Posted on | September 15, 2011 | 136 Comments
While I am grateful for the enthusiastic response to my suggestion that Sarah Palin’s supporters donate to create a legal defense fund for her husband, some of the commenters seem to be under the impression that I’m joking about this. But you see, as a veteran of 25 years in the news business, I understand the tangible publicity value of the Todd Palin “One Nation Joe McGinnis Ass-Whupping Tour.” And if you think about GOP primary voters, the benefits in terms of political strategy should be obvious enough. Imagine the headlines:
New York Post, Oct. 6, 2011
Author of Palin Smear Book Hospitalized,
Todd Charged After ‘Brutal’ NY Assault
Joe McGinniss underwent emergency surgery Wednesday night after police say the author was beaten senseless by Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s husband Todd at a Manhattan party where McGinniss was signing copies of his new book about the former Alaska governor.
“It was one of the most brutal attacks I’ve ever seen,” said Venona Wineglass, who was waiting in line to get her copy of the controversial anti-Palin book signed at the Upper West Side reception when, she said, Todd “came out of nowhere” and began punching McGinniss. “He was just like bam, bam, bam, and it took three guards to pull him off.”
While police charged Todd Palin with assault and resisting arrest, his wife was campaigning in South Carolina, two weeks after officially announcing her GOP presidential candidacy. Her campaign spokesman refused comment on the McGinniss incident, while the candidate — currently a distant third in polls, behind Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — told a rally in Spartanburg, S.C., that she wants to “focus on the issues important to ordinary Americans and not be distracted by the lamestream media.”
Surgeons at St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital expect McGinniss to be able to continue his book tour despite his injuries . . .
Politico, Oct. 12, 2011
Palin Passes Romney in New Poll
Sarah Palin has moved into second place among Republican presidential contenders, passing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the latest Rasmussen poll.
The former Alaska governor, whose late September announcement stunned nearly all political observers, was at 21% in the Rasmussen survey conducted Oct. 8-10, up nine points over a poll conducted just five days earlier, and ahead of Romney, whose support dropped to 16%. Texas Gov. Rick Perry remained in first place in the GOP field, according to Rasmussen, although his 32% number in the latest survey is down slightly from his previous 34%.
Several analysts attributed Romney’s dip in the polls to his statement last week condemning Todd Palin’s beating of Joe McGinniss . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 14, 2011
Palin’s Husband Arrested After
Second Assault on McGinniss
The husband of GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin was arrested Tuesday after police say he attacked author Joe McGinniss at a Rittenhouse Square bookstore where McGinniss was signing copies of his controversial new “unauthorized biography” of the former Alaska governor.
Police Lt. Darnell Robinson said Todd Palin was arrested on charges of assault and resisting arrest after he suddenly rushed McGinniss at the Barnes & Noble where the author of “Rogue” had just begun reading from the book. It was the second such attack on McGinniss in the past two weeks, and Lt. Robinson said a police officer on duty was able to restrain Mr. Palin “after two or three punches.”
McGinniss suffered “multiple contusions and broken teeth,” according to a spokeswoman at University Hospital, where the author was treated and released. Mr. Palin was released on $50,000 bail after a hearing where municipal judge Vincent D’Anofrio ordered the Republican candidate’s husband to wear a radio-monitoring device pending another pre-trial hearing next month . . .
Media Matters, Oct. 15
Limbaugh Applauds McGinniss Beating;
‘Hit Him Again, Todd,’ Radio Host Says
Right-wing talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh yesterday endorsed Todd Palin’s repeated attacks on investigative journalist Joe McGinnisss, whose new book chronicles the genuine evil of Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
“Damn right, he deserved it,” Limbaugh said on his Wednesday show, calling Todd Palin an “American hero” after his second savage beating of McGinniss at a Philadelphia bookstore Tuesday.
“It’s about time some of these lowlife maggots like McGinniss learned they can’t just print lies about Republicans — hit him again, Todd!” Limbaugh said, introducing a Paul Shanklin parody song set to the tune of Michael Jackson’s 1982 song, “Beat It.”
