This came to mind after reading Allahpundit and Dan Riehl on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rasmussen. I think it’s fun, and if I still have any readers on Jan. 1, 2013, they can save this and razz me about it.

Suppose, if you will, that Sarah Palin is a slightly more enthusiastic version of Fred! She’d like to be President, sure, but after going through the MSM wringer, complete with reporters digging through her Dumpsters and jerks moving in next door, she’s not willing to subject herself to that kind of punishment again. However, she still wants to be an important figure in politics. What’s a girl to do?

Well, she could ally herself with the Tea Party movements, and with the teevee and radio personalities that support them and egg them on. Based on that, she could endorse candidates; if those candidates win, either primaries or actual elections, her prestige is boosted and she will garner more and more support. Well, and? —

That’s not the moves of somebody seeking office. It’s the moves of somebody who wants to build an alternate NRC — a Republican power center far from the Democrat Lite inclinations of the Beltway Republicans. The Tea Parties have said repeatedly that they don’t want and won’t support leaders, and conservatives don’t have any real national leadership. If Palin provides both with somewhere to go, she can be a mover and shaker without subjecting herself to a full-court MSM push in a run for office — and my reading of her indicates that she’d think that just delightful.

If the process continues, Michael Steele could wake up one morning and find himself in charge of a near-irrelevant rump. There’s no reason to support a centrist Democrat Lite if a real Democrat is available, and the only reason conservatives do business with them at all is to plump up the numbers a bit. One realistic end point of that process would be a Party split, with the RINOs becoming Blue Dog Democrats and the conservatives aligning themselves with Palin.

So: My prediction.

2010 elections — blowout for Republicans, perhaps not so total as Moe Lane thinks but a solid achievement nevertheless.

2010-2012 — Obama continues to show himself incompetent; without Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the Democratic establishment working to cover up his deficiencies, he can’t get a resolution complimenting the Fourth of July through. Meanwhile the Congressional Republicans start having vicious intramural fights between conservatives (the Palin faction) and moderates (following Boehner/Steele/McCain), which weakens the Party.

2012 — Republicans are unable to find a strong candidate or fight the campaign effectively because of the split. Obama gets narrowly re-elected. House and Senate are pretty much a three-way split, although it looks from the outside as if Republicans narrowly maintain an effective opposition if not control. Lots of Palin-backed Congressional candidates win, but moderates are still steering.

2013-2014 — Intramural fighting among Republicans gets worse, allowing the BSM moderate faction to ally itself with Democrats on some issues; Obama starts looking somewhat effective because some of his programs go through. Meanwhile the Palin faction becomes stronger.

2014 — Substantial numbers of moderate Republicans decamp to the Democratic Party. Most of them lose, but the effect is that Democrats either take back the House of Representatives or can make up an across-the-aisle caucus to get their programs through.

2015-2016 — The Palin faction is effectively the Republican Party, with Sarah as its leader. It starts a strong building push.

2016 — a Republican President who is not Sarah Palin is elected, and both House and Senate are dominated, if not controlled, by the New Republicans.

Go ahead and scoff. I think it’s kind of silly, myself.