It’s safe to say that Laura Ingraham didn’t think much about Politico’s report on the future strategy of top Republicans — stopping Sarah Palin. Ingraham invited Mike Allen, one of the authors of the piece, to explain himself on her show this morning. Allen claims that anonymous sourcing is entirely legitimate and that the story actually helps Palin by setting her up as the early front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination. Ingraham isn’t buying it, dismissing it as “gossip” and unsubstantiated, calling it at one point “yellow journalism”:
“There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting,” the paper reported. “Many of these establishment figures argue in not-for-attribution comments that Palin’s nomination would ensure President Barack Obama’s reelection.”
Palin responded with derision. “Politico, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, they’re jokes. This is a joke to have unnamed sources tearing somebody apart limb by limb,” Palin told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren Sunday. “If they would man up and if they would, you know, make these claims against me then I can debate them, I can talk about it, but to me they’re making stuff up again.” She railed against unnamed sources, concluding: “I don’t think the paper that we just printed this article on, you know, it’s not worth even wrapping my King Salmon in. I’ll just ignore this crap.”
I have contacts at the campaigns mentioned in the Politico article, who often will send campaign messaging “on background,” which intends to get people writing about issues without attribution. We have seen plenty of that in the midterm elections — but I have seen none of it for the 2012 campaign. None of the contacts from the various campaigns has ever trashed Sarah Palin on or off the record, at least not to me. They’ve been too focused on winning the midterm elections and pushing their endorsements to attack each other, publicly or sotto voce.
While writing this post, I got in contact with one of the campaigns mentioned in the article and asked for a response. The contact told me that an official statement would be forthcoming, but in his opinion, “The Beltway media is obsessed with intra-party squabbles as they relate to 2012, and campaigns are focused on winning big tomorrow.” He was also mystified over the report, since no one is sure Palin’s running for President in 2012 anyway, and because by and large the potential candidates involved all like Palin and the role she has played in inspiring grassroots action in this cycle.
Of course, once the dust has settled from the midterms, the 2012 candidates will begin strategizing for their own success in the next primary cycle, but it’s simply not the case that they’ve started a get-Palin effort. In fact, nothing that I have seen demonstrates that any of the potential candidates are attack-messaging anyone except Barack Obama and Democrats in the midterms. I’m inclined to agree with the assessments of Palin and Ingraham.
Update: Guy Benson is similarly unimpressed:
Whether Sarah Palin decides to run for president in 2012 is a gargantuan irrelevancy on November 1st, 2010. Even if the “Republican establishment” really is conspiring to deny her the party’s presidential nomination 21 months from now, that’s an issue that can be dealt with at a later date. Hell, if we really want to, we could even commence the discussion on Wednesday. But for right now, let’s refuse to take the bait.
Every single Republican referenced in the article — from Palin, to Karl Rove, to Tim Pawlenty, to Mitt Romney, to Ed Gillespie, and beyond — would concur that the only goal at hand is ensuring anunmistakable and stinging repudiation of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda on November 2nd.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball and refuse to play along with Politico’s transparent eleventh-hour ploy to divide the Right and depress turnout. We can debate 2012 another day.