Palin’s trip to Iowa launches Act II in her flirtation with the White House

DES MOINES, IOWA | Now begins stage two of Sarah Palin’s flirtation with the presidency.

It is possible that Palin’s speech here Friday evening for the annual Iowa GOP Reagan dinner means she is actually serious about a run for the White House. But it seems only Palin, her husband Todd, and maybe one or two aides know what she is thinking.

So after a nearly two year period in which she recovered from the 2008 campaign, wrote two books (one not yet released), formed a political action committee and rehabilitated her image to some degree, Palin’s arrival in the Hawkeye State will be watched closely by the political class, and by Iowa Republicans, for signs of her intentions.

Iowans – who place a premium on personal retail politics – have seen very little of Palin in person. She attended a handful of rallies in the state as a vice presidential candidate in 2008 and came to Sioux City last December on her book tour. So while her speech, which will be televised on C-SPAN, will draw national attention, those who will meet her said they will be watching her for more subtle signals.

“I’m going to be fascinated to see how she interacts with our activists, with our donors,” said a Republican state official, over lattes at Smokey Row Coffee House, just west of downtown.

Palin, 46, will meet backstage before her speech with GOP donors who bought tables at the dinner for $1,000 a piece, and with those who bought “premium seating” with donations of as much as $10,000 or more, a state GOP official said. A few donors are flying in from places like California, Illinois and Ohio to see Palin in person. The crowd will also include GOP campaign workers who earned tickets through volunteer hours in recent weeks.

But one reason why some think Palin’s purpose in all this is to milk the suspense of a possible run for all it’s worth – financially and politically – is that she has done little to establish a presence in Iowa, aside from endorsing and giving money to former Gov. Terry Branstad, who will likely win another term as governor, and giving money to Sen. Chuck Grassley, earlier this year.

“Most of the fairly sophisticated political activists don’t see her as being serious,” said one Iowa GOP political veteran. “I think she is a brilliant marketer, and she has very quickly established herself as essentially the new Phyllis Schlaffly, where if she properly maintains this brand, she’ll have it for another 20 years, and she’ll be very successful financially.”

“So at the end of the day I don’t think she gets in and runs,” said the Republican, who said many in the Party see her as “polarizing” and question whether she has “what it takes.”

“If it was too tough in Alaska, this is a totally different ball game at the national level,” he said, referring to Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska with 17 months left in her first term.

But sentiments like those come largely from Iowan operatives already affiliated with other Republican presidential hopefuls, and will do nothing to dampen speculation and spiraling hype over Palin’s future. Coy comments by Palin at a 9/11 commemoration event last week in Alaska with Fox News’ Glenn Beck, as well as by one of Palin’s closest aides, Rebecca Mansour, in a Daily Beast report Thursday, have only fueled the media buzz.

NEXT: Palin was invited to speak in July 2009 but didn’t accept until late Aug. 2010

  • wodiej

    When Palin speaks, the ignorance and venom exposes itself. Her critics fall for it every time…I love it. If they weren’t concerned about her viability as a candidate for President, her ability to energize voters and the influence she has in getting some Tea Party conservatives nominated, then you would not be here criticizing and trying to diminish her (and failing badly). LOL…

    I also enjoy reading the old tired mantra that she is a quitter when the reason she resigned as Governor was because these very people were filing frivolous, baseless ethics lawsuits because they dropped hundreds of reporters in Alaska and couldn’t find anything crappy to write about her. So they just tried to manufacture something. This was costing Alaska taxpayers and Sarah Palin millions of dollars as well as time keeping them from their responsibilities to Alaska. Hmm….that sounds like principles to me something unrecognizable to most liberals.

    But you keep believing in those fantasies sunshine if that helps you get through the day.

  • riseabove

    “Actually you prefer listening to Tele-bama standing up there lying his ass off, posing as someone with a clue, while you’re drooling all over yourself while chanting “yeth, we can” through your goofy grin.” -truebearing


    OMG!!! I’m laughing so hard it hurts. Stop!!!

    • truebearing

      I’m glad you liked that one. Somehow I don’t think Scorpioboy will like it.

      • scorpioman

        I especially like that Sarah isn’t Vice President or Governor, which proves she’s not much of a politician.

