Why Sarah Palin Won't Be RNC Chair

A group calling itself the Tea Party Nation is planning to send a letter to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) urging her to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee. But Palin, plainly put, will never become chairman -- both because the national committee would never elect her, and because the job is clearly at odds with her own self-interest.

Palin herself told ABC News she's not interested in a run. "I respect the desire to have someone in charge of the RNC who understands the wishes of the conservative grassroots and understands that power resides with the people and not the vested interests in D.C.," she said in a statement.



Here are the other six reasons Palin will never serve as RNC chair:

1) She might want to run. While it's not clear she will actually run for president, one thing is obvious: Palin wants the door open enough for her to make a bid if she decides to pursue one. Becoming chairman of a national political committee that has to raise $400 million in two years means forgoing any possible presidential campaign in 2012.

Palin herself acknowledged that conundrum today. "The primary role of the RNC chair seems be that of fundraiser-in-chief, and there are others who would probably be much more comfortable asking people for money than I would be, and they would definitely enjoy it more," she told ABC News.

2) She's an ideologue. Qualification no. 1 for any chairman, especially going into a presidential election year, is to be an objective broker. Palin has a clear-cut ideology, and even though her conservative outlook is the clear majority in the party, it's not the only outlook. The RNC chairman has to defend moderates as much as conservatives. That means equally supporting Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sen.-elect Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Palin's primary endorsements, especially against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), raise questions as to whether she would do that. In a presidential year, potential White House candidates will lean on their RNC members to pick someone who is not going to have a finger on the scale, and Palin's history would certainly make those contenders nervous.

3) She's an outsider.
That's one of Palin's biggest potential plusses as a presidential candidate, but in the world of the RNC and its 168 voters, that's almost the death of her campaign right there. The RNC is a group of state party chairs and national committee members who prize their independence, and they're not easily wooed by stars. They are routinely courted by possible presidential candidates and they rarely bat an eye when it happens.

What's more, they don't believe anyone understands the situations in their states. They want the RNC chairman to hand out money and leave the states to spend it as they see fit. They are suspicious that an outsider would want to run everything from the RNC. Many members on the national committee believed incumbent chairman Michael Steele was too much of an outsider when he ran -- and he'd been chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, and thus a member of the RNC, until late 2004!

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