Sarah Palin to replace Michael Steele at RNC? Don't hold your breath.
A national tea party group wants Sarah Palin to replace Michael Steele as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. The former governor and current reality TV star says thanks, but no thanks.
Atlanta — It isn't that Sarah Palin is too busy shooting caribou, as she did in a recent episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska," but chances aren't great that the former Alaska governor will take up the call by a national tea party group to replace Michael Steele as the head of the Republican National Committee.
Mr. Steele, despite overseeing one of the greatest Republican comebacks in history last month, is facing a tough fight to retain his seat amid criticism of inappropriate spending sprees and waning influence of the RNC as a central organization.
In that light, Judson Phillips, head of the Tea Party Nation group, writes in a letter to Palin that she'd be just the elixir to set the national party straight, raise more money for candidates, and focus its philosophy on the small government, low taxes tea party line.
In Mr. Phillips' view, the RNC needs a Sarah-quake, if you will, to counteract not just Democrats, but so-called RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only, who he says dominate the RNC.
So far, Wisconsin GOP chair Reince Priebus, former Michigan party chair Saul Anuzis, and former Missouri chair Ann Wager are vying to unseat Steele, who is by most accounts going to run for another term.
Ironically, Palin and her tea party mates have played a role as the RNC's first black chairman has struggled to marshal a withering donor base. Privately raised tea party "money bombs" played an outsize role in a 2010 election fueled by an anti-establishment mood that favored Republicans – a mood at least in part embodied by Palin.
Direct donations to Republican candidates and political action committees skyrocketed before this year's midterms, meaning the RNC had to spend more to raise fewer dollars, wrote former RNC political director Gentry Collins in a leaked resignation letter. The RNC is currently holding more debt than cash.
Moreover, given that much of the tea party movement is just as peeved at the Republican establishment as at national Democrats like Obama, a Palin-led RNC could become a distracting study in schizophrenia, since Palin is, in some ways, already at war with party stalwarts she calls "blue bloods."
Besides, gladhanding and intraparty politics probably don't seem that appealing to someone whose idea of a good time is snaring salmon and tweaking the public debate via Twitter and from her commentator's perch at Fox News.
"I respect the desire to have someone in charge of the RNC who understands the wishes of the conservative grassroots and understands that power resides with the people and not the vested interests in D.C.," Palin told ABC News today, in response to the tea party letter. "However, the primary role of the RNC chair seems [to] be that of fundraiser-in-chief, and there are others who would probably be much more comfortable asking people for money than I would be, and they would definitely enjoy it more."
Palin, of course, has hinted that she may be running for a slightly more influential job in the near future.