That said, her 2009-2010 strategy of supporting a slate of candidates and appearing at major and minor Tea Party rallies alike clearly positions her as someone who is seeking a leadership role within her party.

Unlike a parliamentary system, however, there is no formal role available to Palin within her party at this time for which she can stand and from which she can lead. The chairmanship of the major American parties goes to someone whose job it is to support whoever the voters select as the party candidate; it is not a launching pad for candidates.

But if Palin can find a way to position herself as the natural leader of her party, the Lady Liberty at the front of the Tea Party mass, she may yet have a shot. And if she crafted a housecleaning message that unified rather than divided, she would strengthen her cause immensely.