In a stunning development, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate indicated to Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview aired Friday night that she could abandon the GOP for a third party presidential run rather than lead or participate in a Reagan-style revolution against a timid, moderate GOP Establishment.
The shocking news, a Hannity scoop (seen here, here and here) that was taped the previous day and tightly held, was aired on Friday night as all but the most obsessive politicos in both parties were doubtless entertaining themselves in whatever part of the American electoral map they happened to find themselves from Washington to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.
After asking Palin about her meeting with Donald Trump and the possibility of Trump running as a third party candidate in 2012, the topic turned to Palin running as a third party candidate herself. Hannity began by quoting Ronald Reagan's famous words to CPAC in 1975 that what America needed was not a third party but a revitalized second party. To Hannity's surprise, instead of firmly closing the door, as did Reagan, to a third party, Palin answered this way on Trump:
"You know what, a year ago I would have said please don't even consider third party…. I think conditions have changed in this last year…. Well, too many in the GOP are still resistant and resisting that movement of this new crop of common sense conservatives and if they're not careful in the GOP there will be a third party rise up just like back in the day when the Whigs finally went away and Republicans rose up. That is what the GOP should be fearing today…. not that I want to see that… but just the machine that runs the GOP has to be very careful."
When Hannity asked if this would not result in a split anti-Obama vote, Palin acknowledged this would be the case, then added that "if they (the GOP) don't want to see a third party run they better get their stuff together…." She added: "There are quite a few issues that the GOP had better get their stuff together on…"
Hannity realized the import of what she seemed to be saying and insisted on coming back to it after other issues had been discussed. He began again with Trump: "If Donald Trump was running third party would you consider supporting him?"
Palin allowed she still had "hope" that the GOP would stand strong. Then Hannity asked her directly if she herself would consider a run as a third party candidate if she didn't like the GOP candidates.
"I don't foresee that right now."
That's "right now."
Not no. Not no period. Not "I agree with Ronald Reagan and I would never do that." Instead, Palin said: "I don't foresee that right now."
Intentionally or not, that can and surely will be seen by some as leaving an open door to abandoning the Reaganite principle of revitalizing the GOP -- in this case in favor of a Palin third party run.
It's safe to say the battle of 2012 is on.
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