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Don't count Sarah Palin out in 2012

Watch out! Sarah Barracuda is back and she's on the move.

Sarah Palin -- former point guard, governess and vice-presidential candidate -- has written a book ("Going Rogue: An American Life") and is on the road plugging it.

Oprah, Barbwa, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van What's-her-name. No interviewer is safe (with the possible exception of Katie Couric). It's just a book tour, she says. She's not running for anything.


She's running for something. President, that's what she's running for. The smart money says she hasn't got a chance to win even the Republican nomination, but the last time we heard from the smart money it was predicting a landslide -- for Hillary Clinton

I, for one, would never count her out. She may not be the brightest porch light on the block, but when did that ever stop the Republicans from nominating someone?

More importantly, she combines an acute political sense with a bold disregard for the conventional wisdom of the elders of her party. She reminds one not of another politician but of Marshal Foch, the World War I French general, who at the first battle of Marne said:

"My center is giving way, my right is pushed back; situation excellent. I am attacking."

That's our Sarah. Criticism bounces off her like bullets off Superman. Besides, who else in the Republican Party can draw thousands to a rally or sell millions of books?

She's a star, the only one in the Republican firmament. It's more than good looks. She radiates an electric intensity that makes her one of the two most interesting politicians on the scene. The other, Barack Obama, is beginning to look as though he's suffering from a bad case of presidential fatigue. It happens to all of them.

Will the Republicans be able to resist plugging into that kind of energy source? Will she let them resist? The more I think about it, the more I like her chances.

I know, there's not much evidence she can extend her appeal beyond the hardcore right wing of the Republican Party. Even now she's limiting her book tour to smaller cities where she and John McCain did well in 2008. (She kicked it off in Grand Rapids, Mich., of all places.)

But some analysts are saying that 2012 just might be a Republican year. Didn't the party's candidates cream the Democrats in the recent mid-mid-term elections, taking the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia from Democrats? Might not Sarah at the top of the ticket be enough to push the Party to victory in 2012?

Yes and no.

Political analysts get paid to find trends so they find them, even if they have to make them up. Mid-term elections are notoriously a function of local issues. A Republican won in Virginia because it is a Republican state. A Republican won in New Jersey because the Democratic incumbent had worn out his welcome and the economy was in a funk.

So who really knows what the trend is now, and even less what it will be in three years? If the economy picks up it could be a Democratic year; if not, perhaps any Republican could win an election.

I'm rooting for Sarah to get the nomination because she is the most fun you can have in a Republican candidate. I am rooting for a Democratic victory because I'm a patriotic American and she would be a disaster as president.

She has, at the very best, a tangential relationship to truth or facts or ideas. For example, she's still blaming Obama for taking "In God We Trust" off the face of the $1 coin and putting it on the edge.

Actually, a Republican Congress did that and Bush signed it into law. And when she's told that is the case she will still blame Obama, because it sounds good.

It's not so much that she's dumb, it's that she has no interest in being smart. We've just seen that movie.

Minuteman Media and retired Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.