Questions about Sarah Palin’s future political plans are ubiquitous. From the left and the right, political pundits wonder aloud if she’s really thinking about running for the office of president in 2012. And depending on the pundit, the questions over whether she will run are usually tied to reasons why she should or shouldn’t.
But missing in all this guesswork over Palin’s intentions and the weighing of the pluses and minuses of her possible candidacy is the simple fact that she’s already running for president, and so far, she’s beating Obama and the mainstream media at every turn.
While I’ve suspected that she was already running for some time, it dawned on me with near certainty after she released her “Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States” last week. Her willingness to mock Obama’s 2008 claim that he’d campaigned in “57 states” proved that she has absolutely no fear of running against him. It also showed that she meant what she said about running against Obama in 2012 when she told Barbara Walters she could beat Obama.
I believe she started running for the office on the first weekend of February 2010, when she stood before the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and asked: “How’s that hope-y, change-y stuff working for you?”(It doesn’t seem a great stretch to reach back to 1980 and juxtapose this with then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s famous question about the Carter years: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”)
At that same Tea Party convention, the mainstream media seized on the fact that Palin had written speech notes on the palm of one of her hands before ascending the podium. Groups like ThinkProgress.org and media figures like Andrea Mitchell mocked Palin for this, so Palin simply mocked them back by showing up a few days later at a campaign stop for Texas Governor Rick Perry with the words “Hi Mom” written on the palm of her hand.
Since then, she’s continued to dismantle the assaults of the mainstream media while simultaneously taking Obama to task on point after point.
For example, she seized on Obama’s April 2010 statement that “the United States will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country” as being indicative of his ignorance about nuclear weapons in the first place. She then mockingly added that it was just more proof of “the vast nuclear experience [Obama] acquired as a community organizer.”
More recently, she told Fox News that her reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, could soon be followed up by a sequel titled Barack Obama’s golf courses. The implication being that the current “commander in chief will have plenty of time on his hands after the 2012 elections.”
Counting her time on the national stage as a vice presidential candidate with John McCain, America has had over two years to watch Palin speak from the heart, while listening to Obama speak from a teleprompter. They’ve heard her relentless calls for a strong military, while watching Obama try to appease (instead of destroy) terrorists the world over. They’ve heard her defend the free market, while living with the ramifications of Obama’s stimulus package, nationalization of industry, and takeover of health care.
The American people have even seen a microcosm of a Palin-versus-Obama matchup via the 2010 midterm elections in which 30 of 43 of the House candidates she endorsed won, as did 7 of the 12 Senate candidates she supported. Moreover, those elections proved that while rank-and-file citizens largely support Palin’s worldview, they are rejecting Obama’s.
No wonder CBS News’ Nicolle Wallace said of Palin: “She is one of the shrewdest political figures in our country at this moment. She’s also one of the most electric.”
So while the pundits guess, stabbing blindly into the air in an attempt to come up with proof of whether Palin will or won’t run, the rest of us should just sit back and watch her go, because she’s running for the White House right now.
And if I had to place a bet on who wins in 2012, my money would be on Palin.