Obama's still the favorite next year

My prediction is that [Palin] gets in and runs almost exclusively an air war intended to create the appearance of a real primary campaign without any of the hassles. She knows that her vote is pretty much set in stone and it won’t be impacted much, if at all, by creating a traditional organization. If she is as smart as I think she is, her goal would be to exceed low expectations and finish a respectable second to Romney and thus use the campaign to change minds about her for the future. In a sense, she would then become a hybrid of Romney and Mike Huckabee after 2008: technically “unemployed” but well known and respected enough to sustain her viability into the future…

If things break her way, she could end up as the last Tea Party Star standing up against Romney (not counting Ron Paul) and it would be possible that Romney would not be popular enough with the base to reach the vote threshold needed to put her away. Still, she could not beat Romney in a protracted battle because, as Obama proved in 2008, winning a delegate battle is still all about organization, an area when Romney would dominate Palin, who frankly may not even want to actually win the nomination.

In that sense, Palin entering the race would probably be the best development the Romney campaign could hope for. She would immediately split votes from Bachmann and Perry and simultaneously raise the issue of electability to the front burner. Ironically, the fact that she probably helps Romney would be the only genuine excuse Palin could use at this point not to run…

If Obama was perceived as nearly unbeatable, the Republican base would be far more sensitive towards the obvious signs that Bachmann and Perry can’t play to a national audience. But now the base is so suspicious of “moderation” (especially after John McCain) that any attacks from the media/left are seen as a badge of honor by those who will be voting in the early primary states. As shown by Bachmann’s victory in Ames the week of her “crazy eyes” Newsweek cover photo, the more a candidate is seen as the target of the left, the more they are instinctively trusted by the hard right, even when there is little or no logic to such support. It is also important to point out that the conservative media has shown itself extremely hesitant to strongly criticize any Republican candidate with a following (Palin being a prime example) for fear of losing their fans as customers.