The Washington Post political blog, The Fix, appears to have not gotten the latest memo that many know-it-alls now see it as more likely than ever that Palin will seek the White House. And hey, for once, we happen to agree with the know-it-alls. What took them so long? And how long will it be until The Fix experiences its epiphany, too?
[Note: An earlier version of this posted incorrectedly listed Chris Cillizza as the author of the WaPo piece. I apologize for the error. This week, Cillizza's blog, The Fix, is being written by guest bloggers Aaron Blake and Rachel Weiner.]
As if the Iowa Passion video had never been released, Blake and Weiner offer their tired take on the presidential race:
* The time commitment: … [S]he has made a habit of virtually disappearing for weeks at a time. … She has yet to show an appetite for the kind of constant campaigning that a presidential run would demand, and there is little sign that she’s using her free time to build up the kind of infrastructure she’ll need to run.
“A candidate for national office needs to focus on building a national finance committee, recruiting talented operatives and campaign leadership in the five early states, and developing a message with a narrative that is based on conservative values and positions,” said GOP strategist Scott Reed. “Sarah Palin is zero-for-three.”
Leaving aside the lack of mention about jury duty or the Alley Cat Smart theory, the least The Fix could do is inform us that Scott Reed is likely a shill for Mitt Romney. Here are some of Reed’s recent “insights” into the 2012 nominating race:
“Romney has clearly solidified his role as the front-runner. He’s shown that money is not going to be an issue, and he’s made some strategic decisions on the early states,” Republican strategist Scott Reed told Politico.
“It’s Romney’s to lose,” said Scott Reed, a GOP consultant.
They also miss the fact that Palin continually promises an unconventional campaign and has always left the presidential door open. They should have asked the Wall Street Journal or Real-Clear Politics, The Iowa Republican, or Caffeinated Thoughts, about her true ground operation in Iowa.
Even though Sarah Palin doesn’t play by the same rules that seem to govern the rest of the field of Republican candidates, she has developed an extensive ground game in Iowa, even if it’s not being officially coordinated by her or her advisors. In many ways, I think that Palin is probably more organized in Iowa in terms of grassroots communication than most of the current field.
I can attest to what [The Iowa Republican]is saying, there is rarely an event I go to where Peter Singleton and Organize 4 Palin is not. I can’t say the same about the other campaigns. So if she gets in she’ll be able to hit the ground running. She has the ability more than any other candidate, I believe, to enter this race late and still be competitive in Iowa.
Then they trots out the familiar “Perry and Bachamann render Palin obsolete” meme:
* There’s a lot less room for her: Rep. Michele Bachmann’s strong statement in the Ames Straw Poll and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to enter the race both mean Palin will have to compete for the people who otherwise would have made up her base. By waiting this long, Palin has given the people she will need the opportunity to support someone else, and both Bachmann and Perry have stepped forward to more than fill that vacuum. She could have pretty easily been the chief alternative to Mitt Romney; that’s no longer the case.
I’m glad they brought up Bachmann, because I’ve been dying for a chance to point out the largely unnoticed story of the Straw Poll: Bachmann’s team spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on robocalls, buses, and gave out more than 6,000 tickets at $35 a pop. They expected to win the Straw Poll by a wide margin. Her team told Cameron Joseph of The Hill that they expected to be “north of 6k.” They also leaked the same thing to conservative blogger Stacy McCain: “I’m told about 17,000 ballots cast. Bachmann’s people expect to get about 6,000 of those.”
When all the votes were counted Bachmann eked out a 152-vote win, 4823 to 4671, over Ron Paul. In other words, at least 1,200 people (maybe more) received free tickets from Team Bachmann but didn’t bother to vote for her. That’s 25% of her total! Moreover, you would expect that folks who just wandered into the Straw Poll might cast votes for her, but her total shows that she spent a ton of money for an underwhelming performance. Bachmann is not ready for primetime. Her support is soft. And my suspicion is that so is Perry’s. Natalie Nichols over at Big Governorment predicts Palin could pull as many as half of Bachmann’s supporters and 40% of Perry’s:
If you do the math, not counting support Candidate Palin might take from Cain, Paul, Santorum and the others, the result of a Palin announcement, fresh out of the gate, looks like this: Romney 18%; Palin 17%; Perry 17%; Bachmann 8%. Throw in the undecided voter (now 16% of the Republican voters) who will likely swing toward Palin, given the fact that they already had the opportunity to choose one of the other candidates, and didn’t; it looks even more promising for Palin.
But they weren’t finished. They rounded out their stale arguments with the familiar, “The presidency would be a step down” nonsense.
* Little to gain: Palin is a part of the political conversation and will continue to be even if she doesn’t run. And given how much her prospects in the presidential race have dimmed — recent polling shows she is increasingly unpopular among even Republicans, and she would not begin the presidential race as a frontrunner — she’s got something to lose with a poor showing. [...]
Her Fox News contract: This is both motivation to stay on the sidelines and an indication that she will. Jumping into the presidential race would mean giving up her steady and lucrative paycheck as a Fox contributor — a fact that weighed heavily on Mike Huckabee before he declined to run. … The argument goes that, if Palin was serious about running, Fox would have taken her off the air already.
First, the polling Blake and Weiner quote is from March. Way to stay current! They completely ignore their own July WaPo poll showing Palin in a close second place to Romney as well as a late July Gallup poll that showed Governor Palin having the highest strongly favorable ratings among Republicans and Republican-leaning indies.
Then, they repeats the nonsensical argument that Gov. Palin would rather be a tv commentator than leader of the free world. This is ludicrous … Gov. Palin has never been motivated by money. She has quit two six-figure jobs when she felt it best served the public interest, she’s turned down pay raises and given up perks while in office. She likely won’t quit Fox News until she has to because she is not a blue blood trust fund politician with deep pockets. She needs to work for a living. Yet from Day One after her VP bid she has never shut the door to presidential run, as other candidates have done, only to break their promises. Palin has constantly said that she would be interested in seeking the presidency if it is right for the country and for her family. Why can’t people take her at her word?
“If there is an open door … and if it’s something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, then I’ll plough through that door,” she told Fox News on Monday night.
“Show me where the open door is. Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plough right on through that and maybe prematurely plough through it, but don’t let me miss an open door.”
So, instead of giving us plausible reasons Palin “wouldn’t run” (not even a very bold prediction, mind you), Blake and Weiner simply gives us one more reason not to trust the Washington Post.