Both The New York Times and Politico have stories today previewing conservatives' plans to meet shortly after the election to chart the movement's course over the next few years. One of the likely topics, both reports say, is Sarah Palin's future--which looks bright from the perspective of these activists. In fact, it sounds like the meeting could provide the beginning of a campaign and fundraising apparatus for a future presidential run. Here's the Times:
“She’s dynamite,” said Morton C. Blackwell, who was President Ronald Reagan’s liaison to the conservative movement. Mr. Blackwell described vying to get close to Ms. Palin at a fund-raiser in Virginia, lamenting that he could get only within four feet.
“I made a major effort to position myself at this reception,” he said, adding that he is eager to sit down with her after the election to discuss the future. Asked if the weeks of unflattering revelations and damaging interviews had tarnished her among conservatives, he replied, “Not a bit.”
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative group, called it a “top order of business” to determine Ms. Palin’s future role. “Conservatives have been looking for leadership, and she has proven that she can electrify the grass roots like few people have in the last 20 years,” Mr. Bozell said. “No matter what she decides to do, there will be a small mother lode of financial support behind her.”
In my back-and-forth last week with Jon Chait, I cited infrastructure as one potential problem for Palin in 2012. That now looks a little pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on your point of view). So cross that off my list and focus on the other four reasons she won't be the party's nominee in 2012. I still don't see it happening, but having money and organization behind her should ensure that she brings some potentially promising Republicans down with her. I can't wait.
In other good news for Democrats, the Politico piece also includes this tidbit:
"There's a sense that the Republican Party is broken, but the conservative movement is not," said this source, suggesting that it was the betrayal of some conservative principles by Bush and congressional leaders that led to the party's decline. ...
Few believe that the Republican party will respond to another brutal election by following a path of moderation, but conservatives are deeply dispirited and anxious to reassert the core values they believe have not always been followed by Bush, congressional leaders and their party’s presidential nominee. Many on the right, both elites and the rank-and-file, see a rudderless party that is in dire need of new blood and old principles: small government, a robust national security and unapologetic social conservatism.
Great--have at it, guys!