It's looking like Mitt Romney might name his VP pick pretty soon, which is probably a good idea given that the release of the pick will result in a few days of positive coverage when the news media is consumed with something other than what Bain Capital did when, or what juicy nuggets might be contained within Romney's hidden tax returns. But there's a downside: once we do get to the Republican convention, the VP nominee will be old news, so the media can pay much more attention to intra-party squabbling. And nobody likes a good squabble more than Sarah Palin. Remember her?
The Romney camp will not comment on Palin, or on plans for the convention, but one adviser associated with the campaign suggested that Palin would be prohibited from speaking at the Republican convention by her contract with Fox News. "It's true I'm prohibited from doing some things," Palin says, "but this is the first I've heard anyone suggest that as an excuse, er, reason to stay away from engaging in the presidential race. I'm quite confident Fox's top brass would never strip anyone of their First Amendment rights in this regard." (Fox says her contract would not prohibit speaking at the convention if she sought permission.)
Palin is keeping the dates open in late August, just in case. In any event, she says, she plans to be politically active between now and November, starting with a Michigan Tea Party appearance, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. "No matter the Romney campaign strategy," she says, "I intend to do all I can to join others in motivating the grassroots made up of independents and constitutional conservatives who can replace Barack Obama at the ballot box."
So here's the dilemma. If Romney doesn't let Palin speak at the convention, we get all kinds of stories about pissed off Tea Partiers denouncing Romney for forsaking their Saint Joan of the Tundra, Fox sends her there anyway so she's just hanging around, and she steals a not insignificant portion of Romney's thunder. But if he does let her speak, the American public gets reminded that the Republican party is dominated by a bunch of paranoid extremist know-nothings, and Romney looks weak for giving in to them.
Right now, Romney and his advisors are trying to figure out if they can send her on an urgent four-month diplomatic mission to the Arctic Circle. The trouble with Sarah Palin is that nobody tells her what to do. I can't wait for her to run for president in four years.
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