The Palin Factor

by Andrew Stiles

Pundits and strategists weigh in on the prospects of a Sarah Palin bid for president in 2012.

George Will on ABC’s This Week:

Two things are infinite: one is the expanding universe and the other is media attention to Sarah Palin, who is the genius at manipulating it. She has several political problems, the first of which is there is no undecided vote in this country any more about Sarah Palin, surely. Second, the threshold question is not usually asked, but it’s in everyone’s mind – should we give this person nuclear weapons? And the [question] answers itself there.

That doesn’t mean she can’t be without political consequence. If she gets in now it will be because I think Michele Bachmann is about to get in, and they take up the same political space. And the two of them there can be devastating to Tim Pawlenty because he has great appeal to the evangelical Christians who are dispositive in Iowa, and she can divide that vote and take it away from him, and thereby help Romney.

Video here.

Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist, on This Week:

Sarah Palin is a phenomenon. She doesn’t need to run by the rules established by the Republicans. She can run simply on her own timetable, when she feels like, and she doesn’t have to follow conventional wisdom. I think she’s running. She sees a big opportunity, and you know what –

ABC’s Jon Karl: You’re certainly hoping she’s running, right Donna?

Brazile: No, I’m hoping Michele Bachmann gets in.

Video here.

Alex Castellanos, GOP strategist, on NBC’s Meet the Press:

I don’t see Sarah Palin getting into the race at all. I don’t think there’s a place for her now. I think the real Sarah Palin is Michele Bachmann, and she’s in, and she’s doing well in Iowa, raising money… So I don’t see a lot of room for [Palin].

But Palin, I think, fears reelecting Barack Obama more than anything else. I think she understands she can’t beat Barack Obama. She wants to renew her brand, refresh her brand. She can be the power behind a thousand thrones, but she just can’t sit on the big one herself.

Video here.

David Brooks on Meet the Press:

Being president is waking up, somebody hands you the crisis and says ‘there’s a crisis in Venezuela, what are you going to do about it?’ Does anybody think Sarah Palin is ready for that? I don’t think so. She can manage her brand, but running for president is not American Idol. I think people may agree with her, they may like her, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for her.

The other thing is she’s just not a team player. This is a team sport. Just take one little thing she did this week. She’s taking her bus up to New Hampshire. She doesn’t call the Republican Party of New Hampshire, tell them where she’s going to appear, what she’s going to do. So you got to play as part of the party, you got to play as part of the team. She’s not a team player. I don’t think people are going to think she’s qualified.

Video here.