On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh addressed Sarah Palin’s resignation as Alaska governor, and expressed concern that Palin leave the GOP to start her own third party. Limbaugh said, “But one thing that does slightly worry me about this is this whole third-party business. Yeah, it’s remote but it’s still a possibility out there…”
Limbaugh said that he isn’t sure what Palin is going to do, “Now, I have no clue what she’s going to do. I don’t know anybody who does besides her. We got a Washington Post story that says she’s going to go out and campaign for conservative Democrats. When I watched her speech when she announced she was going to leave the governorship of Alaska, I didn’t hear the word Republican mentioned once.”
He did make the valid point that she has been beaten up by a lot of Republicans for her decision, “If I’m Sarah Palin and I’m conservative, the Republican Party’s been just as mean-spirited to her as the Democrats have. A lot of them have. A lot of Republican Party, a lot of the so-called conservative media have been. I don’t know if she’s going to campaign for conservative Democrats but if she believes that conservatism is the way to go.”
Rush then worried about the potential of Palin and a third party, “But one thing that does slightly worry me about this is this whole third-party business. Yeah, it’s remote but it’s still a possibility out there, and there are a lot of people pushing a third party, and that’s…Third parties, they lose. They just lose. Third parties never end up with a congressional or Senate candidate winning. It’s not the way to go but we’ll save that for later if that actually begins to transpire, or we see it beginning to transpire.”
From a practical point of view, Sarah Palin is much too polarizing to be the centerpiece of a new third party. Her base of support isn’t big enough to for her to be able to stand on her own. Colin Powell is the kind of Republican that a third party could be built around. Sarah Palin is not. However, if a conservative third party did emerge, regardless of its success, it would not only split, but probably destroy the Republican Party.
In terms of politics, Palin needs the Republican Party. She has no organization to speak of, and she doesn’t have the money to build a national organization. She needs what the GOP can offer, and the party needs her ability to motivate the base and raise money. The fact that Limbaugh even discussed this demonstrates that Palin’s inconsistent behavior makes it hard for the Republican Party to depend on her.
The odds of Palin actually supporting any conservative Democrats are small. The odds of her leaving the Republican Party are even smaller. This being said, if someone came to Palin and showed her that she could run, and be successful without the Republican Party, she probably would consider it, but right now, Palin and the GOP both need each other, so I suspect that their at times uncomfortable marriage will continue.