If Sarah Palin fails to win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 (or declines to try), will she consider mounting a third-party bid? I don't know and, at this point, neither does she. And it seems awfully unlikely for all the obvious reasons. Which only serves to make it that much more surprising that she seemed so open to the idea in an interview with Lars Larson on Friday:

Larson: If you run again for something, whatever it is, would you run as a third-party candidate?

Palin: That depends on how things go in the next couple of years.

Larson: That sounds like a yes.

Palin: Well, you know, it really does depend. I think there are enough Republicans who are realizing, oh, whoops, some of those liberal Republicans have screwed up.... If the Republican party gets back to that base [of common-sense conservatism], I think our party's going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party. But I'll play that by ear in these coming months and coming years.

It's hardly what you'd call an airtight pledge to stick with the party in the event that it--to throw out a random hypothetical--chose to nominate an until recently pro-choice, moderate, former blue-state governor who pushed through a health-care reform awfully similar to Barack Obama's.

A third-party Palin run still seems like a distant possibility, but no more distant than her quitting the Alaska governorship in the middle of her term seemed just a day before she did it. And it's worth remembering that a) she won that office by running as an outsider against the GOP establishment, and b) she has a history of turning on former mentors and allies that long precedes her current score-settling with the McCain campaign.

(via The Fix)