Tags: Sarah Palin

The View’s Rosie Perez Suggests Violence Against Sarah Palin


In Monday’s premier of ABC’s rebooted ladies’ talk show The View, co-hostess Rosie Perez asked the show’s designated Republican when she felt the urge to “pop” vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Perez, a star of the late 1980s who has been largely out of the spotlight in the 21st century, talked violence against the former Alaska governor and colorful Republican kingmaker during a wide-ranging discussion with new Viewster Nicolle Wallace, a Republican campaign strategist who worked in the George W. Bush administration and on the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain.

“Can I have three specific questions?” Perez asked during a Palin pile-on. “One, what was it like when you first met her? Two, did the winking get on your nerves? And three, when did you want to just pop her?”

Audience members and other View panelists laughed and applauded, and Wallace, whose relationship with Palin became strained during the catastrophic McCain campaign, did little to stick up for McCain’s running mate. Throughout Monday’s show, Wallace, who occupies a seat once held by current Fox & Friends anchorwoman Elisabeth Hasselbeck, was treated as an exotic but probably harmless curiosity by her co-panelists, who were notably straightforward about her status as the show’s token Republican.

Returning View lady Rosie O’Donnnell also asked Wallace about her involvement in President Bush’s low-key response to Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, which critics believed showed the administration to be out of touch with ordinary working Americans. Wallace dispelled this notion by pointing out that at the time she was having her lavish wedding on the Greek island of Mykonos.

Palin’s family was reportedly involved in a brawl outside an Anchorage house party Saturday night, with Palin’s own role in the struggle unclear. The Washington Post here jokes about its own earlier misreporting on the incident, adding that the former mayor of Wasilla was in “full mama grizzly mode” while apparently trying to restore order.

Tags: ABC , Sarah Palin

A Sarah Palin–for–Senate Bid? Oh, Please! Oh, Please!


Today’s Morning Jolt begins with what could be one of the biggest stories of the 2014 election cycle . . . or just another comment that never amounts to anything:

A Sarah Palin for Senate Bid? Oh, Please! Oh, Please!

This could be big. On the other hand, we’re all familiar with the phenomenon of eagerly anticipating a big-time, endlessly scrutinized, high-stakes campaign from Sarah Palin, only to find out she’s decided against it.

Sarah Palin may not be done with politics after all.

The former Alaska governor, who was also 2008’s GOP vice presidential nominee, said Tuesday she’s contemplating a bid for U.S. Senate against Democrat Mark Begich. He’s up for re-election in 2014.

“I’ve considered it because people have requested me [to] consider it,” Palin told conservative radio host Sean Hannity on his show. “I’m still waiting to see what the lineup will be. And hoping there will be some new blood, new energy. Not just kind of picking from the same old politicians in the state that come from political families.”

Remember, Obama’s political-activism group, Organizing for Action, has loudly pledged they won’t help Begich at all in 2014 because he voted against the background-check bill. (You’re forgiven for wondering aloud just how many volunteers Organizing for Action has in Alaska, but presumably OfA would be able to steer a lot of donations Begich’s way if they so chose.)

I’m all for a Palin-for-Senate bid; nothing like “Senator Palin of Alaska” and “Senator Liz Cheney of Wyoming” to convince the Left that their world is falling apart. Obviously, she would have enormous fundraising prowess, unparalleled name ID, and her opponent won by about one percentage point over incumbent Republican Ted Stevens, about one month after Stevens was convicted of seven felony counts of failing to report gifts. Sure, a February PPP survey had her trailing Begich considerably, but that’s a theoretical. If nothing else, she would make the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have to spend oodles in Alaska to protect an incumbent.

But it’s tough to get too excited about a Palin bid, considering the number of times she’s made comments that suggested a particular course of action, only to reverse course:

  • Back in September 2010, she sounded like she might run for president: “If nobody else wanted to step up, Greta, I would offer myself up in the name of service to the public.”
  • Then she announced she wouldn’t run . . . but then she later said, “You know, it’s not too late for folks to jump in and I don’t know. Who knows what will happen in the future?”
  • After leaving Fox News in January, she declared, “I encourage others to step out in faith, jump out of the comfort zone, and broaden our reach as believers in American exceptionalism. That means broadening our audience. I’m taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom and the imperative of defending our republic and restoring this most exceptional nation. We can’t just preach to the choir; the message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience.” And then . . . in June, she signed up with Fox News Channel again.

So if this Senate bid never comes to fruition . . . will anyone be surprised?

Tags: Sarah Palin , Paul Begich

Needed: Conservative Leaders in for the Long Haul


Sarah Palin chose to resign as governor of Alaska in 2009, and then declined to pursue a 2012 presidential bid.

After the 2012 election, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina stepped down as senator to head up the Heritage Foundation.

In Florida, Allen West lost his bid for reelection to Congress in 2012, and he now serves as “Director of Next Generation Programming” at PJ Media and is a contributor to Fox News.

Now Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has decided to retire from Congress.

Joe Scarborough cites Palin, West, Bachmann, and Hermain Cain and argues that their ascents and declines illustrate how “flamboyance” rarely translates into a lasting political impact.

