The REALLY BIG question about the 2012 nomination: If Palin does NOT run, who would she endorse, and when? Could it be game, set, match ( for Bachman) early on?

I have absolutely NO idea if Sarah Palin intends to run for the WH. Not a clue. But it’s really intriguing to consider what happens if she chooses NOT to run.

Palin will continue to maintain her high profile. She was very successful in backing candidates in 2010. No doubt she’ll continue to do so. She wants to be a major force in GOP politics, a king-maker.  She retains a solid, hard core constituency of support in the GOP base, easily 30%, possibly   as much as 40% of likely voters. They are passionate about her, her beliefs, and are willing to devote their time AND their $$$ to whoever she supports.  Again, this was demonstrated time and time again in 2008.

So it’s quite natual to wonder, if not herself, then who?

Of the GOP field to date, both announced, and those  not quite yet there, one could reasonably assume that there are  FIVE who she could feel truly reflect her conservative philosophy:

Bachman, Cain, Pawlenty, Santorum, and Perry.

Anybody see another possibility? She might be waiting to see what, if anything, Paul Ryan does.

Absent that theory, what then  might she do?

The Iowa straw poll is just around the corner. It often reflects ( 3 of the last 5 times) who will win the caucuses the following year. And this year, because of heightened interest, it’s expected that around 25%, if not more,  of next year’s caucus goers will vote in the straw poll next month. That’s BIG.

And Michelle Bachman will win the straw poll comfortably. That effectively takes Santorum and Pawlenty out of the running.

So suppose right after the Iowa straw poll, Palin endorses Michelle Bachman. The GOP CONSERVATIVE SISTERHOOD ROCKS!!! Announces she’ll be chairWOMAN  (g) of her campaign. Hits the road hard for her. Raises theBIG $$$.  Everything she did in 2008, just 100x more magnified, and MORE effective.

All the oxygen for the other candidates disappears from the room. And forget about any of them trying to get any media coverage.

Bachman would be the front runner by a wide margin in every poll thereafter. Most of the others in the field would soon drop out.

Let’s fast-forward to just after the 2011 third quarter fund raising results are released.  Bachman, I expect will have a huge lead, surpassing even Mitt, and Perry. She’d be well ahead in the polls in  Iowa, and possibly even, or close to it, in New Hampshire.

And then the other shoe drops.

Nikki Haley soon announces that she’s also endorsing Palin,and  well in advance of the South Carolina primary.

So there you have it. Bachman wins Iowa, finishes close to Mitt in NH ( Palin will help her there, big time) which really hurts Mitt, and she comfortably wins in South Carolina, and then immediately steamrolls right into my state, Florida, where she’ll easily win.

That’s it.  Game, set, and match…..er, nomination. Girl power, GOP style..version 2012.

Could easily happen..it’s a very viable path to the nomination for Michelle.

And what it really does is make us think hard about what Sarah will do if she doesn’t run herself.