Former vice presidential candidate and Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, openly mulled leaving the Republican Party in a Saturday interview on Fox News, citing her "libertarian streak." The Libertarian Party, frequently a refuge for renegade Republicans, isn't sure that she would be a good fit – and the Reform Party, too, says it has "zero interest" in Palin.
"[W]hile a few of Sarah Palin's views are aligned with those of the Libertarian Party, her pro-interventionist foreign policy, her support of the 2008 Republican-led bailouts, her loyal support of Big Government Republicans, her social conservative agenda and her lack of concrete backing for any serious downsizing of Big Government runs afoul of the Libertarian Party's goals and most Libertarians' views," the Libertarian Party's executive director, Carla Howell, told U.S. News.
Palin could conceivably find a home in the Constitution or Reform parties - but the Reform Party, which had its heyday in the 1990s, is entirely uninterested.
"The Reform Party would probably have zero interest in Sarah Palin," Reform Party Chairman David Collison told U.S. News. "The primary reason is that we are not really as closely aligned with the tea party as people would think."
Collison said his party aspires to be viewed as centrist, and embraces activists affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement. "Palin would basically torpedo that," he said.
U.S. News was unable to reach a representative of the Constitution Party - a generally right-leaning party that in 2012 nominated former Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, a Democratic-turned-Republican congressman, as its presidential candidate.
Over the weekend, Palin responded to a question about whether she would consider starting a new "Freedom Party" with radio host Mark Levin.
"I love the name of that party – the 'Freedom Party,'" she said. "And if the GOP continues to back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan, then, yeah, more and more of us are going to start saying, 'You know, what's wrong with being independent,' kind of with that libertarian streak that much of us have. In other words, we want government to back off and not infringe upon our rights."
She added: "I think there will be a lot of us who start saying 'GOP, if you abandon us, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in a one or the other private majority parties that rule in our nation, either a Democrat or a Republican.'"
It's probable that Palin – the 2008 Republican Party vice presidential candidate – won't actually leave the party. Ahead of the 2012 presidential election there was speculation that Palin might bolt the GOP to run as an independent, but that never happened. Instead, she offered GOP nominee Mitt Romney a tepid endorsement one day before the election.
"I wouldn't be surprised [if Palin left the Republican Party]," Collison said. "A lot of the tea party folks have obviously become disillusioned. The Republicans have shown some interest in swinging back toward a pragmatic center."