        “I don’t expect much from you, but you could admit the obvious: Palin is the most powerful politician in America.”- truebearing

        falsebearing, considering Sarah helped McCain lose then quit as governor, No I do not think Palin is the most powerful politician in America. Hardly.

        • riseabove

          Just an observation, Scorpio but if I had a brand new Porche and had to choose between having you or truebearing drive it, I wouldn’t hesitate to hand the keys over to him. You, on the other hand, would only stand on the sidelines in envy. Why, because it all boils down to judgement. Anyone who recognizes Sarah Palin’s good heartedness and sincerity has my trust. Likewise, those who insist on knocking her while lauding over Obama even after overwhelming evidence has been presented to arouse deep suspicion about his motives shows very poor judgement of character.

          This kind of stubborn denial phenomenon is nothing new to me. I saw plenty of it in my days of exposing internet fraud. Watching the diehards supporting crooks and criminals was fascinating. Some knew they were being ripped off and still defended them. We called them financial masochists. Some even went so far as to threaten me and those working with me with bodily harm and even death. Who knows, some probably even followed them straight to the hoosegow. They’re probably still sending them money.

          So, Mr. Scorpioman….what should we call people like you? Political masochists?

          • scorpioman

            I like Mr. ScorpioMan. Thanks for the respect. But I’m a rationalist. I expect “ist” name calling when you have no argument. Just keep in mind I reserve my right to respond to you, or not.

            I wouldn’t hand Sarah Palin the keys to either one of my sports cars because I’m a realist. Nobody drives them but me. I certainly wouldn’t consider someone a good driver simply because they’re good-hearted. I would not trust Sarah Palin to drive me around and I do not think her heart is in the right place to be president or a driver. I’ve known too many women like her. Plus, she drove off into an opportunist’s sunset and left Alaska hanging, remember?

            If you’re dead set on calling me an ist word, I’m an artist, a minimalist, a photojournalist, an activist, a cyclist, an environmentalist, even a naked canoeist. Take your pick.

            PS, This is my observation… Your background of exposing internet fraud has nothing to do with me. And… If you had a sports car I wouldn’t ask to drive it. Sports car owners know if you ask that question you’ll quickly get no for an answer.

          • jonavark

            I think just calling them losers will suffice. Angry , bitter, hateful losers. They’re pissed their social experiment isn’t working out and they are lashing out. Calling every Conservative stupid that they set eyes on while losing their grip on power.

            Scorp is a twisted wacko just trying to get attention and people here fall for it too often, rather than just telling him to get lost. TheDC might be a more refreshing place to be if these Huffers were able to actually debate anything.

            But they aren’t smart enough to do that. ALl they con conjure up is the same old tired crap.

            You can’t believe their claims of Palin’s stupidity. Not because Palin is as brilliant as Obama (gasp) but because they have so many undereducated crackheads in their party already. If their concerns were genuine one would think they would deal with those idiots first.

            When they come in here they all look and sound the same. Pink hasn’t been able to construct and entire paragraph yet and Scorpioman, with his many identities is just waiting to tell someone how pretty his legs are.

            Humiliate them at will my friends. They got it comin’

          • riseabove

            When we’re talking about an administration putting policies in place that affect every single facet of our lives then yes, my experience with scammers DOES have to do with anyone with the ability to vote, and that includes you, Mr. Scorpioman. When the pendullum swings wildly to one side causing widespread economic instability and a disruption in political balance then we need to take the weight off of whatever’s driving it into no-man’s land. While you may not be directly involved with the actual fraud or scam, you’re compliciteness and support perpetuates it, and rampant fraud affects all of us.

            You see, two years ago the nation didn’t know what we know today. There’s been enough evidence exposed over the course of the past few months about Obama and his cohort’s radical agenda to prove this is a concerted effort to push us into territory which is contrary to our founding tenets. Policies have been pushed through against the will of the people. This is unlike any other voting process that any of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. This is do or die. So, just like when rabid supporters of scammers do everything in their power to prevent eventual justice from being obtained, the same can be said for those who adamantly refuse to see the obvious with the unpopular and anti-Constitutional direction our country is headed.

            Let go of the pendullum, Sir.