Sarah Palin announced today that she won’t be running for President in 2012. Palin said that her family comes first and added that, by not being a candidate, she would be “unshackled” and could be “even more active.” I’m not surprised by her decision. She makes a lot of money and has a lot of freedom in her current role as Fox News contributor, author, and conservative gadfly. Why give that up?
I imagine that every Republican candidate for President breathed a sigh of relief, too. Palin is probably the most polarizing American political figure that has existed during my lifetime; I don’t think anyone else even comes close. People either love her and view her as the modern savior of traditional American values, or hate her with a deadly passion and consider her to be a mean-spirited, blithering idiot. I’m sure the other Republicans think that the last thing they need is Sarah Palin saying provocative things during debates and campaign experiences and energizing the Democrats and independents who might otherwise vote against President Obama or just stay home. (Of course, the eventual Republican nominee will be perfectly happy to accept any fundraising help that Palin can provide during the campaign.)
With Palin’s announcement, and Chris Christie’s recent reaffirmation that he will not be a candidate, the gym doors seem to be closed and the sock hop lineup is set. Republicans will now take a closer look at the field as they try to decide who they want for a dance partner.