South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) was the first major figure to speak out when he wrote last Nov. 15 in The Wall Street Journal, “I find myself in a lonely position. While many states and local governments are lining up for a bailout from Congress, I went to Washington recently to oppose such bailouts. I may be the only governor to do so.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) joined him shortly after. But it cannot be denied that Palin is the dynamic force awakening the heartland to this new perspective. The victory of the Conservative Party over the Republican Party in NY-23 is the first step out of the abstract and into the concrete.

Maybe Perry should change his brand to Conservative Party in his race in Texas and leave Kay Bailey Hutchison to the Republican nostalgicos. Dick Cheney is campaigning for Hutchison, and they seem a fairly good match. Palin is stumping for Perry.

In our times there has not been such a critical division in substance and outlook. The critical turning in NY-23 came when Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota who expects to run for president in 2012, followed Palin’s initiative and threw his support to the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman. By the time Scozzafava dropped out, Palin, Pawlenty, Perry, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Minnesota Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' Billboard from ‘God’ tells Michele Bachmann not to run for Senate Pawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota MORE, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and other prominent Republicans had lined up with them. Newt Gingrich led the traditionalists in support of Scozzafava. Cheney might be considered in the Gingrich column as well. Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi and head of the Republican Governors Association, supports Perry in Texas and might be considered among the Conservatives.

With 43 percent of the voters in a poll not long ago claiming to be independent, it is fully possible today to see a third-party challenge in 2012. Palin would be the perfect candidate. Two issues need a fundamental new approach: The war and the bailouts. In my opinion the Republicans are dead wrong on the war and the Democrats are dead wrong on the bailouts. And there are two people on these fronts today who present better ideas: Ron Paul and Marine Capt. Matthew Hoh.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in a recent online poll at, 93 percent of Texans said they think Ron Paul should run for president in 2012. Paul independents and conservatives could well find a place of convergence in the rising Conservative Party. As Daniel McCarthy, senior editor at The American Conservative wrote recently, Republicans have yet to comprehend the magnitude of their loss in recent years among young people. “If Republicans are to have any hope of turning back that tide, they must heed the man who excited more students and young people than any other candidate for the GOP nomination — Ron Paul.”

Political parties are exclusively about packaging. New ideas and ideals need new packages or they will be beaten back by senior generations demanding the old hat, the old calcified forms and the old orthodoxies. This is still fantasy football, but a Palin/Perry ticket representing the Conservative Party in 2012 would really wake things up.

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