Some months back I wrote that Sarah Palin was likely to be the Republican candidate for president in 2012 and a number of disparaging comments were posted.

But now the Guardian newspaper in London is leading with the news that Irish American Palin will headline a dinner in Iowa on Friday.

They say it is clear that this is her opening salvo in the race for the 2012 nomination.

Can't say I'm surprised.

The Guardian quotes Kathie Obradovich, political columnist at the Des Moines Register, who says Palin's visit is highly significant.

"Palin is aware that there are flames of speculation over whether she will run for president and coming to Iowa fans that into a wildfire."says Obradovich.

Strangely I haven't seen much commentary on this Iowa visit in the American media.

Political commentators always fight the last war, not the next one and they have dismissed Palin because she did not deliver ultimately for John McCain.

Sure, they see her as a Tea Party darling and a Fox News star but they don't really take her seriously as a presidential contender.

I think they are making a huge mistake.

The Iowa diner will solidify her bond with grassroots Iowans, who remember, vote in a caucus system, not a primary.

I can very easily see her winning Iowa and heading for New Hampshire like a runaway train.

Who will stop her? Mitt Romney who has never appealed to the grassroots? Newt Gingrich with his three marriages and decades old shtick?

The Guardian interviewed Marilea David, a hard core Republican,who might well have been speaking for most conservatives.

"I think she is great. She is the only person I am excited about just now,"

"She is fiscally conservative. She married her husband for love, not money. She does not have perfect kids, which is big for me. She has been totally vetted by the liberal media and they did not come up with anything other than she is a 'hick'."

There's a bit of the Susan Boyle phenomenon for women especially in Palin.

The more the mainstream mocks Susan the more her base is bonded to her, seeing in her struggle for recognition their own.

Palin is in a similar narrative.

Larry Sabato, director of the political centre at the University of Virginia says Palin will win Iowa if she runs but thinks she will be a poor general election candidate.

" You are looking at a landslide to the Democrats. There is no one the Democrats want more. Obama would expect to win, even if the economy was bad. She is popular among Republicans but in the country as a whole she is unpopular."

I think Larry has it wrong. If Palin prevails she will be a very powerful contender. And many women will be drawn to her, for the historic nature of her run alone.

Who said after Hillary Clinton failed that we'd never see a woman president.

President Palin has a nice ring to it.