Of course, flamboyance doesn’t necessarily mean political doom. Congress and the governors’ mansions still include plenty of Republicans who are hardly shrinking violets: Senators ;Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, and Tim Scott, Representatives Darrell Issa, Jason Chaffetz, and Steve King, Governors Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal. Virginia’s attorney general and GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli might fit that bill.

But the conservative movement probably ought to examine why some of their most prominent leaders elected to high office voluntarily depart the scene when they would seem to still have a lot of metaphorical gas left in the tank. Running for reelection is difficult — particularly difficult, as West learned, when the district lines shift, or if one’s state or district isn’t as certain in its embrace of conservatism as you are. Being a leader outside of office, giving paid speeches, doing media appearances, writing books . . . that’s much easier on the officeholder, his or her personal finances, and their family.

It’s hard to blame someone for wanting the less difficult path. And yet, it’s much harder for the conservative movement to move the ball forward if its leaders depart after a while.

Tags: Michele Bachmann , Allen West , Sarah Palin , Jim DeMint , Herman Cain

A Mystery Speaker for Thursday? . . . Could It Be
. . . Her?


From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt, now in the hands of the editors, and soon on its way to you . . .

A Mystery Speaker for Thursday?

The Wall Street Journal gives us something to talk about for the next three days:

Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night.

Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.

By then, speakers from Mitt Romney’s church will have taken the stage that night. The co-founder of Staples office-supply chain will have spoken about working with Mr. Romney during his time at Bain Capital. State officials from Massachusetts will have talked about the former governor. Olympians will have already thanked the presidential candidate for leading the 2002 Winter Games.

The only other speakers to follow “To Be Announced” will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Romney himself, suggesting that the unnamed guest may appear during the 10 p.m. hour when the networks all will be broadcasting the convention.

The good folks at the Journal offer a poll of potential mystery guests, but most are unrealistic: former Georgia Democratic senator Zell Miller, well-armed rocker Ted Nugent, CIA Director David Petraeus, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, heroic pilot Chesley Sullenberger . . .

. . . or Sarah Palin.

As they used to sing on Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other, most of these things are kinda the same . . .”

I have no inside information (yet), but at dinner with my NR colleagues, last night, I pointed out that Palin is glaring by her absence from the program — I mean Huckabee’s speaking, and it’s been longer since his name appeared on a ballot — and that a surprise appearance would probably make the assembled delegates go nuts.

Of course, Nick Schultz came up with the only idea that could excite the crowd even more: “Hologram Reagan a la Tupac?”

(If you don’t understand the reference, the deceased rapper appeared to “perform” at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival through the use of a hologram. Details here.)

The more you think about the idea, the more it makes sense — whatever controversy and intense reactions Sarah Palin may bring to whatever she does, if there is one thing we know she does exceptionally well, it is give convention speeches! This wouldn’t mean turning her into an official Romney surrogate or putting her in a Romney cabinet or anything like that — just giving one of the Republican figures most beloved by the grassroots — or at least a large and vocal segment of the grassroots — a chance to fire up the base and discuss why it is so important that everyone pull out all the stops for Romney.

Tags: Republican National Convention , Sarah Palin

How to Spot a Veep Pick Before the News Breaks


Maybe you’ll first hear the name of Mitt Romney’s running mate from the Romney campaign’s downloadable app. But it’s also pretty likely that the identity of the running mate will break in one of three other ways:

1) The campaign will want its official plane to feature the name of the running mate, and someone will see the name being added to the fuselage at the airport.

From an Aviation web site chat board (great sourcing, I know): Kerry’s plane is being painted with decals that say Edwards.

2) The campaign plane will make an unexpected stop, or the campaign will charter a flight from a particular location to a campaign event in a swing state.

Another rumor has a chartered plane from Alaska landing a while ago near Dayton, Ohio. If true, that could mean McCain’s selection could be an outside-the-box game-changer: picking Alaska’s first female governor, Sarah Palin, a 44-year-old mother of five and political maverick in her own right, who went against her state’s GOP establishment in recent years to drive a series of reforms through.

3) The Secret Service will show up at the house of the running mate.

The United States Secret Service has dispatched a protective detail to assume the immediate protection of Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., a source tells ABC News, indicating in all likelihood that Biden has been officially notified that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has selected him to be his running mate.

These are unavoidable logistical decisions that are pretty tough to hide from the eyes of a curious public.

Tags: Joe Biden , John Edwards , Mitt Romney , Sarah Palin

Watching the Same ‘Change’


Over on the home page, my review of the HBO movie Game Change is front and center.

I point out some examples where the figures who lived the scenes the movie dramatizes contend the movie-makers are making things up:

Danny Strong, the actor who wrote the screenplay, told MSNBC, “We stand by the film as being completely accurate and truthful and representing what happened. It’s true. The movie’s true.”

Any film that portrays the events of months or years is going to truncate events, leave things out, and make other changes to fit the running time and pacing of a movie. But where the filmmakers really let their disdain for everyone involved in the McCain campaign seep through is in the scenes they added.

For example, one foreign-policy adviser shows Palin a map and declares, “This is Germany. They were the primary antagonists during World War I and World War II. They allied with Japan to form what became known as the Axis Powers.” A fascinated Palin dutifully writes it down. The scene does not appear in the Heilemann and Halperin book. This scene was the opening anecdote of the glowing review by Bloomberg. Foreign-policy analyst Randy Scheunemann, Palin’s primary adviser on these issues during the campaign, calls the scene “absolutely untrue.”

