COMMENTARY | Silence is said to sometimes speak volumes. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), 2008 presidential hopeful and a man whose endorsement in the upcoming 2012 presidential primaries would provide a powerful push to a politician’s campaign, told Politico this week that he had no plans of endorsing anyone for the 2012 Republican Party nomination. No endorsement of anyone, of course, would include his 2008 running mate, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin…
“I think I’m staying out of this for the first time in many years,” McCain told Politico.
He was then asked if it meant he would stay out of the race altogether. His reply? “Most likely.”
But it is early still. Many Republicans haven’t declared whether or not they were actually running, although it appears that one hopeful, Sen. Mike Pence (R-IN), a darling of the conservative blogosphere, has already made it known he would not be campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 in what looks to be an already crowded field. He simply didn’t file the necessary paperwork by the deadline.
The field is full of hopefuls, though. Besides the frontrunners — who were also frontrunners with John McCain in 2008 — Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, there are several other candidates that have designs on the nomination. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (TX), businessman Donald Trump, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, unsuccessful Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle, Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), Sen. Rand Paul (KY), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Scott Brown (MA), and many other Republicans have formed exploratory committees or announced that they might seek the nomination.
But what about Palin? Would Sen. McCain actually withhold his endorsement if she ran? Or could he change his mind? Sarah Palin’s name is among the many who have yet to declare candidacy but who is seen as someone likely to run.
And how about the young South Dakota senator, John Thune, who McCain has said was a “very viable candidate”? He, too, is among the pack of undeclared potential candidates.
But McCain said he was “certainly” going to stay out of the upcoming race — at this point in time.
Certainty might become a bit less solid come time for primaries and caucuses, not to mention when it comes down to voting for particular candidates at the Republican National Convention. Because “thinking” about staying out and “most likely” withholding one’s endorsement — even if one is “certainly” staying out at present — does not sound like a definite refusal to endorse someone at a later point in time.
But will it be Sarah Palin?
One might think so, given that she came to Arizona and campaigned for him in his recent bid for reelection. What is most likely is that the senior senator from Arizona will not remain silent throughout the campaign season. But John McCain’s overall silence about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential campaign seems to indicate that he would have a difficult time endorsing the half-term governor for the Republican nomination. It certainly does…
Saul Relative holds degrees in History and Secondary Education, and he taught school in West Virginia in the ’80s and Virginia during the ’90s. A student of politics and political movements, he began writing articles covering the political maneuverings of the Bush administration in 2004. Saul turned to writing full-time in 2008, dividing his time between reading and writing about politics and entertainment.