Reunited: Palin to campaign for McCain in Arizona

Dude, I think this officially makes her a RINO.

Welcome to the club, Sarahcuda!

Sarah Palin, McCain’s former running mate and perhaps the most powerful brand in Republican politics, will stump for McCain in Arizona on March 26 and 27, a Palin adviser told CNN. The presence of Palin – and the considerable crowds and media attention she will draw – might give pause to J.D. Hayworth, the former Republican congressman and radio host who opposes McCain’s position on illegal immigration and is mulling a Senate run of his own.

The former Alaska governor will also hit the campaign trail in the coming month for two conservative heroes – Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

I didn’t think McCain would swallow his pride and ask her, but oh well. Maybe he’s taking that potential challenge from J.D. Hayworth more seriously than we thought. I posed this question back in November, when I first wrote about this scenario, so let’s pose it again: Does this give Maverick political cover to vote a little more centrist-y this year than he otherwise might have given his vulnerability in a primary? Palin’s endorsement is the gold standard among the base; if she says “vote McCain,” it might not be enough to get grassroots righties to actually vote McCain but it might be enough to get them not to vote Hayworth, which is all Maverick needs. In fact, it might convince Hayworth — or any other more right-wing candidate — not to challenge McCain at all.

It’s obvious what he gets out of this. What does she get out of it? Two things, I think: (a) The moral high ground, rushing to his aid after Steve Schmidt et al. have spent months tearing her down, and (b) an inroad into the media narrative that she’s itching to lead some sort of “wingnut apocalypse” or whatever that’ll devour all moderate Republicans in its path. Truth be told, if she was inclined that way, there’d be no bolder statement she could make than by taking on her former running mate, particularly by backing some sort of independent tea-party candidate. Instead she’s being a good soldier, just like she was a good soldier in staying out of the Massachusetts race until it was over, when she called to congratulate Brown. Take this as further proof that she meant what she said to Rush (and to Beck) about working within the party, not outside of it — even if it is a bit odd that Maverick somehow doesn’t qualify as one of those Republicans who’d best be replaced by a more conservative party member.

Here’s video of her talking up Brown last night on Greta.