Yesterday I saw a guy wearing what had to have been a new T-shirt. It had a straight, black line across the chest. Above the line it read SARAHPALIN12 and below the line it read THECONSERVATIVELINE.
In January, Governor Palin announced the creation of a new political action committee, SarahPAC. According to the website, it's a PAC that is "Dedicated to building America's future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation."
Is it really? It seems that the GOP may be setting the stage for a Sarah Palin run for the presidency in 2012. Actually, that idea was suggested not long after the election was won handily by Barack Obama in November. The fact that this new PAC is based in Arlington, Virginia, across the river from Washington, D.C., is further evidence of this possibility. Just to clarify, a PAC is an organization that legitimizes contributions to a political party or candidate.
Let's assume for a moment, that things go well for the new administration, and President Obama runs for re-election. Is this really the direction the Republicans want to go? Is it because Obama won with relatively little experience, that they think they can pull it off, too? Do they think they can turn Palin into the perfect conservative candidate? It's obvious she has her experience issues as well.
She was able to convince 114,697 Alaskans to vote for her as a gubernatorial candidate in 2006. That's a pretty impressive draw, I guess. There are over 400,000 registered voters in Alaska, after all.
The Republican National Committee has a new chairman. His name is Michael Steele, former Lt. Governor of Maryland. He is the first African-American to hold this important position.
While he mentions in his manifesto that he doesn't like "re-" words, Steele used phrases in the interview like "re-establish the brand" and "re-acquaint people" with the basis tenets of the Republican Party. He wants to make the core principles of the GOP to be more relevant in the 21st century.
This is probably a good thing, especially since much of the talk of late suggests that conservatism is really an outdated philosophy and not well positioned for modern politics. Republicans need to do something; in 2008 they only received 31% of the Hispanic vote, compared to 44% in 2004. Since 2006, they have lost 14 seats in the Senate, 54 seats in the House, and 7 Governorships.
Steele does not hint at big change, necessarily, but mainly just a return to the 1994 "Contract With America" way of thinking. This contract was basically a reworking of Ronald Reagan's 1985 State of the Union address and was intended to help the Republican regain a majority of congress during the 1994 election, the first election held after Bill Clinton became President.
So, is Sarah Palin the pick to bring prosperity back to the GOP? Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace asked Steele to give him three names of leaders in his party, under the age of fifty, that are new faces and ready to move things ahead. He said "We have Bobby Jindahl, Governor Sanford, Pawlenty, Palin."
Sarah Palin seems to be at the bottom of the list for the time being, anyway. At least she was mentioned. At this point, SarahPAC has not reported any funding so far, but there is still plenty of time for that. I would say that if donations pick up and grow, it can only help move her possible candidacy forward.
Based on what we've seen so far, her run should be good for the Democrats, too.