Palin to Lead Tea Party Movement?

A pretty favorable piece from this morning’s New York Times: “Palin, Visible and Vocal, Is Positioned for Variety of Roles.”

But more critically, at Politico, “Palin’s Risky Bid to Lead Tea Party“:

After flirting coyly for months, Sarah Palin this weekend launches an aggressive play to become the leader of the tea party movement, a move with major political upside for the former Alaska governor but also one rife with risk.

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Her positioning could boost her prospects of securing the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, which she is widely believed to be eyeing. And the tea party is a natural fit for Palin, whose populist anti-Washington rhetoric and working mom persona have made her a movement favorite since its grass-roots activists burst onto the scene last year in opposition to the big-spending initiatives of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress.

Palin compared the movement to the American Revolution and the struggle for civil rights, while identifying with its activists, in an op-ed piece this week in USA Today. And her keynote speech Saturday night to a gathering here that bills itself as the first National Tea Party Convention will be followed by appearances at recently announced tea party rallies in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hometown next month and in Boston in April.

But embracing the movement also has a potential downside. Not only could it drag her into the controversies and in-fighting that have swirled around the movement; it also could further alienate the independents and Democrats who were left with a sour taste from her 2008 GOP vice presidential campaign. And the chaotic collection of local groups that make up the movement may not accept her – or anyone else – as a leader anyway.

Read the whole thing (here).

When you get further down it’s clear (again) that a centralized tea party leadership is not really possible. Sarah Palin can best be considered as the movement’s premier activist. She identifies with the goals of limited government and she walks the walk of those in the grassroots. Palin won’t make everyone happy. But so far she’s done nothing that would damage her brand. In fact, I remain convinced that all the jockeying she’s been doing, following the very successful book tour promotion, has been to further solidify her credentials as a savvy political operative with high-powered potential for a run at the 2012 GOP nomination.

I’m looking forward to the speech. Don’t forget to get registered at PJTV for the live feed.

RELATED: At the New York Times, “Tea Party Looks to Move From Fringe to Force.” (Via Memeorandum.)

Cross-posted from American Power.

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