CNN announced lateFeb. 11 that Palin hired former Bob Dole aide Michael Glassner as herchief of staff.Themove is seen as moving forward with Palin's plans to seek theRepublican nomination for more" /> - Delivering Truth Around the World
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Palin Hires Former Bob Dole Campaigner, Readies for Possible Run

William Browning

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">CNN announced late Feb. 11 that Palin hired former Bob Dole aide Michael Glassner as her chief of staff.

The move is seen as moving forward with Palin's plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 by Politico and Slate. Glassner also served on Sen. John McCain's staff during his campaign for president in 2008.

The announcement came on the day before Palin could have been a keynote speaker at the CPAC in Washington in front of thousands of her adoring fans. ABC News reports those attending the conference don't really miss her presence and understand if she has other obligations.

Texan Nick Burt told ABC of Palin's absence, "Sarah is probably on TV. I don't know, but I really don't care. She's just a media personality to me."

If the rest of mainstream Republicans feel Palin is more style than substance, it may not matter who she hires to run her campaign. Glassner may also bring bad mojo to Palin's staff; Dole and McCain never won presidential elections.

On the other hand, maybe Glassner's losing streak may finally come to an end. The lessons he's learned from failed campaigns in the past may temper his style to finally make Palin into a winner.

The most important thing Glassner needs to do first is unite the groups that support Palin. Many tea party faithful look to the former governor of Alaska as a figurehead and hiring him now gives Glassner a year to organize a grassroots juggernaut. With the Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots and many loosely organized state and city groups, there needs to be cohesion among them to create a strong presence in communities all over the United States.

Hiring Glassner a year before the first primaries is a telling sign of the hard work needed to be done. Palin needs to convince regular GOP members she's a better candidate than Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Michele Bachmann. All three of her possible opponents already know how to run successful political campaigns, raise tons of cash and share the national spotlight with name recognition.

What other candidates don't have is the Mama Grizzly mystique. Recent speeches such as those at the Safari Club International convention and the Young America's Foundation centennial celebration of Ronald Reagan show Palin can still command a room. She received standing ovations at both places.

Glassner's experience and Palin's celebrity status combine to make a lethal combination. The fact that no one else hired the high profile campaigner is also telling; clearly Glassner thinks Palin can win. They are already familiar with each other from the 2008 election so they can already have a strategy in place for 2012.

Mainstream Republicans have much to fear now -- Sarah Palin for president just got a huge boost.

William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics. Born in St. Louis, Browning is active in local politics and served as a campaign volunteer for President Barack Obama and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Feb. 12, 2011