Chris Cillizza can’t seem to make his mind of about Governor Palin. Less than three weeks ago, on September 17, Cillizza placed Governor Palin 9th on his list of the ten most influential Republicans, as Joseph Russo noted in a September 18th post. At that time, Cillizza wrote the following about Governor Palin:
9. Sarah Palin: The former governor of Alaska has been very quiet of late — except for the occasional comment issued via her Facebook page. Palin’s decision to skip this weekend’s Values Voter Summit — where she would have been given a rock star’s reception — is the latest piece of evidence that those who believe a presidential run is inevitable are sorely mistaken. Regardless of her future political plans, Palin could do for a few more months outside of the spotlight. (Previous ranking: 2)
On his previous list, Cillizza ranked Governor Palin #2. Her drop from second place to ninth place was particularly curious since that time period coincided with her almost singlehandedly putting Obama on the defensive over health care and cap and tax. If anything, she became even more influential during that period. It’s laughable to look at some of the names Cillizza ranked ahead of her, particularly Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner, to name but a few. Can anyone recall even hearing their names mentioned during the summer when Governor Palin was leading the charge against Obama’s policies?
During this period of "waning influence", Governor Palin was more influential than all the other Republicans combined. Apparently her absence from the Values Voters Summit, during which a grand total of 597 people voted in a meaningless straw poll, was more important than everything she did to thwart the two most important elements of Obama’s domestic agenda during this time period. Curious that.
Today, Cillizza has another post in which he has managed another 180 degree turn with respect to Governor Palin’s influence:
All of the attention that Schmidt’s comments have attracted is yet more evidence of the fact that Palin is a — if not the — prime mover in the Republican party. If she does ultimately run for president (and there are strong arguments to be made on each side), it’s almost certain the the race would boil down to Palin and a single candidate — former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty etc — who would become the rallying point for the anti-Palin forces.
Until then, the forces who support her and those that oppose her will continue to reinforce their positions — a process that could turn the 2012 presidential nominating fight into one of the most memorable in history.
So now Cillizza says she is a prime mover if not the prime mover in the Republican party. I honestly can’t figure Cillizza out. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but his analysis of Governor Palin seems to take on a schizophrenic quality. One month she is the number two most influential Republican. The next month she drops to number nine while putting Obama on defense almost single-handedly, now she’s "a — if not the — prime mover in the Republican party". Am I the only one who’s confused by Cillizza’s musings?
Update from TR: To add to the confusion regarding Cillizza, he credited Governor Palin for scoring "points by hammering the Obama plan hard and repeatedly" with her introduction of the "death panels" argument into the healthcare debate. It was that blog post from Cillizza that actually prompted an angry reply from DNC hack Brad Woodhouse.