Palin: I'll run for president if no one else "steps up"

Skip ahead to 6:00 for the key bit, although if you do you’ll miss her swipe at Murkowski for having been “handed her job by her father” and at the media for failing to dig into the youthful background of “Barack Hussein Obama.” This is a straightforward statement of interest in the presidency — it doesn’t have to be me, it’s about solutions for the economy, national security, etc — but it’s interesting nonetheless in the question it raises about the primaries. Just how different will each candidate’s “solutions” be from everyone else’s when the GOP establishment now lives in mortal terror of tea partiers? Everyone in the field will be competing to pander to “true conservatives” on every issue; Romney is the notable exception, but RomneyCare sealed his fate on that so now he has to roll the dice on being the centrist-ish alternative. And even so, I can’t imagine any daylight between him and the rest of the field on otherwise contentious issues like immigration or abortion. The only place you’re likely to see slight disagreement is on social issues — not the economy or national security — but even there, Huckabee’s likely to be as Palin-y as Palin is, demanding a Federal Marriage Amendment, a Human Life Amendment, etc.

All of which is to say that the next primaries are likely to be decided on anything but the issues, which is both good and bad for Palin. If charisma and populism are key to galvanizing turnout among supporters, she’s golden. If qualifications and electability become key, well…

The undecideds are pretty ambivalent when it comes to their feelings about Barack Obama- 44% of them approve of him and 44% disapprove so he’s pretty much a wash. Narrow majorities of them do like some other major Democratic figures- 55/31 favorability for Hillary Clinton, 51/28 for Michelle Obama, 52/39 for Bill Clinton. It’s too bad for the party they can’t send Hillary out on the campaign trail but with the remaining undecideds the First Lady and the former President should be a positive influence.

None of those folks inspire nearly as strong of feelings with this fall’s swing voters as Sarah Palin though. A whooping 65% of them have an unfavorable opinion of her to only 17% who see her in a positive light. And it’s not as if that’s a function of the remaining undecideds strongly disliking Republicans across the board-only 41% have a negative opinion of Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich and that falls to 33% for Mike Huckabee and just 25% for Mitt Romney.

Exit question: What do she and, say, Huckabee disagree on? Remember, in several primaries this year (most notably California and Iowa), he’s endorsed an even truer “true conservative” candidate than she has. And some tea partiers have noticed.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023