..And, of course, the answer is "No, they won't".
The internecine struggle inside the bowels of the Republican ectoplasm is becoming increasingly fascinating to me. The taproot of the struggle would make for a jolly good Broadway play, entitled: "What Do We do With Sarah?": Sarah Palin strides onto the stage, into Victorian Drawing Room, the patriarchs in tuxes, and white-goateed grandees stroke their beards and break into song, something along the lines of:
"Yes, she's pretty,
Yes, we read the things she wrote
Yes, she's exciting, gets the crowd going
Bun NO! she can't bring in the vote!"
...or something like that.
The opinion that seems to hold much sway in many venues, (at RedState, for example), is that IF Sarah Palin doesn't run -- or runs and doesn't win the nomination-- is that the "Shriners" (-the derisive term bandied about for Pro-Palin folks who, evidently, light incense and candles in front of their eight-by-ten glossies of Sarah Palin) will sit home and pout in darkness the day of the election, and not help elect the eventual GOP nominee, thus contributing to their loss, and Barack Obama's win. This, at least according to countless thread debates, is the overwhelming concern of the anti-Palin Right.
But, what if the shoe is on the other foot? What if the Republicans actually nominate Sarah Palin?
I think we all know the answer to that: The Republican "moderates", the "FiCon/SocLibs" and so forth, will bolt, and support an independent run by a Huntsman or a Giuliani. Certainly Jon Huntsman can self-finance such a campaign. This is precisely what happened in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was nominated, and the Lowell Weicker wing of the Republican party blanched, and egged on the Independent run of John Anderson.
It is always thus. Moderate Republicans, in this sense, have historically done more damage to conservatives than they have ever done to Democrats. John McCain and his merry Gang of 14, for example, was designed to block the nomination of solid conservative Jurists, and now, we have to crawl over the carcasses of the radical leftists subsequently jammed onto the courts to help in the repeal of Obamacare.
Moderate Republicans HATE (and I mean HATE) Sarah Palin. She is cyptonite to them. She is the bucket of water splashed on the Wicked Witch of the West. She is the cross shown to Dracula. She brings out a visceral loathing one hopes is only reserved for child rapists and terrorists, but, sadly, no: Moderate Republican absolutely detest Sarah Palin, and many would stuff a ballot box for Barack Obama to keep her out of the White House.
Moderate Republicans like to sit in the locker room of the Country Club, while loudly jangling the keys to their Lexus, and make it clear that they vote THE PERSON, not the party, and Sarah Palin is a grossly uneducated, white-trash poseur that will ruin the country with her primitive Christianity, her simpleton's mind, and her black-and-white worldview. They put "Republicans for Obama" stickers on their BMW's.
Why? I have my theories, but, for the nonce, I will chest my cards.
The problem isn't that Sarah Palin supporters won't stump for the eventual GOP nominee if she isn't the standard-bearer; No, these people are more animated by the removal of Barack Obama from office than Popeye was motivated by spinach. It won't matter WHO the Republicans nominate, the Palin supporters will vote for him or her, no matter who it is. The problem is the "Moderate Republicans" . They won't support Palin if she IS the nominee. They will sabotage her, they will lay snares at her feet, they will impugn her, they will destroy her, if they can.
And John Anderson took six percent of the vote from Ronald Reagan. No plausible argument can be made that he took it from Carter. These people will do the same thing to Sarah Palin.