It’s official—or at least as official as polls taken 14 or so months before the election: There’s a new sheriff in town. According to Gallup, Rick Perry has unseated Mitt Romney as the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Perry’s rise hasn’t been terribly surprising. Conservatives have been casting about for a champion to counter Romney for months. For a long stretch earlier in the year, Sarah Palin was viewed as a leading contender for that slot. But as she has played Hamlet-on-the-tundra and made the rounds on Fox News evening lineup, first Michele Bachmann and then Perry came along to try to assume the mantle.
With Perry surging, it’s only natural to ask what his early success means for Palin. She is nearing what she he termed her deadline for making a decision on a presidential bid. She’s set to deliver a speech in Iowa Labor Day weekend, one that may (or just as easily may not) provide some clue about her plans.
Palin recently released a video of the day she spent at the Iowa State Fair, which set off an entirely new round of speculation about her intentions. But she showed this week that she enjoys tweaking the media and the established political class (that's you, Karl Rove) when they suggest that she has made up her mind.