In the Post-Hillary Political Era, Sarah is Queen

The first to benefit from the Hillary effect, Sarah Palin is asserting her prowess in 2010 like no other female has done in political history. Her politics are not mine, but credit is due. The void created by Hillary's historic presidential run, at a time when Sarah made her own history on the right by being the first Republican female on a national ticket, has been filled by an avalanche of women, several of whom on the right have been encouraged and endorsed by Sarah. That she's leading the Tea Party faction inside the GOP at a time when the Republican brand has crashed works in her favor, no matter what Democrats say. Read John Ellis, everybody else is. Oh, and remember that George W. Bush beat Gore and Kerry. Besides, it's not like the Smart Set in Washington is winning raves.

Andrew Sullivan, perpetual Hillary hater and Palin conspiracy theorist, writes about this today; at least he understands Palin's power, which is more than I can say for most, especially on the left. Interesting that career Hillary hater Chris Matthews gets what's possible for Sarah, too. In the post-Hillary political era, it seems some men have finally awakened.

Sarah Palin is the first to benefit from the Hillary effect, which has caused a ripple in the conservative movement and beyond. Not bad having five governors who have a good shot at winning in November, with Congress certainly to tilt towards Republicans whether Democrats retain control or not. If Meg Whitman wins in California it could become Obama's first nightmare looking to 2012. Call it a slow walk or a steady drum beat that's getting louder, but during 2010 Sarah Palin has shown why her plan to bail on Alaska and turn the heat up in the lower 48 was the best move for her. It's also been very good for Republicans, particularly conservative "mama grizzlies," who are her prime target, along with the military, which has always been the first mention out of her mouth in any event.

In an Iowa poll released last month, Mitt came in at 62% (and is still one to watch), with Sarah at 58%, Newt next, but it's not even begun, with the "mama grizzlies" just getting organized. In South Carolina, Mitt might have given Nikki Haley the nod first, but it was Sarah's star power who brought in the klieg lights to lift her up.

From Politico, though the headline wasn't exactly apt, with the new one giving a nod to "going pro" part of the upgrade. Sarah gets slick is more to the point. But watching the ad there is definitely a higher octane additive.

Palin recognizes the power she wields, and explained to POLITICO in a statement that "sending my own message, minus the media filter, is a valuable way to remind voters that they have great choices in these upcoming mid-term elections."

"The tools I'll use, like this energetic video that showcases commonsense Constitutional conservative women, will highlight a significant movement in our nation as we advance ever closer to what will be historic 2010 elections," Palin said. - Palin goes pro

Most thought the best move was to keep a low profile and study. The "tactical dive into policy" mentioned by Politico is really nothing more than driving the usual cut federal spending message, while saying the obvious about keeping the Pentagon budget up. Sarah has also amped up her profile and her messaging, with policy prowess something she's obviously going to leave to instincts and soundbites she can broadcast through forums filled with "mama grizzlies."

Palin's decision to steer her energy toward electing Republican women has proven wise, said Republican operative Mary Matalin. There is "nothing so powerful as a mother in progeny protection mode," Matalin said, noting that she thought the video was "really great."

"This isn't just another electoral cycle 'mom' constituency," Matalin said. "These moms are bringing their parents, husbands and children along."

[...] Matalin, the longtime GOP strategist, said she was uncertain if Palin's 'Momma Grizzly' image and recent foray into policy was enough to vault her to the presidency.

"I don't think she's there," said Matalin, who has offered some advice to Palin. "But every time this conversation takes place she has advance the ball in her favor."

Nobody's certain about Sarah for the presidency. How could they be. Look what certainty did for Hillary Rodham Clinton. But it hardly matters. The reality is that in 2010 Sarah is shoring up Iowa support, with evangelicals on her side, with Nikki Haley in South Carolina unlikely to bet against her on Mitt; meaning neutrality isn't bad, especially with Tea Party Republicans likely to play a real role in selecting the nominee. Besides, it's not about playing for the certain where Sarah is concerned, it's about playing for the possible, with all options still on the table.

In the post-Hillary political era, women are rising. Sarah's the first to fill that void and her instincts have been dead on since she took to Facebook and wrote about "death panels" taking Democrats off message and igniting the tea partiers, but also when she left Alaska behind to take on 2010. No one knows where she'll end up, especially since Palin hasn't proved she can widen her support beyond her own choir, which she must do to be president.

However, way too many people are forgetting that that doesn't matter in the Republican nomination process. A good portion of primary voters are her choir.

Sarah Palin's just getting started.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and writer out of Washington, D.C.

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