Is Sarah Palin Already Running in Iowa?

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Marc Ambinder thinks Sarah Palin plans to run for president in 2012. What makes him think so? The fact that yesterday she endorsed establishment favorite Terry Branstad in the Iowa gubernatorial primary rather than tea party darling Bob Vander Plaats:

[Branstad is] going to be the next governor of Iowa, assuming that there are no stunning surprises next week and Chet Culver, the Democrat, doesn’t mount a miraculous election year comeback….If you’re thinking about running for president, and I think Palin really is thinking about running for president, you don’t get on the wrong side of the guy who will probably be governor during the caucuses by endorsing his opponent, no matter how conservative and Tea Partyish Bob Vander Plaats seems to be.

I don’t know if Palin is planning to run or not, but if she is this is a needle she’s going to have to thread pretty carefully. Her fans love her, but they love her because she’s not part of the establishment. She’s an authentic conservative. But then there’s real life, and in real life you end up allying yourself with people like John McCain and Terry Branstad for purely pragmatic reasons. And there’s the problem. Stay too far on the outside and you lose the ability to raise serious money and put together a serious ground organization. Become too pragmatic and you lose the support of your true believer base. What’s a real American rogue to do?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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