Bristol Palin & Levi Johnston Engaged: Palin Politics at Work?

Cynthia Dermody

Bristol Palin Levi Johnston US Weekly CoverWhat are the chances that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston's recent re-engagement was a natural, impetuous reunion and not a carefully crafted political move?

Hard to say, but the manner of their weird announcement on a magazine cover definitely makes me think something is a little off. So ... Bristol's engaged to a guy who publicly trashed her. She's afraid to tell Sarah for fear of how she might react. And this is the way she chooses to do it? By blasting a headline on the cover of an entertainment tabloid? Wouldn't be my first choice.

It would be nice to think that Bristol Palin and Johnston have, through the bonds they share with their 18-month-old son, Tripp, simply rekindled their love. But nothing in politics or political families is that spontaneous.

More likely, a Palin-Johnston marriage is one more of several clues pointing to a Sarah Palin 2012 Presidential run. Consider this timeline of events:

Last year: Johnston takes a stab at being famous -- posing in Playgirl, appearing in a pistachios commercial, talking about sex on the Tyra Banks Show. No longer associated with the famous family, his career fizzles quicker than it starts.

Three months ago: Palin and Johnston meet to discuss custody arrangements, and then decide they love each other and want to get back together. But the kid is 18 months old. They're just talking custody now? Fishy.

Last week: Levi Johnston publicly apologizes to Todd and Sarah Palin in People magazine for all the nasty things he said about them after his Bristol breakup -- that she was only in the spotlight for the money, that she complained her governor job was too hard, that she used derogatory terms to describe her own Down syndrome child. He says he apologized to the Palins in private as well.

Last week: Reports that Sarah Palin's war chest has amassed $1 million so far, with two more years left to go.

Tuesday: Bristol Palin and Johnston appear on US Weekly's cover, announcing they are engaged, and that Sarah doesn't know yet. But of course she knew. She's Sarah Palin. How could she not, despite the wishy-washy statement she later issued to NBC: “Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”

It's easy to see Johnston's motive in all this. He'll do anything to be in the spotlight again. Sarah gets her teen mother daughter married up and doesn't have to worry about Johnston blabbing about insider stuff anymore. It's harder to tell what Bristol gains, except maybe the man she loves and a wedding. The couple is planning an Alaskan wedding in six months.

Do you think the Palin/Johnston engagement is legit or political strategy -- or maybe a little of both?

Read More