Told that none of the potential running mates his team has been discussing will help his trailing campaign, Ed Harris’s McCain responds, rather dismissively, “Okay, so find me a woman.” Those words never appear in the book, and Steve Schmidt has stated McCain never said that. (It’s a small point, but the usually solid actor Harris occasionally portrays McCain raising his arms over his head at campaign rallies, something that his war injuries make impossible for McCain to do.)

Harrelson’s Steve Schmidt watches Palin’s answers to Katie Couric’s questions and gasps, “Oh my God! What have we done?” That scene and those words do not appear in Heilemann and Halperin’s book, either.

You can’t invent scenes and quotes and then insist the film is “completely accurate and truthful.”

This morning, another example:

“The only specific scene that I have a problem with is when Julianne as the character Sarah mispronounced Jimmy Choo. It was only a small dramatic license, but that never happened, and they also portray Sarah as having fun with the clothing and the real Sarah took it more seriously,” Ms. Kline said in her appearance on “Sarah Palin Radio.”

Big deal, some may argue. But the film consists of the actors reenacting events we all witnessed live in 2008 — Palin’s debut, her convention speech, her debate with Biden — and then the “behind the scenes” moments are where we’re supposed to be getting “the real story.” Except that “the real story” isn’t the real story. It’s a tweaked version of the real story, where Palin is even less informed than the examples given in the book, McCain is less sympathetic, and so on.

So . . . what’s the point of a film that amounts to exaggerated nonfiction? Some would argue that most of the media provides that every day.

Tags: John McCain , Sarah Palin

Axelrod Scheduled to Appear on Maher’s Show


In the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Remember, Bad Words Are Only Bad When Our Political Opponents Use Them

On Wednesday, I shared video of Democratic congresswomen refusing to say anything — even a word — about whether they feel Bill Maher’s comments about Sarah Palin deserve public denunciation the way Rush Limbaugh’s recent us of the S-word does. I also noted that the Alabama Democratic Party is using Bill Maher in a party fundraiser.

Here’s another epic example of hypocrisy, from The Daily:

While slamming Mitt Romney for not standing up to the “strident voices” on his side, a top Obama advisor is planning to spend some quality time with one on his own, The Daily has learned.

David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, is scheduled to appear on Bill Maher’s late-night talk show within the next few weeks, according to Kelley Carville, an HBO spokesman.

As the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke continued, a former Obama White House official today joined Republicans in pointing out that Maher, who recently donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC, has a history of his misogynistic slurs.

Last year, he was rebuked by the National Organization for Women for calling Sarah Palin a “dumb tw*t.”

“Palin is right to point out that Bill Maher has said some pretty disgusting things about women, comedian or not. They are rush-like,” Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors, and currently a professor at the University of Chicago, tweeted.

I’m not really sure that the Democrats’ weeklong beating of the drums of fury of Rush’s unforgivably foolish comment really will work for them. Anyone paying an iota of attention will notice that there’s plenty of obnoxious, foul, profane, crude, sexist, objectifying, demeaning, snarling, bilious language floating around our culture. By and large, political figures only object when it’s their allies who are the target of that talk, and make excuses when their allies shoot their mouths off. It goes beyond hypocrisy; what it means is that most of those who shriek the loudest in outrage are faking the outrage. They’re only angry when mean things are said about people they like. People they disagree with are fair game.

A consistent standard either way would be preferable. I could happily live and work in a society with a more civil, respectful, even-keeled and mature public discourse. I could also function in one where our issues of the day were discussed in an atmosphere where anything goes, let the F-bombs fly, politics-ain’t-beanbag, only-sticks-and-stones-can-break-my-bones rules apply. (I’d prefer the former, I think.) But we have this insane double standard where one side manages to make a stink any time their feelings are hurt, and the same behavior from the other party is ignored, dismissed, excused, or even celebrated. (Think about it, we had to argue whether it was okay for David Letterman to tell jokes about Alex Rodriguez knocking up Sarah Palin’s daughter. Now imagine the reaction if any comedian told a joke about the Obama daughters getting knocked up.)

Tags: Barack Obama , David Axelrod , Sarah Palin

Democratic Congresswomen With No Comment on Maher’s Rhetoric


Ed Frank, a consultant specializing in video messaging, bumped into Democratic Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois on Capitol Hill today. He asked, in light of their denunciation of Rush Limbaugh, whether they feel the same about Bill Maher’s crude comments that former Gov. Sarah Palin is a “c***” and a “dumb tw**” and whether Obama’s SuperPAC should return Maher’s $1 million donation.

Unsurprisingly, they refused to answer the question . . . repeatedly . . . for several minutes . . . until it became rather embarrassing.

I do feel a bit bad for Schakowsky, who so steadfastly ignores the question that she realizes, halfway through the interaction, that she’s walking away from the building where she intended to enter.

A Schakowsky aide urges Frank to call the office for a comment, which seems strange, considering how he has the congresswoman right in front of him, and has asked her several times at that point.

“I’m not making a comment,” she said after a few moments of Frank repeatedly asking about the matter. “I have no comment.”

