Hillary Clinton is running for President. Oh, sure, she hasn't announced it yet. But all the signs are there: speeches to certain groups, third-party money-raising apparatus, little hints dropped by Bill Clinton on Twitter. Hillary can play coy, but no one in the Democrat Party believes for a second that she did not walk out of the offices of Secretary of State and right into a campaign meeting.
But what about the other big female name in American politics? No, not Elizabeth Warren. She is going to run with Hillary for the VP job.
We're talking about Sarah Palin.
Ever since John McCain plucked Palin from Alaskan obscurity and thrust her into the spotlight of big league presidential politics, Palin has been the darling of the Tea Party.
Every time Palin turns up at some convention or another or even just on television or radio, speculation starts about whether or not she is running for some office again.
And she always teases it.
When asked if she is running for (fill in the blank), Palin's usual answer is couched as "considering it because people have asked me to."
She has said that she would "never say never” to a presidential run. It depends on what “Americans really, really want in a candidate.”
And now Sarah Palin has flashed that bit of political skin once again, this time before the NRA. Saturday during a Stand And Fight rally at Lucas Oil Stadium, Palin had choice words for anyone who thought guns should not be allowed in schools ("stupid on steroids").
She threw red meat to people who still believe that kids are not allowed to pray in schools -- despite that myth having long been busted (students are free to pray in schools, only administrators may not lead prayer during school hours.)
She said that all liberals are hypocrites.
But her most incendiary line of the evening was about terrorists.
"If I were in charge," Palin said, inserting a pregnant pause for applause from the crowd, "[our enemies] would know that water boarding is how we'd baptize terrorists."
It was shocking enough on the surface of it, with it's linking of water boarding torture with the Christian practice of baptism. But that pause was what she was masterfully playing.
Sarah Palin likes to tease the idea of running for office. She likes to hear the applause of those people who buy tickets and fill seats and like her Facebook rants. But Sarah Palin will never run. Because if Sarah Palin actually put herself on the line again, she would have to answer questions, and not just the "gotcha" questions about policy and what newspapers she reads.
She would be outside the bubble of her fans, and Americans who find her statements like this to be offensive would want her to be called out by a responsible press.
It's a pretty nifty career setup. Wink and hint that you might be, possibly, depending on what "the people" want, thinking about maybe running for something. Then collect speaking fees, write another book, and head back to the safety of a fan club.
Contrast this with Bobby Jindal, a Republican who is making no bones about the fact that he is running. A man who breaks protocol to speak out against the President to further his own political aspirations. Whether you like his approach or not is subjective. He may be preaching to the choir, but he isn't hiding behind it.
Being forced to transcribe Sarah Palin speeches is how we baptize journalists.
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) April 28, 2014
Image via YouTube