Sarah Palin has won the Right Nation 2010 straw poll for potential  candidates for resident in 2012. Palin gathered 19.1 percent at a Chicago-area conference on Sept. 18. Chris Christie came in second with 16.2 percent. Newt Gingrich third with 13.4 percent and Mitt Romney fifth with 11.2 percent. Mike Pence, who won the Values Voter summit, came in 10th with only 2.7 percent. Mike Huckabee, who came in second in the Values Voter Summit, came in sixth with 9.2 percent.

The poll will show the preferences of grassroots leaders from throughout the heartland, says the group’s website, with conference attendees from the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as tickets sold outside the Midwest from Florida to California.

Right Nation 2010 is a joint venture of Republican, conservative, libertarian, free-market and Tea Party independent organizations and individuals, facilitated by the 75-year-old United Republican Fund. These groups are converged, and it is interesting that they are finding their center in Chicago.

These are interesting results from a Chicago group and are probably more representative of mainstream America than the Values Voter poll. My impression of the red state/blue state division that so gave Jimmy Carter the willies in his interview with Brian Williams (worse than the Civil War?) is that it is a natural and necessary growing pain of our American condition rising to it fullness. Chicago in this regard is the American city rising in the new millennium as America finds its center; NY and the eastern cities on the edges recede. It is not Obama’s city, not Rahm Emanuel’s and no longer the Daleys’. Those days were transitional. Visionary Frank Lloyd Wright saw the region as a center point: a Brahma moment between East, West, South and the Great White North. That relationship has matured in our time. Heartland-based politics is also finding its center there and it could well be the resting place and the awakening place of this new political sensibility.

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