By Paul Goldman
Karl Rove, the Fox News paid analyst and former strategy guy “Brain” behind George W. Bush, is getting a lot of publicity today. Why? Rove says Sarah Palin will run for President in 2012, after losing for Vice President in 2008. The former Alaska Governor is scheduled to give a big speech to a national Tea Party Convention in Iowa next month. Rove predicts she will announce her candidacy at that event.
My take: This is a brilliant ploy by Fox News creator Roger Ailes to call Palin out since, it is generally believed he only kept paying her big salary as a Fox News contributor after she promised back in the spring not to run for President. At the time, Fox News stopped paying Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. As with Palin, Ailes reportedly called them and asked their intentions. Huckabee stayed on, months later declining to run for the White House, even though he was a GOP nomination frontrunner. Newt and Rick resigned their “commission” in the Ailes army, and months later declared their presidential candidacies.
This leaves Palin still getting the Fox money. So, the assumption has been that the self-appointed censor of the “lamestream” media had told Ailes “No Go” on the White House. However, Palin recently appeared on a Fox Cable show and indicated a “fire in the belly” type of feeling in terms of 2012.
This makes Ailes look bad: and those who know him know that for him, image is everything. So, Ailes got Rove to call Palin out, a brilliant stroke in my opinion, for several reasons.
First, it doesn’t hurt Rove one bit: he gets massive publicity, and he now owns the Palin story unless she wants to scoop herself. Palin is now on the spot big time. Rove’s statement has made her speech a go-or-no-go moment, whether Palin likes it or not.
If Palin doesn’t announce her candidacy next month in Iowa, but continues to keep open the possibility, she is now on notice that Ailes will use Fox News to make her look beyond silly. She could, of course, pull a Glenn Beck and believe she is bigger than anyone. Ailes will gladly let her be so delusional.
So, one way or another, Ailes will get what he wants. If Palin runs, he is rid of her in more ways than just one. Her cable show bombed and the truth is, Ailes doesn’t need her to get Tea Party viewers, as he has Bachmann and Perry for free. Also, Palin is already close to being old news, which is why she was in Iowa before the Ames Straw Poll looking to be part of the game. Bachmann is the new Tea Party purist. Palin doesn’t want Bachmann to win. Which is why Sarah backing Rick Perry is her more likely play, as she’s already hinted that the GOP nominee needed gubernatorial experience like her (except for the quitting half way through part.)
Ailes also knows this: If Palin runs, she will expose herself as having nothing on policy to offer longer than a tweet. Palin is, as they might say in Texas, all hat and no cowgirl. Ailes wins double.
Ailes and others needed Palin to bash the liberal media, and she did it well, getting rich in the process. But she is in Ailes Army, not in the Palin forces. He is the General and she is defying him.
So, Rove called her out without any inside knowledge, claiming his insight is based on the content of her new video being sent around to apparently promote her speech. He thinks the video and her Iowa schedule scream candidate, not orator.
I previously had a column in USA Today showing that history gives Palin 0% chance – as in zero – to be elected in 2012. The public opinion polls reflect this historical data showing her to be not only the easiest GOP candidate to defeat, but with the most hardened image, meaning she can’t take advantage of whatever might happen in the future. The DNC chairwoman will be candidate Palin’s first donor.
My prediction: Palin doesn’t run (although using campaign matching funds to create a list of people to sell books and a newsletter too, and have taxpayers pay for a high living life style for the next 6 months, surely appeals to her).
Bottom line: If they ever do a remake of the movie “The Grifters”, Sarah Palin gets the starring role.