Let me finish tonight with June 6th, D-Day. The Republican campaign has hit the beach. A week from now the candidates – six of them – face off in the first real debate of 2012. Here's what I thinks going on in the inside.
Sarah Palin – What's she doing? Instead of running for president she's playing Tammany Hall political boss. Her agenda? Knock off Mitt Romney. She's got real problems with him. One, she doesn't want him to win, not Mitt Romney, not him running the country for eight years. I can give you several reasons. You can list them yourself. Look at his background. Look at hers. Do you really think he's her kind of Republican?
She showed a bit of this attitude last week going to New Hampshire and big-footing Mitt on his press coverage –knocked him right out of the ballpark. That bus of hers rolled right over his chili fest.
Second on her agenda – knock off Michele Bachmann. The Congresswoman from Minnesota is getting in the race, showing up for next Monday's first big debate. She's a real-life candidate and Sarah wants her on the scope. This is roller-rink politics. Palin is out to knock both Mitt and Bachman off the course.
Here's how she does it –she backs the alternative to Romney in the regular Republican Party - Tim Pawlenty, the ex-governor of Minnesota - who happens to be the active alternative to Bachman among the religious right-tea party factions.
This is where it gets intriguing, even fascinating. Can someone with Palin's chops go out there and work this thing for Pawlenty, someone so obviously without those chops? Can she put a tiger in this guy's tank? Better yet, can she "be" that tiger?
This is wild. If Palin pulls it off, Pawlenty of Minnesota can win the caucuses in its southern neighbor Iowa. He can go on and win among her fellow evangelists in South Carolina, starting a long, hard campaign against the deep-pocketed Romney right across the country. It would be Romney-Pawlenty or Pawlently-Romney onward to the national convention in Tampa.
If Palin fails to light up Pawlenty in Iowa and Bachmann wins out there, then Bachmann goes to New Hampshire good enough to make a decent showing then head down to South Carolina and wins there, setting up a Romney vs. Bachmann race all the way to Tampa.
This is how it looks on the Republican side right now as we approach the first debate. I'm counting on the debate to make the difference. If Bachman can do well, if she can be a star in the big candidate nights like next Monday, she will be the one to watch. If not, bet on Palin working her magic and knocking off, first Bachmann, and then Romney.
I don't think the Republican Party can nominate anyone to the left of Pawlenty. That leaves it to him or Bachmann, another way of saying Palin or Bachmann.