Posted on | August 15, 2011 | 84 Comments
Sarah Palin thronged by admirers during her Friday visit to the Iowa State Fair.
Does the headline seem a tad redundant? Never mind. My travels around Iowa and yesterday’s 700-mile trip with Ladd Ehlinger down here to Alabama have kept me offline so much that I haven’t had much time to keep up with headlines, e-mails and such. (I’m waaaaaay behind on thank-you notes to tip-jar hitters.) So now I’m doing some catch-up blogging, and the first thing I stumbled across was the POH Diaries post about a 56-year-old music teacher who “was caught nude performing sex acts on a childlike doll that police say he had cut holes into.”
Was it a boy doll or a girl doll? The newspaper story doesn’t say:
Officers were called to Allendale Elementary School on Prescott Way in Spring Hill amid reports of a white male with a duffle bag under a bridge on school property. . . .
According to Torroll, he suffers from an attention deficit disorder which he says affects his inability to resist certain sexual impulses, though none of which involve children. . . .
On the Web site DannyTorroll.com, the Web site for the Danny Torroll Skool of Music and Art, Torroll says he teaches “eight very gifted students” ranging in age from seven to 12-years-old.
He describes the school as “an anomaly in the upper education platform for serious students of all instruments,” according to the site.
Is he teaching flute lessons to these “very gifted students”? And if he has the “inability to resist” an impulse to have sex with a doll outside an elementary school, what other impulses does Danny Torroll find irresistible? Again, the article doesn’t tell us. But speaking of twisted freaks with irresistible impulses . . .
Why can’t Andrew Sullivan resist the impulse to mock Sarah Palin?
Really, Sully: Did you have to turn a photo caption of Sarah Palin’s toenails into a post? Is your sadistic compulsion to diminish and ridicule women so overwhelming that you lack the willpower to necessary to fight the urge? Do you lack even the basic self-awareness necessary to recognize that your persistent symptoms of Palin Derangement Syndrome reinforce harmful stereotypes of gay men as vicious weaklings with “mommy issues”? And if not, are you such a reckless misogynist as to disregard how your attacks on Governor Palin foster hostility to women in politics?
Expecting restraint and self-awareness from Andrew Sullivan is a doomed hope, of course, but it is interesting to see that Sully’s PDS has continued long past the point where any serious observer believes Palin will run for president in 2012.
This reality — that the clock has run out on any realistic prospect of a Palin 2012 campaign — is one I hesitate to mention, for fear of offending those of her supporters who continue to hold out hope that Palin will mount a last-minute blitz campaign for the White House. While I don’t doubt that Mama Grizzly could do that, I have seen no indication that she will do that, and have been puzzled by her refusal to say definitively that she won’t do that.
Consider this: With all the assets at his disposal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent more than two months building the campaign machinery necessary to officially launch his presidential campaign in mid-August. So if Palin were to begin such an effort tomorrow — and there is no tangible evidence she’s planning anything of the kind — the earliest she could jump into the 2012 race would be mid-October, by which time many of those grassroots volunteers who might have supported her will have already committed to other campaigns.
By continuing to keep alive a tiny glimmering hope of her 2012 candidacy, long after the point when the whole “testing the waters” time-frame has passed its sell-by date, Palin is setting up her True Believers for a bitter disillusionment whenever the time comes for her to officially admit that she’s not running.
And I say that with full knowledge that the governor’s most devoted admirers will excoriate me for saying it, as if speaking the blunt truth makes me “anti-Palin.” Yet I have long defended Palin and her family, and have nothing but sympathy for all that she has endured the past three years.
What really bothers me is this: Last week I met with Peter Singleton and Michelle McCormick of Iowa for Palin, who continue to believe that a Palin 2012 campaign is inevitable. They have both moved to Iowa (Singleton from California, McCormick from Texas) to volunteer full-time as grassroots organizers on Palin’s behalf. When I talked to them about it, though, I was shocked to discover that Singleton and McCormick have done this without having any communications with Palin or Palin’s inner circle of advisers.
That is to say, they have no reason — other than their own True Believer enthusiasm — for thinking that Palin actually will run for president, and yet have upended their lives to lead this grassroots organizing effort.
Singleton and McCormick were eager to convince me to attend the “Restoring America” Tea Party rally where Palin will speak Labor Day weekend in Waukee, Iowa. I told them I’d love to be there, if the tip-jar hitters decide to send me, but that’s the point, you see: I’m happy to provide coverage of the event, as a service to readers, but I’d be nuts to go to Iowa at my own expense in order to cover what would appear to be a gigantic publicity stunt by someone who merely pretends to be considering a presidential campaign.
And that’s exactly how it appears, whether Sarah Palin intends it to appear that way or not. As I say, I’m fully aware that I’ll be excoriated for being so blunt about this, but it strikes me as grossly unfair to people like Peter Singleton and Michelle McCormick for me to bite my tongue. While I was at the Iowa State Fair last week to cover speeches by Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, I accidentally bumped into the gigantic swarm of admirers following Sarah Palin around:
At the 9-second mark, you’ll hear me say, “Hey, Peter” — a greeting to Singleton, the gray-haired guy in sunglasses and an olive green golf shirt standing about three-deep in the crowd to the left. When I checked the Twitter feed for Iowa for Palin, I noticed that they’d linked an ABC News story:
Palin said she hasn’t decided whether she would run for president, but suggested she was leaning toward a bid, adding: “When we’re ready to announce … you won’t be able to miss the announcement.”
