GOP countdown to 2012: Sarah Palin forms a PAC
It's the surest sign yet that Alaska's Republican Gov. Sarah Palin intends at least to be in position for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest.
The creation of such a financial entity commits her to nothing. But such a political action committee will allow Palin to position herself to compete by legally collecting donations to travel and speak on her own behalf. (Iowa is a long snow machine ride from Wasilla, Alaska.)
It also will permit her to raise and distribute campaign donations to like-minded GOP supporters seeking office. That could earn her some valuable political owsies come campaign time in the Hawkeye state with the race now less than 29 months away. (Thank goodness you have blogs such as this to help keep you ready.)
The 44-year-old mother of five and reform candidate faces a gubernatorial reelection campaign next year in Alaska. Or Palin might choose the more dangerous path of a primary challenge for the Alaska Senate seat currently held by Lisa Murkowski, daughter of the GOP ex-governor that Palin unseated in her 2005-2006 reform drive.
Palin was the surprise vice presidential pick of Sen. John McCain of Arizona in last fall's general election campaign. As a video refresher, scroll down or click on the "Read more" line to see Palin speaking. She electrified GOP audiences, especially conservatives and especially at the St. Paul national convention, but stumbled badly later in media interviews. Like GOP President Gerald Ford more than 30 years ago, Palin was mercilessly caricatured on "Saturday Night Live," though Palin's own appearance on the show brought the highest ratings in more than a decade.
Palin's new PAC website went up Tuesday and shows an image of the nation's largest and only Arctic state smack dab in the middle of the lower 48. It offers biographical information, the ability to donate and register for free e-mail newsletters. It says she's "dedicated to building America's future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation."
It adds: "SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all" with healthcare, government reform and education as key goals.
Speaking of renaissance, the Republican National Committee opens its important winter meeting in Washington today with the election for a new party chairman set for Friday. (The field consists of six candidates, including two African Americans and the incumbent, Mike Duncan.)
The winner will be among the most prominent public faces for the GOP as it seeks to rebuild after two consecutive congressional thumpings, not to mention the McCain-Palin defeat by Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The Democratic National Committee has already cleaned house, despite the historic victory, by dumping Vermont's ex-Gov. Howard Dean for current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. He's a hand-picked favorite of Obama, who will have the Spanish-speaking, Roman Catholic Southern lawyer ready as a possible fresh VP partner come 2012, when Joe Biden will be about two weeks shy of 70.
-- Andrew Malcolm