Tales from the Trail

Will she? Won’t she? Still reading the tea leaves…

USA/Is Sarah Palin getting the kind of press that makes for viable presidential campaigns? Maybe not, and her critics appear to be increasingly of a conservative stripe.

The Mama of Mama Grizzlies proved to be a fierce campaigner on the 2010 midterm election trail, and she continues to command an army of devoted supporters, particularly among members of the Tea Party movement.

But winning the White House requires an ability to attract many, many independent voters. And two months after the Arizona shootings, and her use of the charged term “blood libel” against critics of her gun-toting rhetoric, Palin seems to be having trouble convincing influential conservatives to take her seriously as a seaworthy candidate.

“She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition,” says the headline of a  POLITICO article that identifies the Republican 2008 vice presidential nominee with a politics of grievance and group identity that betrays conservative principles. And who are these critics? Conservative columnist George Will… former Bush strategist Peter Wehner… Manhattan Institute analyst Heather Mac Donald

Not exactly the Lamestream Media.

Then there’s Fox News jefe Roger Ailes. According to New York Magazine, Palin sought Ailes’ advice after the January shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords unleashed a deluge of criticism over her use of rifle cross-hairs to identify vulnerable Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’, on a 2010 campaign map.

Trump accepts high marks for CPAC

USA-POLITICS/Donald Trump went to CPAC this week and aced his performance as a prospective White House Wannabe. Any doubts? Just ask him.

“I tell the truth. I tell it like it is, and people understand what I’m saying, and the place did go crazy,” The Donald tells MSNBC’s Morning Joe today.  ”That’s what I said in the speech. And that’s why I got 10 standing ovations.”

Remarks like that, taken out of context, might sound like the words of a talking ego.

As GOP regroups on healthcare, new poll questions its priority

USA-HEALTHCARE/The new House Republican majority may be about to do what President Barack Obama did a year ago — assign the top priority to healthcare at a time when Americans really really want action on the economy and jobs.

That’s what a new Gallup poll suggests. Pollsters found that a clear majority of U.S. adults (52 perecent) think it is “extremely important” for Congress and Obama to focus on the economy in the new year. Next in importance come unemployment (47 percent), the federal budget deficit (44 percent), and government corruption (44 percent).

Healthcare and education are tied at 40 percent. But when Gallup looked more broadly at what people said USA/were either “extremely important” or ”very important,” education edged ahead of healthcare.

Will she? Won’t she? Palin’s still a maybe

OBAMA/Republican celebrity, best-selling author, reality TV star and self-proclaimed mama grizzly Sarah Palin is thinking about adding another title to her ever-growing resume: U.S. president.

Not exactly news, except that the forthcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine says she’s now thinking seriously, right down to the need for new advisers and the means to prove herself on the issues.

Palin, whose titles also include 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, acknowledges that much in an interview with the magazine, according to a preview published by Politico.

Gingrich once again at head of Republican pack

Once, a first-term Democratic president failed to deliver on healthcare reform and found his party USA-POLITICS/swept from office by a wave of voter anger that brought Republican Newt Gingrich to the forefront of American politics. Could this history lesson from the Clinton era be repeated?

Healthcare reform is stalled, voters are angry and Gingrich — who rose to prominence as House speaker after Republicans won Congress in 1994 — is again leading the pack, this time among  potential White House hopefuls for 2012.

The Washington-based political news outlet, Politico, says Gingrich’s political action committee is raising money far faster than those of 2008 campaign veterans including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.