Sarah Palin Trying To Claim Ronald Reagan’s Legacy
In yet another sign that she is moving toward a decision on running for President, Sarah Palin is now starting to compare herself to the President that most conservative Republicans have idolized:
Speaking to a group of well-connected Republicans at a private dinner in Florida this week, Sarah Palin implicitly addressed questions about her own electability by noting that critics also said Ronald Reagan couldn’t win in 1980, three attendees told POLITICO.
Palin, at an event organized by the conservative magazine Newsmax, told the right-wing crowd that those who don’t have the same convictions will always say a true conservative can’t win.
Pointing out that the knock on Reagan was that he was also too far to the right, the former Alaska governor repeatedly invoked the 40th president and conservative icon, at one point citing the quotation he was most fond of: that America is a “shining city on a hill.”
“I think she sees herself as heir to Reagan,” said one attendee.
Her invoking of the Gipper at a closed-door gathering illustrates that Palin is, at the very least, thinking through how she’d make her case if she pursued the presidency. And combined with the recent revelation of an e-mail her husband, Todd, sent to Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller excoriating him for not saying Palin was qualified to be president, her private comments make clear that the 2008 vice-presidential candidate wants other Republicans to take her seriously as a White House prospect.
Even though she didn’t openly discuss her intentions, the possibility of a Palin run was discussed by many in the room.
“I was surprised about how many people in room said ‘yes’ when I asked if they could see themselves supporting her,” said one attendee. “I was expecting to hear what you mostly hear — ‘I hope she doesn’t do it’ or, ‘She’s more effective doing what she’s doing.’”
The gathering, first reported by US News & World Report, was described as a “get-acquainted” session by an attendee and was held in conjunction with a video interview Palin did with Newsmax, set to air next week. The evening began with a reception and dinner and was followed by Palin speaking and taking questions.
High-profile guests included Reed, Michael Reagan, Grover Norquist, Dick Morris, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and such donors as former GOPAC Chair Gay Gaines, businessman Lee Hanley and former Reagan Ambassador to Switzerland Faith Whittlesey.
This isn’t the first time that Palin has tried to tie her name to the legacy of conservative Republicanism’s most visible icon, and it’s unlikely to be the last. One persistent rumor that has been floating around the blogophere since early July, in fact, says that Palin will announce her candidacy for the Presidency on February 6, 2011, the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth, perhaps at his birthplace in Tampico, Illinois. While that seems unlikely — there’s no reason, after all, for Palin to announce that early — the idea that she would try to tie her campaign to Reagan is not at all far-fetched, even though when you actually look at his record in 1980 (or 1976) compared to hers it becomes very clear that Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan.
The other significant part of this story is in the last paragraph quoted above. Why would Sarah Palin be meeting with high powered Republican donors unless she was preparing to run for President ?