At this moment, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running a petition “calling on Republican leaders to publicly denounce Rush Limbaugh’s cruel tirade against women.” And as noted earlier, Bill Maher is performing at a fundraiser for the Alabama Democratic party later this month.

But only that particular cruel tirade against women. Bill Maher’s cruel tirades are perfectly fine.

Tags: Bill Maher , Jan Schakowsky , Sarah Palin , Sheila Jackson Lee

The Uphill Climb a ‘Draft Palin’ Effort Would Face Today


A couple of Sarah Palin fans are looking at today’s article about the proposed, and ultimately dismissed, idea of writing in Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, or Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan in New Hampshire’s primary and wondering whether to try to write in Palin in the remaining GOP primaries and caucuses.

If a Draft Palin movement were to begin in earnest, the best-case scenario would leave the former Alaska governor with a decent number of delegates, but not enough to win the nomination — unless she pulled off the Tebow-esque political miracle of winning a significant number of delegates in primaries as a write-in option. While anything is technically possible by persuading enough Republican primary voters, it would be a Herculean task. (For Palin, perhaps Athena is the better metaphor?)

The first task would be to get Palin listed on the ballot in the states where the primary ballot is not yet finalized. The deadline to qualify for the Rhode Island Republican presidential primary ballot is tomorrow, January 19, with just two weeks to secure 1,000 valid signatures on their nomination papers to earn a spot on the ballot. So perhaps Palin wouldn’t be able to get on the ballot in Rhode Island, putting any or more than a handful of its 19 delegates out of reach.

A candidate entering today would, at least in theory, have time to get on the ballots in West Virginia (January 28), Kentucky (January 31), Indiana (February 10), Pennsylvania (February 14), Delaware (February 24), Arkansas (March 1), Connecticut (March 2), Oregon (March 6), Nebraska (March 7), Montana (March 12), Utah (March 15), California (March 23), and South Dakota (March 27).

Most Republican caucuses do not have any formal filing deadline; to compete in those contests, the candidate would simply have needed a group of dedicated supporters registered to vote in those caucuses. These states include Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.

An all-out Draft Palin effort could get her on the ballot in 24 states, not counting Rhode Island. The primary states still open to new candidates offer up to 604 delegates, and the caucus states still open to new candidates offer up to 371 delegates. That adds up to 975 delegates, which is less than the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Of course, if Palin were to go into a divided GOP convention with a couple hundred delegates, she might be in a position to play kingmaker. But she has seemed reluctant to pursue that option, never formally endorsing any of the remaining GOP candidates.

Informally, however . . .

Hannity asked Palin if she was any closer to an endorsement of a presidential candidate.

“Well, I could tell you what I would do if I were a South Carolinian,” Palin told Hannity.

“That’s close to an endorsement,” Hannity said.

“If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going I’d vote for Newt and I would want this to continue,” Palin said. “More debates, more vetting of candidates because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted, to the degree that he should have been so that we knew what his associations and his pals represented and what went into his thinking, the shaping of who our president today is.”

In short, she is urging, “Vote Newt, at least for now.” Gingrich must be wondering if he can get her to say that in a formal ceremony.

Tags: Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin

Newt Gingrich, America’s Sixth-Most-Admired Man?


The good news for Newt Gingrich, from his campaign:

Newt Gingrich was named the 6th Most Admired Man in 2011 today in USA Today/Gallup’s annual survey of Americans. Gingrich is the only GOP presidential candidate to make the top ten in the Most Admired Man, 2011 list. GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann made the top ten list for Most Admired Woman, 2011.

The bit that his campaign didn’t mention in their release: He was named by all of . . . 1 percent.

President Obama was named by 17 percent; George W. Bush was named by 3 percent. Four percent named Sarah Palin as the woman they most admire, behind Michelle Obama at 5 percent, Oprah Winfrey at 7 percent, and Hillary Clinton at 17 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Michele Bachmann , Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin

Interrupting Today’s Fun Rumor With Inconvenient Facts


And now, the kicker to today’s Morning Jolt . . .

ADDENDA: Wildest and least plausible rumor of the day: Sarah Palin is going to reconsider running for president. Er, she’s going to do this without appearing on the Republican primary ballots in New Hampshire, South Carolina or Florida? Something of a handicap, no?

Two predicted responses in the comments: “Jim, you just don’t understand. This is going to be a different kind of campaign. Your thinking reflects that of the outdated, out-of-touch establishment.” Then, “Why does she have to decide on the timetable of the state party rules?

Tags: Sarah Palin

Rush Limbaugh Wants Total Control Over Virginia!


The latest mailer from the Democratic party of Virginia here in Yuppie Acres, Alexandria, tells me that if I don’t vote, my state may sudden be under “total control” of Rick Perry, Ken Cuccinelli, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin. If only, guys, if only. Notice the nonsensical combination: a governor of another state running as a presidential candidate, the current state attorney general, a radio talk-show host, and a former governor of another state who has announced she’s not running for president. Only one of them even lives in the commonwealth, and he’s already in a powerful state office, so it’s not quite clear why he would be joining the Perry-Limbaugh-Palin insurrection against Bob McDonnell, a governor whom he agrees with much of the time.

Oh, what’s that? I shouldn’t look for logic or coherence in Democratic-party mailings? Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Tags: Ken Cuccinelli , Rick Perry , Rush Limbaugh , Sarah Palin , Virginia

A Virginia Mailer that Features Rick Perry! Sort of . . .


