Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE was a letdown from the first. She appeared as a Palin knockoff but proved herself to be merely provincial. Palin is not, nor is Rick Perry. Last year Palin, who defines herself as a “constitutional conservative,” said she would enter the race if no one else who expressed the rising geist of Tea Party values did. Perry does, and from the beginning it was Perry and Palin vs. the Establishment. But he needs to watch his back. And she needs to think about getting back in this as the Tea Party vote scurries around the margins without the unifying spirit she brought to it from the beginning; Herman Cain today, Michele Bachmann yesterday, Ron Paul the day before. Gary Johnson tomorrow. Without Sarah Palin, the Tea Party is separating out to a secondary political element with minor figures.

For the new conservative values to stabilize and advance, Palin might be a necessity. She is an archetypal figure, like John Lennon or Reagan; one that hits a primal chord in the psyche that brings awakening to some and horror to others. My guess right now is that 2012 will bring Perry/Romney, or Perry/someone else, but necessity could just as well make it Palin/Perry or Palin/someone else. And they need other helpers now; Donald TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE, Rudy Giuliani. Time to commit.

A McClatchy-Marist poll last week found that Obama looks increasingly vulnerable in next year's election, with a majority of voters believing he'll lose to any Republican. The biggest gain came for Palin, the former Alaska governor who hasn't yet announced whether she'll jump into this fast-changing race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The Grizzly Mama has the animal spirits and, as she has said, a “servant’s heart.” She will do the right thing. But without Perry or Palin in the White House in 2012, that which came in with the dust of the Tea Party in 2009 will be gone with the wind by 2012.