Will she or won’t she? If yes, when? If no, then what?
So goes Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential flirtation.
Since the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate is in the unenviable position of having the national media analyze her every tweet and Facebook post, Sarah Palin has become a distraction to the other would-be presidential candidates, not to mention the Republican Party at large.
That’s why it’s time for her to reveal her 2012 presidential plans. Seize the moment. Take the hill. Make her move, while there are no other officially declared candidates, and Palin will enjoy every advantage afforded by the Power of Now.
Whether she chooses to run or not, Palin can harness the Power of Now to great advantage. Here’s why.
Flirting Gets Old Fast
Like a classic flirt, Palin sends signals to all sides. Recently she hired a chief of staff with past presidential campaign experience — a move that made news. Some in the media took as a sign that she is running.
But then she sent a contrary signal by skipping the CPAC gathering, where almost all the prospective GOP presidential candidates paraded their wares before activist conservatives and worldwide media.
Certainly if Palin already knew she was running, she would have made the time to attend (CPAC is scheduled a year in advance). But she even turned down an offer to give the keynote speech — not something a serious candidate would have refused. She can’t afford many more such missed opportunities without turning people off.
Palin Would Be First To Announce
If Palin is planning on running, she could create a total frenzy by being the first GOP candidate to officially announce. She would have nothing short of complete media domination for at least a day or two. Another advantage of announcing first is that after hers, all the other candidates’ official announcements would be anti-climactic — unless they made their own campaigns all about Palin herself.
Palin Is the Center Stage Act
Since Palin currently commands so much media attention, one could make the case that she is being somewhat unfair to the other prospective candidates who don’t know whether she will perform or cancel the show. Right now, it’s all center stage but no show. Mitt Romney, the current front-runner, has already given her a pre-show review by stating that Palin would be great in the primaries.
Palin could use the Power of Now to make her decision either way from a position of strength. Announcing now from center stage, instead of from deep within a crowded field, puts her more in control of both alternatives.
By Waiting Palin Is Hurting Her Own Prospects for Winning
If Palin is to make a serious run for the White House she needs to be building a national organization now — one that can raise millions and win primaries in early states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. If she decides to make a late entry, it would be nearly impossible for her to be taken seriously as a candidate and to gain ground. Just ask Fred Thompson.
Time to Release Her Supporters
The tea party base enamored with Palin needs to know her 2012 plans so they can stop wasting their psychic energy fantasizing about her run. Then, if she decides not to run, there’s plenty of time to transfer enthusiasm to other candidates. These party activists will be desperately needed on other presidential campaigns and as boots on the ground for the GOP, even if they are still waving the Palin flag in their hearts.
Kingmaker or Queen?
If Palin uses the Power of Now to announce that she is not running, that puts her in an even more powerful position, the better to shape the 2012 GOP presidential primaries. Other candidates would likely court her for an endorsement. She might even help unite the party behind a candidate. At a minimum, she has the capability to seriously narrow the field of contenders.
Some recent polls suggest that Palin is slipping as a formidable candidate in early caucus or primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. That’s all the more reason why she needs to make her decision at once, so others can attract the media attention necessary to win the nomination and defeat President Obama. Like it or not, a presidential hopeful can’t just win the hearts of his or her base.
May 2, 2011, Is D-Day
The first GOP presidential candidate debate is set for May 2, 2011 — about ten weeks away — at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Will Sarah Palin be on the stage or not? We can already count on the likes of Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Haley Barbour to be there.
If Palin is a no-show for that debate without making any official announcement either way, her 2012 White House flirtation will be virtually over and her sell-by date will have expired. But if Palin knows at this point that she is a go for May 2nd, she should harness the Power of Now by being the first to announce.
The ball’s in your court, Mrs. Palin. Think fast!
More from Myra Adams: “Why Palin Should Run for Oprah’s Couch instead of Obama’s Chair in 2012.”