One bit of “good” news for Rick Perry . . . for Virginia’s Democrats, he has now reached the “bogeyman” status of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. This flyer, paid for by the Democratic party of Virginia, just arrived in my mailbox.

(Allow firearms on Virginia college campuses? Gee, the current ban proved so effective at Virginia Tech.)

The ad is attacking Republican Miller Baker, who seeks to unseat incumbent Democrat state senator George Barker.

In Quinnipiac’s latest poll of Virginia, 22 percent of northern Virginians had a favorable impression of Perry, 52 percent had an unfavorable impression, and 24 percent hadn’t heard enough about him to have an opinion. My “Yuppie Acres” neighborhood of Alexandria is heavily Democratic and probably follows national politics more closely than other parts of the state.

Tags: Michele Bachmann , Rick Perry , Sarah Palin , Virginia

Did Alaska’s Ethics Law End Up Picking the GOP 2012 Nominee?


A Palin fan wrote in, glad that I hadn’t taken glee in Sarah Palin’s decision to not run for president in 2012. No point in rubbing salt in anybody’s wound; disappointment is tough enough to take as is.

If you look back in the archives, Palin was the first candidate where I thought, “I could leave the world of journalism and join the campaign. It would be worth it to make history.” Then came the decision to quit the governorship. While that choice was understandable considering the financial strain her family was under, it made a 2012 bid vastly more difficult.


Remember, Palin backed the Alaska law that allowed anybody to file an ethics complaint that had to be legally reviewed, and the law (at least as it was ultimately interpreted up in Alaska) didn’t allow legal defense funds. In 2010, the law was changed so that the state would pay legal costs for officials cleared of ethics violations.

As Quin Hillyer put it:

Going Rogue is instructive. In it, she makes much of what she called the “rawhide-tough” ethics package that she shepherded through the state legislature. It clearly remains a point of deep pride for her. Yet Palin also writes that “disgruntled political operatives twisted the ethics reform process that I had championed into a weapon to use against me.” Later, she explained why:

Keep in mind that anyone anywhere in the world could file an Alaska ethics complaint free of charge. . . .They could flood the system at will and without consequence to themselves, but we had to formally process each and every complaint — and I had to pay personally for my own defense.

Yet it doesn’t seem to occur to her that this imbalance was the eminently predictable result of her own reforms. Experience in and around government teaches the lesson that getting tough on ethics is a two-edged sword. Without some sort of reasonable filter against frivolous complaints, then as night follows day it’s guaranteed that frivolous complaints will flow in. Without reasonable filters, the ethics laws become a cudgel against even the most honest of politicians — just as they did against Palin herself. Good intentions lead to hellish consequences, the public’s interest is sacrificed instead of served, and Palin herself felt moved to resign to escape the hellish process that her own handiwork created.

If Palin had been permitted a defense fund, I have no doubt that many conservatives would have and could have given to it; before it was deemed impermissable, Palin supporters had donated $386,000. Without the financial strain on her family and the distraction to her governing, perhaps then she never would have quit the governorship.


Palin, as a reelected successful second-term governor, would look very different in this 2012 field than Palin the pundit and public speaker.


Early on, a smart GOP strategist said to me, “The way you change the perception of a candidate is to change the reality of a candidate. If the candidate is seen as deficient in foreign policy, dive into it, take a trip abroad, meet foreign leaders, do all the things you can to change not merely the perception of inexperience in that area but the reality of how much the candidate knows and understands about that area.” To change the perception of Sarah Palin, she would have to change the reality. If the people think you’re dumb, make smart decisions and demonstrate positive results. (Her natural gas pipeline deal struck me as one of the best counter-arguments for this sort of thing . . .)


Instead, Palin made a bunch of decisions that didn’t focus on her perceived weaknesses — was she ready to be president, could she handle the job — and instead reinforced the strengths — the reality show, the Fox News deal, the lucrative speaking gigs, the Facebook posts, etc. Her fan base loved them, but they did noting to win over skeptics. If you don’t plan on running — and I have a hard time believing that she really remained 100 percent undecided until very recently — that’s fine. But if you do plan on running, you have to address your weak spots honestly and take them head-on.


Tags: Sarah Palin

Palin Fans, Left Wondering What to Do Next


In the Thursday Morning Jolt, the conservative blogosphere digests the news that Sarah Palin will not launch a presidential bid in the 2012 cycle:

Upside for Sarah Palin 2012 Fans: That Memorabilia Just Got Rarer and More Valuable

The news that Sarah Palin would not be running for president wasn’t as surprising as it might have been at the beginning of the year, or at any point in 2010 or 2009. As the legal deadlines approached (November 1 to qualify for the South Carolina ballot), and we saw no action out of the Palin camp, no hiring of staff, no reserving of campaign office space, no feelers out to fundraisers, and no word to the thousands of eager volunteers waiting for orders . . . well, the handwriting was on the wall. You’ll recall in the Morning Jolt of September 26 . . .

Why would a liberal — or anyone, really — feel presidential-level loathing over a figure that is unlikely to be running for president anytime soon?*

*Yes, yes, I know, she’s going to jump in right before the Nov. 1 deadline and shock the world and skeptics like me will have egg on our faces. We’ll see.

