There is a great line in "Godfather III" where the businessman/mob boss Don Lucchesi says, "Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger." In politics, timing is everything. And for Sarah Palin, the hammer is cocked, the round is chambered, and she appears ready to make the decision on whether or not to drop the hammer and launch her campaign:
Sarah Palin has left Iowa, her "One Nation" bus tour stopping in Saturday at the birthplace of Ronald Reagan in Dixon, Ill., but looking back on her whirlwind visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday, and some comments she made in response to reporters, it seems she is not just stringing her indecision out for fun and fame. She appears to be weighing her options and believes that the rules of timing and engagement do not apply to her.
"Each campaign that I have ever run in these 20 years of elective office have been kind of unconventional, right, Todd? We've always been outspent, two-to-one, five-to-one, 10-to-one. Never won any polls heading into election night. But usually won the election. So it would be unconventional and very grass roots."
Palin, who has a small, far-flung staff, some of whom are not experienced in national politics, added, "And I wouldn't be out there looking for hires out of that political bubble that seemed to result in the same old ideas, the same old talking points, the things that Americans get so sick and tired of hearing and kind of suffering through. We want new energy, we want conviction and passion and candidness."
Those who say she has already waited too long, or that she must enter the race soon, fail to appreciate the nature of the Palin phenomena. Love her or hate her, she is a force to be reckoned with - a physical and psychic presence for a large minority of GOP voters who are ready to spring into action if - or when - she declares. Other candidates ignore this tremendous pent up energy at their own peril.
It is possible she is waiting to see what happens after the dust settles from Perry's announcement and the Ames straw poll results. But she is obviously not wedded to a timetable of any kind or a deadline. She is playing it like all instinctive politicians do - biding her time, weighing pros and cons, and looking for the right moment to make her move.
Don't bet on her decision. You will probably be wrong.