TIMOTHY NOAH OCTOBER 11, 2011
Now that Chris Christie has plighted his troth to Mitt Romney, who will Sarah Palin endorse? According to The Hill, husband Todd has been fielding requests from the GOP presidential hopefuls. "I look forward to working with them in order to help them maybe articulate their message in more detail," La Palin said on Fox, "so we can make that best decision."
Palin may find it difficult to locate a candidate she hasn't already insulted. Rick Santorum says he wants Palin's endorsement even though she called him a "knuckle-dragging Neanderthal." (Maybe Santorum took that as a compliment.) She called Rick Perry a crony capitalist and Herman Cain "the flavor of the week," in the process, my onetime New Republic boss Rick Hertzberg suspects, confusing him with the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. And Mitt Romney isn't her type at all. She knocked his reluctance to comment on the debt ceiling ("He waited until it was a done deal," she said, waving her finger in the air). Newt Gingrich she swatted for knuckling under to the "lamestream media," possibly in retaliation for his having advised condescendingly (but not incorrectly) that she ought to "slow down and be more careful and think through what she's saying and how she's saying it." Then there's the famous (though possibly media-invented) Palin-Bachmann rivalry. I doubt she much liked it when Michele Bachmann's campaign manager, Ed Rollins, said in June, "Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years." Palin's PAC chief of staff blasted back that Rollins "has a long, long track record of taking high profile jobs and promptly sticking his foot in his mouth." Bachmann herself insulted Palin more subtly by insinuating while not flat-out saying that she had way more experience.
But I'm not aware that Palin has ever dumped on Bachmann. And last month Rollins abruptly left the Bachmann campaign and turned his fire on Bachmann, so now the two women have a common enemy. Lately Palin's been saying nice things about Bachmann. But would Palin endorse someone whose campaign is so obviously heading south? Palin last week was suddenly complimentary about Cain, saying, "He has the business acumen. He's pulled himself up from [sic.] the bootstraps. That's the American story that so many of us are intrigued with and impressed with." But I think probably she had it right the first time about Cain (if not Caen). If she wants to endorse him, she probably knows she'd better do it very soon.
Alternatively, she might just bask in the attention from the candidates and then not endorse anybody. That would approximate how she ran for president (and also, come to think of it, how she governed, or rather decided not to govern, Alaska). So don't hold your breath.