... It [a joke about running] was an efficient way for Ms. Palin to address the elephant in the room. Yet if she really had made up her mind whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, she may have spent her afternoon here a bit differently.
Republicans in Iowa, as in many places these days, believe they are on the cusp of resurgence. The party is hoping to take back the governor’s office, which 12 years ago Democrats won for the first time in a generation.
It is the season when candidates — and their events — are everywhere, but Ms. Palin spent little of her time with them. She did not appear at a rally, impromptu campaign stop or closed-door one-on-one meetings with party activists. The few Republicans who did get a moment of private time with her had to wait in a photo line at a small reception.
When politicians accept speech invitations at party occasions, particularly outings like the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner, they often do a host of behind-the-scenes events. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. But Ms. Palin declined to do any additional appearances. Instead, she went for a run.
The reception Ms. Palin received on Friday evening from a crowd of 1,500 people was enthusiastic and polite. She was greeted and sent on her way with standing ovations. But she did not carry the crowd with her through the entire 33-minute speech. When she talked about the beauty of the Tea Party movement, the party activists in the room barely responded. ...