Sarah Palin’s done it again! The most unpredictable, independent-thinking politician in generations has “turned her back on the GOP” by endorsing the Conservative Party candidate in upstate New York’s special congressional election. Declaring the pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava no different than the Democratic candidate, Palin wrote on her Facebook page last night that Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman is really the one who “stands for the principles that all Republicans should share.” But the fact is that this move, despite seeming mavericky on its face, just isn’t.
Enthusiasm for Scozzafava’s candidacy among Republicans is noticeably lacking, and plenty of influential groups and high-profile names have already declared their support for Hoffman. But more to the point, while bucking the official party establishment (the one that, you know, wants to actually win sometimes in the Northeast), Palin is also ingratiating herself to the party’s base, the one that will make or break her chances of ever becoming the Republican nominee for president. To wit, when rumored 2012 candidate Newt Gingrich announced his support for Scozzafava last week, the conservative blogs went ballistic. RedState editor Erik Erickson posted, and later deleted, an item with the headline, “Today Newt Gingrich Takes Himself Out of the 2012 Running.” Michelle Malkin suggested Gingrich go “his own way” with Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi. Yes, we’re talking about Newt Gingrich. So while we’re sure Palin really does support Hoffman for the reasons she claims, she’s probably also doing it to protect her own political future. Which is fine — but it doesn’t make her a maverick.