From Steve Kornacki at Salon:
The White House campaign ruse ends. If only the myth would too
There are, believe it or not, a few people who seem genuinely surprised by Sarah Palin’s announcement last night that she won’t run for president in 2012.
Reading through the comments section at the online hub for grass-roots Palin activity calls to mind the sorts of exchanges that presumably occurred between Harold Camping’s devotees and their skeptical friends and family members when May 21 came and went. “I can not believe she make all this hype ABOUT NOTHING!!!! She’s in it for the money and I got played!!!” one commenter wrote, while another declared: “Ok People! LISTEN UP!!!!!!!!!! I have been saying for months and months that Palin never even considered running for president.”
The latter take, of course is probably about right. Maybe in the immediate wake of the 2008 election, from which Palin emerged with a (slightly) net favorable score in national polls, she seriously entertained notions of a triumphant campaign for the top job in ’12. But from that point on, virtually everything she said and did turned swing voters against her and alienated her own party.
In the year 2010 alone, the number of Republican voters who said they’d be willing to support Palin for president dropped by 20 points; no other prospective candidate took a hit like that. [...] Today, her favorable rating with Republican voters stands at 44 percent, and with all voters it’s just 22 percent.
This is why it was so hard to take her periodic threats to wage a ’12 campaign seriously.
I wrote a while back that anyone sick of all the press attention Palin continued to receive should hope she decided to run. Why? Because if she put her name on the ballot and finished as an asterisk, it would prove once and for all that the empress had no clothes, and that there was no point in continuing to treat her as an unusually important and influential political leader.
[B]y opting not to run, Palin can keep the illusion alive. Within minutes of issuing her written statement last night, she called in to Mark Levin’s radio show, telling the conservative host that concern for her family played a major role in her decision and vowing to take an active role in the 2012 election at the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial levels. Which, of course, means that instead of ending with her announcement, speculation about Palin will now simply evolve. Look for a parade of stories in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses about which candidate she might support. And look for Palin, just as she did with her White House charade, to milk the interest for all it’s worth, setting herself up as a would-be kingmaker (or queenmaker). Nor will the speculation stop when the primaries are over. Then there will be a new question: What role will she play at the convention — and can [nominee's name here] risk offending Palin’s army by snubbing her? And it will continue like this through the fall, when we’ll hear all about the potentially crucial role Palin could play in firing up the conservative base — or is the GOP nominee afraid that deploying her will alienate swing voters?
And really, that’s just the beginning. November 2012 will come and go, but she’ll still be around. As Ed Kilgore noted last night, she’s still only 47 years old — which means that there will be six more presidential elections after 2012 before she’s as old as John McCain was in 2008. If she’d decided to run now, Palin might have been out of our lives within a few months. Instead, she’ll be with us for years and years to come.
I’m not so sure. I think a lot of her supporters will be pissed off that she didn’t run. Let’s face it–if you’re dumb enough to support that asswipe in the first place and actually give her your hard-earned money, then you were probably too dumb to realize that you were being duped the entire time. However, I think they finally got a glimpse behind the curtain, and they realized that this was a money-making ruse the entire time. Sure, there will be a handful of true believers who must continue to believe, because if they no longer believe, their mental house of cards will collapse. I think that, just like the Teabaggers, Princess’s fan club will have the same numbers of that of an American Idol contestant who came in 6th. In addition, Princess isn’t getting any younger. There will be someone along to replace her, and Faux News won’t be banging down her door to renew her contract. I don’t think they’ve gotten much bang for their buck so far, and I don’t think they’ll be inclined to throw good money after bad. She’ll show up every once in a while in a “Where are they now?” story, but I think this is, as I said in the title, the end of an error. We can only hope.