I kept hearing that if Palin wanted to jump in, she could run a different kind of campaign, that because of her huge name ID and her diehard fan base, she wouldn’t need all the infrastructure of a traditional campaign. The political world and technology have changed, but not that much. Somebody still has to organize the maximum turnout of supporters at the 1,784 caucuses in Iowa; somebody has to man the phone banks, design the mailers, answer the phone calls, tell the volunteers what to do and where to do it to be most effective, etc. The most important resource of any campaign is the time, attention, and energy of the candidate; the whole point of a campaign is to help do everything else that needs to be done so that the candidate’s time can be used most effectively. To do this, you need a team; to do that, you need to recruit, and to do that, you need, if not a declared campaign, a nascent one.

Kathryn noted a detail that some were buzzing about Wednesday night: “She did not leave the door open for a third-party run. Mark directly asked her and she answered: ‘the consideration is not there for a third party.’”

At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson is disappointed, but understands: “Probably for the better in the drive to unseat Obama, but only because of the political corruption of the media and establishment Republicans, who have been relentless in their attacks on her.  It disgusts me that a candidate of such quality cannot run as a practical matter, and that we are left with second and third choices.  But reality is reality, and it would have been a tough road to overcome the past three years. Palin had the opportunity to be a game-changer in the direction of this country; someone who really understood at a gut level how far down the road we are on the path to a country we will not recognize; someone who understands that the political class holds the country by the throat, and that removing the grip is necessary not just changing who holds the grip. I do not begrudge her the time she took at all.  I respect that she took the time, and in the end made a sound decision, even if it is a decision which leaves me profoundly disappointed in the coming year.”

Robert Stacy McCain posts a photo of a crow on a dinner plate, and also reports, “Just got off the phone with Michelle McCormick of Organize4Palin, who is in a bar in Clive, Iowa, working up a big bar tab. McCormick says she has ‘no regrets’ about spending months trying to build a grassroots campaign for Palin, and says she will ‘always have respect for Governor Palin.’”

. . . There was a wide variety of responses over at Conservatives4Palin, but I found this one interesting:

“I’m disappointed because I feel this will make Palin irrelevant in the future. She can’t forever be a 2008 V.P. candidate. No matter how she keeps denying it, a title does give you authority and respect. Soon she’ll be that has-been from Wasilla, I’m afraid. Then again, I don’t think the US deserves Palin. She has a track record one can only dream his representatives have, yet she has been treated beyond horribly. Americans deserve people like Obama and Romney. Not clean politicians who actually do fight for the little guy.”

A lot of the speculation last night surrounded where Palin supporters go now that she’s no longer an option: Herman Cain? Rick Perry? (It was striking that Michele Bachmann, once widely perceived as the candidate most similar to Palin, was so rarely mentioned.) Perhaps the answers is, “to no one, for now.” In Palin, her supporters saw something unique and special, and she had a deep emotional bond to her base. Those folks may not be all that eager to figure out who’s the next best thing.

Tags: Sarah Palin

No 2012 Bid for Sarah Palin


Sarah Palin will not be running for president in 2012.

Sen. John McCain responds, “Sarah announces she’s not running for president — I am confident she’ll continue to play an important role in our party and for our nation.”

One of my first thoughts is that it is a bit surprising that she would give the thumbs up to The Undefeated, which closes with her saying, “Mr. President, game on!” and certainly implies that a Palin-Obama showdown was in the works.

Tags: Sarah Palin

Hating Palin Now Is Like Hating Lloyd Bentsen in 1991


The week begins with another Morning Jolt

Palin-Bashing Finally, Finally, Finally Jumps the Shark

Let me go out on a crazy limb here and suggest that the lesson here is that quality matters, even in hastily-thrown together hit pieces:

The Hollywood Reporter: “ First week sales were tepid for both “Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs” and “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” Is public interest in the Wasilla family drama on the wane? Despite massive publicity, two new books chronicling the Sarah Palin soap opera—The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by veteran political writer Joe McGinnis and Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs by Bristol Palin baby daddy Levi Johnston—have gotten a lukewarm response from the buying public since their release on Tuesday. Hard sales numbers will not be available for a week but the rankings on Amazon and Barnes & Noble provide a good indication of consumer interest. The Rogue is ranked in the fifties on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Deer in the Headlights is hovering in the seven hundreds on Amazon and in the two hundreds on Barnes & Noble. Both books had weak pre-sale numbers as well with The Rogue in the high hundreds and Deer in the Headlights in the high thousands.”

Upon reading the headline, I figured it was only a matter of time before the article speculated lack of public interest in two books out to repeat every negative rumor imaginable somehow reflects badly on the political prospects of Sarah Palin. And that’s in there, but in a somewhat more sensible form than we might expect: “What the weak sales say about Sarah Palin’s political future is hard to assess.  Most Americans have already made up their mind about Palin, pro or con. Those who support Palin tend to dismiss The Rogue as unsubstantiated gossip and for those who dislike her, the most salacious details just confirm their worst impression of the former Alaska governor… [Johnston] had one story to tell and now that he’s told it, the public interest in him is sure to dim.  The soft book sales of The Rogue and the poor ratings for last fall’s TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska suggest limits to the public’s interest in Palin when the story is not directly centered on a potential presidential campaign.”