And after sending out that link, Iowa for Palin then Tweeted: “Do you think any of the other candidates who have been confidently telling activists that Gov. Palin isn’t going to run will apologize to those activists for misleading them, once Gov. Palin gets in the race?”
This scapegoats other Republican candidates, projecting onto them the responsibility for Palin’s own apparent indecision. But I noticed a telling omission: Nothing on Iowa for Palin’s Twitter feed or their blog indicated that Sarah Palin had even spoken to them during her Iowa visit, much less that she had given them any definite insight on her plans for 2012. Instead, Peter Singleton was following her around the state fairgrounds, three-deep in the scrum, no closer than I’d gotten merely by squeezing in to shoot a few pictures and a brief video clip.
If I am proven wrong — if Governor Palin does suddenly decide to jump into the 2012 campaign at the last minute — then I’ll apologize for having been mistaken. But I am not responsible for the fact that Palin doesn’t communicate with me, and in fact only communicates via Fox News, so that I have no more chance to ask her what she’s doing than does Peter Singleton, who appears to be completely in the dark.
Sarah Palin can tell Sean Hannity that she is “still considering” a 2012 campaign, and that’s OK: It’s just show business.
Hannity gets paid to ask her that question, and Palin gets paid to answer it, and News Corp. makes a profit from the ratings boost they get from their exclusive contract with the Make-Believe Presidential Candidate. And I’ve been in the news business too long to lay aside my cynical hunch that this is all there is to it.
My friend Dan Riehl seems to think otherwise — his post “Why Sarah Palin Needs To Run For President In 2012” was also re-Tweeted by Iowa for Palin — and it would be hard to conceive that I (or anyone else) could be more cynical about politics than Dan Riehl. Yet if there is any urge I find irresistible, it is my urge to avoid being a chump, a True Believer living on irrational hopes and dreams. Therefore, unless and until Palin officially declares her 2012 presidential candidacy, I’ll continue to scorn such talk as deluded True-Believer-ism, the naive babblings of chumps who’ve been bamboozled by a show-biz publicity stunt.
The only good thing about this is the knowledge that even the thinnest prospect of a 2012 Palin campaign must be haunting Sully’s nightmares.
Here’s wishing you unpleasant dreams, Andrew!
UPDATE: Well, I was wrong about something: Peter Singleton just called to tell me that, contrary to my impression, he and Michelle McCormick were invited to have lunch with Governor Palin, and then invited to accompany the governor on her walk around the fairgrounds.
My apologies for the mistake, which is entirely my fault. However, if I was wrong about that, could it also mean that I’m wrong about Palin’s plans for 2012? I don’t know. But if I am wrong . . .
Be afraid, Sully — be very afraid!
UPDATE II: When I began this post, I said I’d been “offline so much” that I’d missed a lot of things, among them this L.A Times story that would have cleared up my mistaken impression that Singleton was just randomly following Palin at the fair:
“Each campaign that I have ever run in these 20 years of elective office have been kind of unconventional, right, Todd? We’ve always been outspent, two-to-one, five-to-one, 10-to-one. Never won any polls heading into election night. But usually won the election. So it would be unconventional and very grass roots.”
Palin, who has a small, far-flung staff, some of whom are not experienced in national politics, added, “And I wouldn’t be out there looking for hires out of that political bubble that seemed to result in the same old ideas, the same old talking points, the things that Americans get so sick and tired of hearing and kind of suffering through. We want new energy, we want conviction and passion and candidness.” . . .
If she decided to run, Palin would not be starting from scratch here, where California attorney Peter Singleton, a supporter, has been living virtually full-time, criss-crossing the state meeting Iowans, building a database for Palin should she decide to run for president. He began his work without any coordination with SarahPAC, her political organization, but is now on Palin’s radar.
Singleton was invited to lunch with her in the fair’s VIP tent, and spent the rest of the afternoon at her side, a self-appointed bodyguard of sorts. He had met her last month in Pella, Iowa, at the premiere of filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon’s documentary about her, “The Undefeated.”
Palin also invited Craig Robinson, the founder of the website the Iowa Republican to lunch. Robinson said he had a five-minute chat with Palin.
I’m feeling like a mushroom here. IYKWIMAITYD.
Whatever Palin is doing by way of preparation for a run is not what one is accustomed to seeing. Stacy is looking for the expected, not seeing it and concluding it’s too late for her. I’m looking at what I know and don’t know, while leaving a little room for what I don’t know I don’t know and concluding she’s running. Simple, isn’t it?
When I talked to Dan by phone a few minutes ago, he said, “Stacy don’t take it personally.” But when I am insulted — and to be purposefully excluded is to be insulted — it would compound my humiliation not to take notice of the insult.
Bear in mind that the people on Team Sarah have my phone number and e-mail address, and I know they read this blog. It wasn’t exactly a secret that I was in Iowa last week, and it was possible for them to let me know their itinerary. Instead, as always, they allow other news organizations — including liberal news organizations inimicable to their own interests — break exclusive news about their Iowa trip, while purposefully keeping me out of the loop. And when I dare take notice of these unsubtle backhands, I’m accused of being “too sensitive.”
When I want to make a fool out of myself, I don’t usually ask for help in doing so, and appreciate all this volunteer assistance from Team Sarah.