing the flesh in Iowa and other early caucus and primary states" isn't part of her plan, if she has one, says Rick Moran in The American Thinker. She seems to be playing it by ear: "If Palin-backed candidates win in November, her role of kingmaker will be solidified and even the party establishment will be somewhat at her feet" — possibly laying the ground for an atypical run at Iowa.
"If Palin runs, it will be an unconventional path to the White House"
Iowa's only the first step: Even if she could sweep the Iowa caucuses, the math still may not work for her, says Walter Shapiro in Politics Daily. A "little noticed" switch to proportional primaries (not winner-take-all) gives the GOP "establishment" an edge over "divisive" candidates like Palin. But really, all this speech told us about Palin's plans is "how much fun she intends to have toying with her decision" — and how much the media will eat up her every hint.
"Sarah Palin as Iowa GOP headliner—passionate, angry, and cryptic"