Sarah Palin is advising Democrats to mount a primary challenge to President Obama in 2012, joining Dick Cheney and Ralph Nader as humble outside advisers with only the best interests of the Democratic Party at heart. Just kidding -- Nader wants to stay famous, Cheney wants to control the historical narrative of his controversial tenure as vice-president, and Palin wants people to at least think she's still running for president.
On Fox News Tuesday, Palin told Sean Hannity, "More and more Democrats are going to realize that if they want to retain the Democrat control of the White House they’re going to have to put somebody up in the primary against Obama." Palin's advice echoes Cheney's, who earlier this month urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run against her boss in 2012. "So far, she hasn't said she would, but I think it's not a bad idea," Cheney told ABC News. "And frankly, I thought she was gonna win the nomination last time around. Maybe if the Obama record is bad enough -- and these days it's not very good, given the shape of the economy -- maybe there will be enough ferment in the Democratic Party so that there will be a primary on their side." (Clinton responded that the chances she'd run against Obama are "below zero.")
Nader, meanwhile, is calling for a handful of Democrats to run against Obama -- not to beat him, but just to attack him for not living up to progressive ideals, which Nader says will somehow rally the base to his side in the general election. He also said Palin would make a good addition to the presidential race because she's started to rail against "crony capitalism" -- sounding like an anti-corporatists, Nader says, as in sounding like Nader.
And Palin reiterated those talking points Tuesday, saying the election would be about ousting people who'd "followedl ike sheep" behind Obama and his "crony capitalism and corporate welfare." Though she admitted time is running out before she runs into the first deadline to get on a primary ballot on October 31, of the current Republican lineup, Palin told Hanity, "I think people are still going to be coming and going because there is still time, and I’m still one of those still considering." When Hannity asked her thoughts on the current "top three" -- Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann, Palin flinched ever so slightly. "Ron Paul may be in front of Michele Bachmann, according to certain polls. Shoot, I’ve seen my own name up there in the top three."
Modestly, Palin granted, "I dont know how legitimate the poll is that I just looked at that said that" -- but notice she said she "just looked at" the poll -- as if it were a current one, not the polls six months ago that put her on top. A new poll from McClatchy-Marist shows Palin 5 points behind Obama in a general election -- after polling 20 points behind him earlier this year. Pollsters attributed the decline to Obama's falling support among independents. As CNN's Paul Steinhauser notes, "The poll indicates that Palin now leads the president among crucial independent voters." Still, he adds, "By a 72 to 24 percent margin, Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP do not want Palin to run for the White House."
Meanwhile, Obama still sees Palin as a helpful fundraising tool, Politico's Alexander Burns notes. He told fundraisers in New York Tuesday night, "All that 'hopey changey stuff,' as they say? That was real."