The next presidential contest is still a couple years away, but pundits have all but crowned Sarah Palin as the Republican frontrunner.
A day after all the major cable news channels broadcast Sarah Palin’s fiery keynote speech at the first ever National Tea Party Convention, the former veep candidate revealed on Fox News Sunday that she is receiving daily policy briefings from a cadre of advisers and that it “would be absurd” to close the door on a 2012 presidential run.
Here’s how the chattering class is reading Palin's political tea leaves:
- “Get ready for all Sarah, all of the time,” writes Charles Cooper for CBS News. Because the tea party movement has emerged “as the most dynamic part of the American conservative movement, it’s impossible to imagine why she wouldn’t have a place at the Republican table in deciding who will face Barack Obama in 2012,” he writes. Another plus: the current crop of those on the GOP’s shortlist for president – Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty – isn’t very strong.
- Palin’s Tea Party speech solidified her position as one of the “top two most powerful politicians on the right,” Erick Erickson writes on conservative blog RedState.com (Sen. Jim DeMint being the other top GOP leader). Yet Palin’s unique skill is being able to appeal to conservatives and independents and to “unite disparate tea party groups and voices,” Erickson writes.
- “Palin's fiery rebuke of Washington certainly firmed her base,” writes NewsWeek’s Daniel Stone, “but it did little to widen her appeal to moderates and independents, two groups without which she’d have a real tough time passing the threshold of electoral votes.” Palin’s polarizing rhetoric (to Obama voters: “How’s that hopey changey thing working out for you”) means that she would never be elected, he writes.
- On Fox News, Palin showed serious improvement on her one-on-one interviewing skills, blogs Henry Blodget for the Business Insider. “Questions that, previously, would have annoyed or stumped her, she now easily deflects and then uses to go on the attack (which she has always been good at),” he writes. “Every sentence is peppered with the buzzwords that send her fans into a tizzy--"conservative," "family," "country," "independent," "elitists," "heartland," "big government."
- Speaking of buzzwords, Time’s Joe Klein takes issue with Palin’s criticism of Obama’s chosen profession, and concludes that Palin’s brand of populism is “almost always a losing theme.” “Obama is a bad Commander-in-Chief because he's a...law professor,” Klein recounts incredulously. His response: that’s “anti-intellectual drivel.”