Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Will Palin Do For An Encore In Florida After Giving Newt The South Carolina Lead?

Acknowledged in many, unblinkered and unbiased quarters, and especially by Newt Gingrich himself, as having played a key role in his sudden poll rise in the South Carolina primary, Palin now has to consider  her role in the upcoming Florida primary.

If the same unbiased commentators considered that Palin was a person of influence amongst GOP voters, with her Gingrich endorsement having proved crucial and correct, she is now a colossus amongst pundits. Strategists, the candidates, and the entire political world will be watching her every move and thought regarding Florida.

Palin advised that she was endorsing Gingrich for South Carolina without fully endorsing him for the nomination "if I lived there and had the vote I would vote for Gingrich." 

She said that this, rather unusual, but clever and Palinesque, endorsement, was to ensure that the campaign, and the vetting process, continued. This so that the candidates positions were fully explored and they themselves were basically battle hardened. "Steel sharpens  steel " she advised colloquially.

Palin got her wish, or rather because of Palin's wish the result was as she requested from the voters of South Carolina. This begs the question as to who is now the front runner and who then does Palin endorse for Florida?

If a Gingrich's win in South Carolina is followed by him passing Romney in the Gallup national poll (he has closed the gap but is still ten points behind as of today) and Florida polls turn around and give Newt a big lead, then he will be considered the front runner. 

By the logic I understood from Palin's endorsement of Newt in SC, i.e. that if Romney won the race would be over, and there would be no further chance of vetting etc,
then Palin should endorse Romney in Florida to stop Newt from ending the campaign. If he, Newt, has two straight wins, the campaign could effectively be over, thus shutting off further vetting.

The problem with that scenario is that Todd Palin has fully endorsed Newt, and no matter how many times Sarah advises that Todd "went rogue" with that endorsement, one would have to take such an explanation with a grain of salt. 

When the other shoe dropped with Palin's endorsement for SC, and hardly a word from her praising Mitt, when she has been meticulous in finding good aspects from the other candidates efforts, it seems that Palin has no love for Romney.

Could Palin endorse Gingrich for Florida without committing to him for the nomination? Yes, If she states that Gallup shows that Romney is still out in front, so that  again yes, the campaign needs to continue, and a Gingrich win in Florida would help to keep it alive. 

She could also point out that a loss in Florida would not necessarily derail Romney, as the next primary states up after Florida are considered to be easy wins for him, especially Michigan. Thus it is important that Newt has good results in SC and Florida to ensure he gets past the Romney strength states.

Of course Palin could simply endorse Gingrich fully for the nomination. Whether the mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Palin would do that is anyone's guess. 

There are those who think that Palin is deliberately trying to keep the primary process going so there will be a brokered convention which might turn to her. The leftist pundits/cynics see her backing Gingrich so as to ensure she gets a high ranking position in his cabinet.

Bottom line nobody except the Palin's knows what she will do. The one certain thing is that, after South Carolina, Palin's standing as a pundit, analyst and king maker is unchallenged, and whatever her next move is it will be hugely influential and perhaps decisive. 

The other certainty is that being a Palin watcher is the nearest thing to pure enjoyment one can think of.

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