By Gary P Jackson
Scott Conroy at RealClearPolitics has the scoop:
In the latest indication that her sights are still set on a presidential run, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has accepted an invitation to keynote a Tea Party rally in Waukee, Iowa, on Sept. 3, RealClearPolitics has learned.
The Labor Day weekend visit to the nation's first voting state comes after Palin indicated during an appearance on Fox News earlier this month that she would make her decision about whether to launch a campaign in August or September.
All signs now point to September as the month when Palin would throw her hat into the ring, as logistical concerns ranging from fundraising to getting her name on the ballot in various states would likely preclude further delay.
Many prominent political analysts and Republican operatives have expressed skepticism that Palin is seriously considering a presidential bid, since she has not taken many of the steps that candidates traditionally take before jumping into the race, such as signing early-state consultants, contacting key powerbrokers and boosting their travel schedules.
But Palin has a long history of shunning the Republican Party machinery and taking an unconventional approach to campaigns -- a mind-set that appears to have been in play throughout the past several months.
Palin's latest appearance in Iowa will come just two days after "The Undefeated," a documentary film spotlighting her accomplishments in Alaska, will be released on Pay-Per-View and video-on-demand. In the film, Palin is portrayed as a continual thorn in the Republican establishment's side. And it is the GOP, rather than the Democratic Party, that garners the better part of the movie's scorn.
If Palin were to announce a White House run, the theme of her campaign would almost certainly focus on resisting the ingrained political culture and what she sees as being wrong with the status quo, and much of the Republican Party itself, in addition to continuing to offer one of the most strident contrasts to President Obama's policies.
The outdoor rally on the first Saturday in September will take place at a field in Waukee, located just outside of Des Moines, and will be hosted by the Tea Party of America -- an Iowa-based political action committee that was founded in May.
The midday affair will be the new group's kickoff event and is sure to generate a large crowd and massive media attention.
One of the Tea Party of America's co-founders, Charlie Gruschow, had previously founded the Des Moines Tea Party before splintering off to start a new group with some like-minded colleagues.
Gruschow praised the work of a highly motivated group of volunteers who have been setting the groundwork in Iowa for a Palin campaign, which almost all of them deem to be inevitable.
"I can only surmise that she's very, very popular here," Gruschow said of Palin's level of support among Republican caucus-goers in Iowa. "And it didn't hurt at all when she introduced her movie in Pella. The feedback I've gotten was it was an awesome movie, and there are more people becoming more endeared to her."
Palin has been relatively quiet over the past month, as she has retreated to Alaska to immerse herself in policy and to strategize with her husband, Todd, and top advisers about how a potential campaign would work.
SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee, has not hired a pollster or a media consultant, and Palin appears to have little interest in doing so, although the addition of a national press secretary may soon be on the horizon.
The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee will not be on the ballot at next month's Ames Straw Poll, which could winnow the GOP field just as Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to enter the race sometime in August.
We've been saying for some time that after Labor Day is the ideal time to get serious about this thing. That's when the majority of the American people will start paying attention to presidential politics. Right now the only ones really paying attention are the political junkies and the media, who are desperate for anything to fill the 24 hour a day news cycle.
We know Organize4Palin has put together a ground game in Iowa that is miles ahead of anyone else. These volunteers have been in Iowa for almost a year now.
As Conroy points out, Sarah Palin has never run a conventional campaign. She is one of the best retail politicians she is, and loves taking her case directly to the people. She turned the Ruling Class on it's head in Alaska by doing this.
We're looking at new polls that show once Sarah Palin enters the race, she will be in a dead heat with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry for the nomination. The rest of the field becomes quite irrelevant. We are confident Sarah will be able to show that her record is superior to the rest, and that she has the right plan to get America back on track.
As director Stephen Bannon pointed out in an interview we covered here: "What Sarah Palin did as Governor in Alaska is a Harvard Business School case study in turnarounds"
The rest will have a hard time measuring up to this standard, that's for certain.