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Does a Home in Arizona Mean Palin is Running? Not Necessarily.

With so many big names having dropped out of the Republican presidential contest, speculation about those who are still thought to be considering running is getting more intense. That means that any kernel of information about a potential candidate is going to be analyzed to death and perhaps blown out of proportion. Which is one way of interpreting a report in the New York Times about Sarah Palin buying a home in Arizona.

The piece, which bears the headline “Signs Grow That Palin May Run,” contains some recycled gossip about Palin’s intentions. But it also contains one original piece of information. The paper has learned that the former Alaska governor and her husband have purchased a $1.7 million home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

By itself this doesn’t tell us much, if anything, about whether Palin will run. It is true, as the Times tells us, an Arizona home would be a convenient spot to serve as a home base for a national campaign than Wasilla, Alaska. But it is just as likely that she wanted a place close to her daughter Bristol who has already moved to Arizona. The scheduled release of a film about her brief service as governor of Alaska as well as her planned return to public appearances is fueling speculation about Palin running and encouraging her fans. But, as the paper also points out, most of her other recent moves seem better suited to the serve the interests of her one-woman media conglomerate than a presidential candidacy.

Palin did recently tell Greta van Susteren that she still had “that fire in the belly” that got her into politics. But she also said time is running out for her to make up her mind. Yet that self-imposed deadline may not be valid since Palin’s name recognition and ability to raise money could easily overcome the disadvantages that come with a late start.

A more interesting obstacle for Palin would be the prior entry of a candidate who is seeking to appeal to the almost the exact same demographic: Michelle Bachmann. Bachmann’s Tea Party and conservative Christian stands overlap almost completely with those of Palin. Though Bachmann’s name recognition and resources are miniscule compared to Palin’s, if the Alaskan waits until her rival establishes herself as a well-funded challenger it could create a damaging conflict in the event of her own candidacy. With Bachmann already raising money and about to declare, her progress may have an impact on Palin’s decision.

But all that is assuming that Palin has any real intention of running for president. Which is something that despite the desperate attempts of both her supporters and the mainstream media to unravel the mystery is a question to which the answer remains unknown to everyone except Palin.