If you’re a liberal, haven’t you spent more of the past couple weeks waking up in a cold sweat over the prospect of President Perry than President Palin? Mind you, this is separate from assessing which one should be the Republican nominee; the phenomenon reflects, I suspect, which one based on recent events has gotten more attention and has been treated as the more likely GOP nominee.

Why would a liberal – or anyone, really – feel presidential-level loathing over a figure that is unlikely to be running for president anytime soon?* I don’t think there’s that same phenomenon on the Right, although I could be wrong. Let’s posit that few of us are capable of the blinding, frothing-at-the-mouth fury that many liberals exhibit in their feelings towards Palin. Even grading on a curve, could you imagine feeling years of uncontrollable disdain for the running mate on a losing opposition ticket? Looking at others who have played that role in American politics, do you find yourself enraged by… Joe Lieberman? John Edwards? Memories of the late Lloyd Bentsen? Memories of the late Geraldine Ferraro? Walter Mondale?

In fact, there’s something fascinating about the flavor-of-the-month format of liberal rage. Do lefties still seethe about Glenn Beck? Or how about Ann Coulter? Is it just me, or do Rush and Sean not quite generate the same level of how-dare-they rage as they used to? I’m not saying that liberals have grown to like these figures, just that they seem to move on to new lightning rods for their outrage – Andrew Breitbart, Scott Walker, the Koch brothers… Wasn’t Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer supposed to be the ultimate embodiment of political evil not long ago?

I suppose we do some of this on the right. Has Keith Olbermann made you grind your teeth lately? You watch some of this news and wonder what he would say if he had a television show today. … What’s that? He has a television show? Well, I mean on a cable network or something. … What’s that? You say ‘Current’ technically qualifies as a cable network?

Don Surber: “The books try to cash in on the foaming hatred of Sarah Palin from the Left but there is no market for this trash. After 2 1/2 years of President Obama, a John McCain-Sarah Palin alternative is no longer seen as the worst scenario in the universe that 4 more years of President Obama does.”

New York magazine concludes, “people do, in fact, care about something other than Sarah Palin’s stovetop skills and her embittered almost-son-in-law.”

Zip at Weasel Zippers summarizes, “Sales Of Both Joe McGinnis And Levi Johnston Anti-Palin Books Bomb… Andrew Sullivan hardest hit.”

*Yes, yes, I know, she’s going to jump in right before the Nov. 1 deadline and shock the world and skeptics like me will have egg on our faces. We’ll see.

Tags: Sarah Palin

Palin in Iowa: Fine Speech, Unless You Wanted an Announcement


I wasn’t able to watch Sarah Palin’s speech yesterday; this morning I finally had a chance to read the transcript.


Having just read it, I’d say it reads like a pretty darn fine speech, at least as a diagnosis (or partial diagnosis) of what is holding America back.

Sure, she lamented “even some good conservatives” who “talk vaguely about cuts and then they move on,” and then seemed to embody this flaw when she later proposed to “rein in burdensome regulations that are a boot on our neck. Get government out of the way. Let the private sector breathe and grow.” After emphasizing how important entitlement reform was, she said, “Entitlement reform is our duty now, and it must be done in a way that honors our commitment to our esteemed elders today, while keeping faith with future generations.” Er, okay, but how? Raise the retirement age? Means-test for benefits? Raise payroll taxes? Reduce benefits?

It’s fine and admirable to call for eliminating corporate welfare, but some examples would be helpful. Say, Solyndra?

Finally, I’m sure if you traveled to Iowa, or watched live out of an eager expectation that this was the long-awaited presidential announcement, it was tortuous and/or a disappointment.

But even with all of that, it was a better mix of plain-spoken arguments and one-liners than we’ve seen from anyone else on the trail so far this year. You read the mix of serious jabs and humor, like this passage . . .

Just look what happened during the debt-ceiling debate. We’d been given warning after warning that our credit rating would be downgraded if politicians didn’t get serious about tackling the debt and deficit problem. But instead of making the real cuts that are necessary, they used Enron-like accounting gimmicks, and they promised that if they were just allowed to spend trillions more today, they’d cut billions ten years from now. By some magical thinking, they figured they could run up trillion dollar deficits year after year, yet still somehow avoid the unforgiving mathematics that led to the downgrade. Well, they got a rude awakening from the rest of the world, and that’s that even America isn’t “too big to fail.”

When we finally did get slapped with that inevitable downgraded, the politicians and the pundits turned around and blamed us — independent commonsense conservatives. We got blamed! They called us un-American and terrorists and suicide bombers and . . . hobbits . . . couldn’t understand that one.

And what is the President’s answer to this enormous debt problem? It’s just spend more money. Only you can’t call it “spending” now. Now you got to call it “investing.” Don’t call it “spending.” Call it “investing.” It’s kind of like what happens with FEMA and some of these other bureaucratic agencies that don’t really want to refer to our centralized federal government as “government.” Now it’s called the “federal family.” Am I too old to ask to be emancipated? Never thought I’d say it, but I want a divorce.

And you see why she’s such an effective communicator, when she’s at the top of her game.

Still, if Sarah Palin does intend to run for president, she is running up a bit close against the “official” deadline, November 1, which is to file papers to appear on the ballot in South Carolina. (She or her supporters would have to submit her name for inclusion on the ballot in Florida the preceding day, October 31.) The deadline for New Hampshire is the third Friday in November.

