PalinTracker: Not Running, but Still Kingmaking

With Sarah having emphatically removed her hat from the ring, is there any point in PalinTracking? I've concluded, at least for now: You betcha!

As she made clear in her statement to Mark Levin on his nightly radio show on October 5, after much soul-searching Palin is convinced she can be more effective on the sidelines than as a presidential candidate. Given her history -- chafing under John McCain's handlers in 2008 and resigning her Alaska governorship to spare her state the debacle of malicious lawsuits -- Sarah knows the toll candidacy exacts on an individual's independence, spontaneity, and authenticity. It's no surprise she would not surrender them, especially given the fact that she has proven to be an unprecedented outside force for change simply by doing things her way. Since no one has ever been able to predict what Sarah will do next, I'd caution naysayers with a paraphrase of Abraham Lincoln: better to remain silent on the subject of Palin's political demise and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt once she delivers the goods.

The goods will come in the form of her shaping the discussion. She has already captured the grudging admiration of the New York Times (see below) and ultimately may become the Republican kingmaker (so to speak) by delivering the votes of faithful conservatives who trust Palin's discernment and lack of compromise.

So with a quick dash through some noteworthy Will She? Won't She? pieces leading up to Sarah's announcement, I'll begin where we left off PalinTracking in September, then move on to reaction and questions about what lies ahead.

September 3

Palin still undecided on White House run

DES MOINES -- Alaska Republican Sarah Palin is still pondering whether to seek the White House, she said in a brief interview this afternoon. ...

In her speech, Palin said the challenge is not simply to replace President Barack Obama in 2012, "it's who and what we will replace him with."

September 5

Sarah Palin warns against Tea Party infighting

Palin: The tea party whisperer

Palin Praises Influence of the Tea Party

Palin, not even in the race, draws double the size crowd as Romney

September 6

Because she can:

Sarah Palin Runs Iowa Half-Marathon Unannounced Over Labor Day Weekend

September 7

The New Civility?

Liberal Video Game Offers Chance to Slay Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich in Tea Party Zombies

The New York Times finally sees something in Sarah?

Some of Sarah Palin's Ideas Cross the Political Divide

Palin: Obama "plays us all for fools" with jobs plan

September 12

Sarah Palin Tells Greta Van Susteren Why She Thinks Obama's Jobs Plan Won't Get America Back to Work

September 13

Palin: Tea Party Was Big Winner of Debate

September 14

Wyclef Jean Talks Sarah Palin

"I have to tell you this: I am a huge fan of Sarah Palin," the former Fugee said. "Cause she's rad. She's shrewd. She's cool. Because at the end of the day, I'm for the people, because this is the United States of America ... this is what America's really about. Anyone should have the right to say, 'Look I can do the job and this is what qualifies me to do the job.'... Now my wife probably will debate and disagree with me."

Seeming to sense a little bit of disbelief, he qualified his statement.

"I'm not saying she could be the next president, you know, but there's something about her. Heavy debates in my house. Whenever I say Sarah Palin, people think I'm crazy, but I like her, I do. I can like whoever. This is America, right?"

September 19

The Daily Beast: How Palin Haters Help Palin

Palin's smarter than people think, says -- Ralph Nader

September 20

Shock poll: Palin trails Obama by 5 points in new national poll

September 27

Sarah Palin calls "Herm Cain" the "flavor of the week"

Not sure how Politico framed this as a mockery, when Palin summed up human fickleness while praising Cain's authenticity:

Take Herman Cain. He's doing so well right now. I guess you could say, with all due respect, he's the flavor of the week. Herman Cain is the one up there who doesn't look like he's part of that permanent political class. He came from a working class family. He's had to make it on his own all these years. We respect that. He has an automatic connection with the electorate. We can all relate to him. He knows the issues and problems we face every day and he's determined to do something about it.

He's not elite. He doesn't seem to allow us to be disenchanted with what it is that he's proposing, because what he proposes in terms of solutions for our economy are based on time tested truths and common sense and true economic principles that will work.

Herman Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters and why his message -- good messenger -- he's resonating with the people.

Greta van Susteren interview of Sarah Palin -- video and transcript: GOP Infighting Playing Into "Liberal Handbook," Problem Is Obama's "Socialist-Leaning Failed Policies"

September 28

Palin: Is the title of President worth it?