Saxby Chambliss’s victory has certified the Palin wing of the party as the center of its gravity — at least, that’s how the GOP seems to be treating things. If Chambliss’s words are indicative of GOP thinking, Republican activists and conservatives, then Palin must have a pretty tight grip.
The answer to the question is that Palin hasn’t endorsed an RNC candidate, and her political advisers aren’t saying whether she will.
Follow the link for extensive handicapping, noting the potential pitfall for Steele in his coziness with a centrist Republican group. It’s no mystery whom the new, self-appointed “RNC Conservative Steering Committee” is trying to weed out. Why would Palin endorse anyone, though? Granted, if Chambliss is representative then she may have enough clout to handpick the new chair, but there’s no reason to believe Chambliss is representative. The polls don’t show her with anything close to a prohibitive lead over Romney or even Huck, and like I said this morning, Chambliss himself didn’t need her to win yesterday. Unless Palin’s sure she can decide the race if she intervenes, she’s in the same position Obama was vis-a-vis Jim Martin — faced with a risky bet she doesn’t need to make, especially with some RNC members grumbling about “celebrities” sticking their noses in where they don’t belong.
Exit question one: Assuming she does endorse someone, who will it be? Making nice with Steele would give her “big tent” credibility for 2012. Exit question two: Who’s Ambinder talking about at the very end, when he mentions another “high profile name” getting ready to jump in? I’m not sure if that means high profile among insiders like him, where Katon Dawson would qualify, or high profile among the rank and file, where we’re probably talking about someone like Gingrich or Fred.
Update: Per exit question two, a reader e-mails to question the timing of Fred’s new viral video.