So we’re now less than two months away from that hard deadline. Having had several years to chew over this big decision, it’s hard to believe that she isn’t at least leaning one way or the other. If she wants to run, what does she gain by delaying? If she doesn’t want to run, why not come out and say it and let her supporters have more time to evaluate the field?

I’ll be discussing Dick Cheney’s book, Sarah Palin, and the Obama jobs-speech scheduling on CNN’s Reliable Sources at 11 a.m.

Tags: Sarah Palin

Palin Goes to Iowa, Which Means... What?


I’ve been called out on Twitter for “ignor[ing] this BIG breaking story” this evening. Never mind that it’s been out for an hour and I’ve been on solo daddy duty for six hours with a toddler with – well, let’s just say messy gastro-intestinal issues; the fact that I didn’t write about it immediately seems to generate some worries of a continuing conspiracy aimed at downplaying the possibility of a Sarah Palin presidential bid.

The story:

Sarah Palin is making a surprise trip to Iowa this weekend, just in time to catch the political spotlight trained on the Ames straw poll.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Palin said she’s accepted an invitation “to meet folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week.”

Palin doesn’t say which day she plans to appear at the fair, which coincides with the straw poll but is a separate event about half an hour away. An Iowa GOP activist who is close to Palin, Becky Beach, told the Des Moines Register the visit was slated for Friday.

Palin writes that the trip marks the latest installment in her “One Nation” bus tour. She spent a week in late May touring East Coast historical sites on the last leg of the bus tour.

She’s been in Alaska since then, except for a high-profile trip to Pella, Iowa, in June, when she attended the local premiere of a documentary about her political rise.

So there you have it. Sarah Palin, who has given periodic comments about “fire in the belly,” but who has hired little if any staff for a potential presidential campaign, whose PAC has $1.4 million on hand (and that money cannot be transferred to a presidential campaign), has taken one more step that kinda sorta might be hinting towards a run, but we’re not sure.

Meanwhile, Bachmann is actually running and Perry appears set to jump in, two figures whose natural constituencies would seem to overlap with Palin’s. As I’ve noted, the closest thing we have to an actual deadline for a presidential campaign is November 1 filing deadline to appear on the ballot in South Carolina. Of course, Florida is still deciding their primary date, and the special committee of state lawmakers selecting the new date has to have it picked out by October 1; depending on how early they make their primary date, they may choose to make the filing deadline earlier than November 1.

Is Palin running? If she is, she’s waiting until the last possible minute to assemble the apparatus of a campaign – the manager, the radio, television, and Internet advertising team, the advance team setting up events in every key primary state, etc. Yes, if she runs, she’ll have access to many enthusiastic grassroots supporters, but a high-stakes presidential campaign is a rough time to have amateurs learning as they go.

Palin’s decision making is way too unpredictable for someone on the outside to say definitively that she’s running or not running. But if she isn’t running, this lack of activity and assembly as the campaign heats up will make a lot more sense.

Tags: Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin to GOP House Freshmen: We Still Believe in Contested Primaries


It’s the last line from Sarah Palin’s most recent Facebook post, a message to GOP House freshmen, that is likely to get their attention:

Out here in proverbial politico flyover country, we little folk are watching the debt ceiling debate with great interest and concern. Today I re-read the open letter I wrote to Republican Freshman Members of Congress in November 2010, just days after they were ushered into office in an historic landslide victory due in large part to the activism of commonsense patriots who are considered part of the Tea Party movement. I respectfully ask these GOP Freshman to re-read this letter and remember us “little people” who believed in them, donated to their campaigns, spent hours tirelessly volunteering for them, and trusted them with our votes. This new wave of public servants may recall that they were sent to D.C. for such a time as this.

The original letter is pasted below, with added emphasis to certain passages that I feel are especially relevant to the current discussion. 

All my best to you, GOP Freshmen, from up here in the Last Frontier.


Sarah Palin

P.S. Everyone I talk to still believes in contested primaries.

If she were any clearer, they would have woken up with horse’s heads in their beds this morning.

The emphasized sections of her previous message: “[S]tick to the principles that propelled your campaigns. When you take your oath to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office, remember that present and future generations of “We the People” are counting on you to stand by that oath. Never forget the people who sent you to Washington. Never forget the trust they placed in you to do the right thing… Republicans campaigned on a promise to rein in out-of-control government spending… These are promises that you must keep… You’ve also got to be deadly serious about cutting the deficit… In order to avert a fiscal disaster, we will also need to check the growth of spending on our entitlement programs. That will be a huge challenge, but it must be confronted head on… 

Remember that some in the media will love you when you stray from the time-tested truths that built America into the most exceptional nation on earth. When the Left in the media pat you on the back, quickly reassess where you are and readjust, for the liberals’ praise is a warning bell you must heed. Trust me on that. These are the men and women who sent you to Washington. May your work and leadership honor their faith in you.”

Of course, in the eyes of John Boehner and his allies, his plan is the best remaining option to stick to the principles that propelled their campaigns, rein in out-of-control government spending, and so on. And it’s not like Boehner’s plan is generating many pats on the back from “the Left in the media.”

Tags: Sarah Palin


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