READ: Palin and Trump float 2016 plans
But the idea that they’re both seriously searching their souls and considering a run for the White House doesn’t pass the smell test.
Trump and Palin are now more at the reality show end of the political spectrum than serious contenders — but they sure know how to get a headline.
They snatched more than their fair share of attention at Congressman Steve King’s cattle call in Iowa on Saturday — even as an impressive line-up of bona fide potential candidates tried to road test early 2016 messaging.
There are serious candidates out there who are almost certainly running for president — including Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee, all of whom were at the Iowa event.
And there are those who just want some people to believe they might, just, might, run.
While many hope lightning will strike — comparative unknowns like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama built campaigns in Iowa that ended at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — most know it won’t.
But running for president in Iowa, even if you don’t make it to the caucuses themselves can be a good career move. Former Gov. Tom Vilsack for instance parlayed a campaign that never got off the ground into a job as secretary of the Agriculture Department. Other candidates — like Democratic gadfly Dennis Kucinich and libertarian Ron Paul — have used presidential campaigns to build personal political brands.
Joe Biden got less than 1% of the votes in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 — but ended up as a two-term vice president.
In each of those cases, the candidates offered more steak than sizzle; more policy than pizzazz.
And then there are those like Trump, who thrives on attention, and Palin, who needs to maintain a brand on the fringes of conservative media, for whom the oxygen of publicity as a new campaign grinds into gear seems too enticing to ignore.