Could A Palin Presidential Bid Rewrite The Campaign Rulebook?
Karl Rove, the former strategist for George W. Bush, said Sunday he thinks the odds favor a Palin run.
"Her campaign, if it is a campaign, just truly baffles me," says Republican strategist Eric Woolson, who managed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's Iowa campaign in 2008 and worked on former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's 2012 bid until his recent withdrawal from the race. "She's not doing interviews; she really doesn't have the infrastructure around her that she would have typically set up by this point of the game... All of us would say, gosh, she should have had that infrastructure in place two years ago."
Palin herself has said on multiple occasions that any campaign she might run would like unlike that of an establishment candidate.
"Each campaign that I have ever run in these 20 years of elective office have been kind of unconventional, right, Todd?" Palin told reporters at the Iowa state fair. "We've always been outspent, two-to-one, five-to-one, ten-to-one. Never won any polls heading into election night. But usually won the election. So it would be unconventional and very grass roots."
"And I wouldn't be out there looking for hires out of that political bubble that seemed to result in the same old ideas, the same old talking points, the things that Americans get so sick and tired of hearing and kind of suffering through," she added. "We want new energy, we want conviction and passion and candidness."
If Palin's recent activities are indeed part of some larger "unconventional" campaign strategy, Woolson says she could potentially rewrite the rulebook on how politicians run for president.
"We're always fighting this war based on the last war," Woolson says. "I think one of the lessons with Governor Pawlenty [was that] this isn't the kind of year where somebody with his resume of experiences and results ... is what voters are looking for."
"This year just seems so different than any other year," he added. "It's certainly the strangest year that I've seen in quite some time."
The relative success thus far of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a two-term Minnesota congresswoman, seems to speak to his point: A staunch conservative with deep religious ties and relatively little experience on the national stage, Bachmann quickly outpaced more mainstream candidates like Pawlenty, who withdrew in August after failing to gain significant traction at the Iowa straw poll. Many attributed Pawlenty's failure not to his record but to what was widely perceived as a lack of charisma.
Conversely, some think that Palin's star power, mixed with her savvy in new media and grassroots networking, could give her the leverage she needs to run a viable - if unorthodox -campaign.
"She's got a knack for drawing attention to herself and getting terrific amount of media coverage," Woolson says. "If that spotlight is somewhere else, I think she just has a real ability to be able to draw the media and voters' attention back to her again."