The AP is running a story today that paints the Tea Party movement as being largely ineffective. One Republican consultant characterized them as making a lot of noise, but having no no muscle.
The smarmy little Republican operative who said that may very well wind up eating his words. There is still plenty of time between now and 2012 for a new Ross Perot type candidate to emerge and get in front of this thing.
Perot was largely a creation of the media, starting with Larry King. Half way through the campaign he went nuts and quit, and then re-entered the race. However, people were so angry at H.W Bush that Perot won 19% of the vote anyway.
People are every bit as angry today, starting with W. Bush, Wall Street, the Congress, and now Obama. The Tea Party is a ready made movement for a right-of-center populist candidate to leverage. I think Sarah Palin knows this and is paving the groundwork to make it happen.
Palin was the first GOP leader to endorse the third party congressional candidate in NY23. She has endorsed Rand Paul for Senate in Kentucky over the establishment, neo-con candidate. Her husband used to be a member of the Alaska Independence Party. A couple of weeks ago, she stunned GOP sycophant Sean Hannity by saying that third party conservative candidates are a good thing because: A.) they provide us with more choice and B.) they help keep the GOP candidates in-line. After their disastrous performance under Bush, we all know that the GOP needs to be kept on a short leash. Sure Palin made a campaign appearance with McCain, but this was a political payback for McCain putting her on the ticket in 2008.
The GOP has a nasty habit of letting people have their turn at the Presidential nomination. Reagan lost the 1976 primary but wound up as the candidate in 1980. Bush lost in 1980 but was the candidate in 1988. Dole lost in 1988 but was the candidate in 1996. No serious 1996 contender ran in 2000, but McCain lost in 2000 and he was the candidate in 2008. Everyone knows that it's Romney's turn next. Palin knows this too, which is why I think she is laying the groundwork for an independent campaign in 2012.
Palin may or may not be the best choice. It's still not clear that she has what it takes to go the distance. Who else is there? Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson looks set to run, but he has little national exposure. I like the idea of having a successful business person like Perot in the race. Unfortunately, most high profile technology executives are liberals. We certainly don't want anyone from Wall Street in front of this movement. Donald Trump? He made some noises about running a few years ago, but then bailed out.
So unless someone emerges from the ether over the next year, it's probably Palin or no one. If it's no one, we're going to get stuck with RINO Romney and nothing much will change.