Limbaugh also issued a challenge to what he called “femi-nazis,” demanding that they condemn McGinniss’s sexual innuendo against Sarah Palin . . .
Washington Post, Oct. 19
Palin Refuses to Condemn Husband’s
Attacks on ‘Smear Merchant’ McGinnis
Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin said she is not responsible for her husband’s assaults on the author of a controversial “unauthorized biography” of her, but refused to make a direct condemnation of Todd Palin’s beatings which have twice sent Joe McGinniss to the hospital.
“Todd is just Todd, you know,” Palin said during a Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press,” where she was repeatedly asked about her husband’s assaults on McGinniss. “I mean, he’s always been kinda protective of me, and I’ve tried to tell him he shouldn’t be beating on people like that but I guess . . . Well, he’s kinda got a bit of temper sometimes.”
However, Palin dismissed McGinniss’s book as the work of “a disgusting smear merchant trying to make money off a bunch of lies,” and said the headlines about her husband’s one-man war against McGinniss were “just a lamestream media tactic to distract people from the real issues that matter to America.” . . .
New York Times, Oct. 21
Palin Now First in GOP Field
Candidate Unexpectedly Surges in New Poll
Sarah Palin has moved to first place in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll of likely Republican primary voters, eclipsing former front-runner Rick Perry.
Palin’s unexpected surge — now with 37% support in the nationwide survey conducted Oct. 15-17 — comes despite a flurry of negative coverage of her campaign and the controversy surrounding her husband, Todd, who has twice made physical assaults against investigative journalist Joe McGinniss, author of a new book about the former Alaska governor.
“This completely defies conventional wisdom,” said longtime political analyst Larry Sabato, describing Palin’s gain as “freakish . . . maybe a statistical anomaly of some kind.”
Meanwhile, thousands of supporters in Manchester, N.H., chanted “Todd! Todd! Todd!” at a Thursday rally where Palin’s husband appeared briefly onstage with the new GOP front-runner. Vendors did a brisk business selling “Hit Him Again, Todd” T-shirts and bumper stickers at the mid-day event, where Sarah Palin said economic growth “remains the No. 1 focus of my campaign, despite all the smears and distractions from the lamestream media.” . . .
USA Today, Oct. 25
Author McGinniss in Seclusion,
Search for Todd Palin Continues
A nationwide manhunt for Todd Palin continued for a second day Monday, and author Joe McGinniss cancelled the remaining dates on his book tour after the husband of GOP front-runner Sarah Palin eluded an FBI dragnet.
Police say that Todd Palin’s “whereabout are still unknown” after he apparently removed a radio-monitoring device — ordered by a Philadelphia judge following Palin’s second beating of McGinniss Oct. 13 — sometime Sunday morning. The candidate’s husband had been scheduled to join her at an afternoon rally Sunday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, but did not appear at the event. Palin campaign officials say they haven’t seen Todd since he left a Des Moines hotel without explanation that morning.
The mysterious disappearance came shortly after McGinniss appeared on “Meet the Press” and reiterated several of the accusations made in his controversial unauthorized biography of the former Alaska governor. McGinniss had been scheduled to appear at a Chicago book-signing party Monday afternoon, but cancelled the event after Todd Palin went missing and a red Ford Bronco, leased by the Palin campaign, was found abandoned in the parking lot of a commuter rail station in suburban Oak Park, Ill., Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin continued her four-day bus tour of Iowa. Now leading by double-digits in the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, Palin did not directly address the controversy surrounding her fugitive husband Tuesday night at a rally in Davenport, where an unexpectedly large crowd — estimated at more than 20,000 — waved signs with slogans like “Go Get Him, Todd!” and “We [Heart] First Dude.”
Sarah Palin told the cheering crowd “we have to keep focused on economic growth, putting an end to crony capitalism and fixing the mess in Washington, D.C.” She said supporters shouldn’t “be distracted by phony controversies ginned up by the lamestream media.” . . .
Now, this is merely a hypothetical and I grant that some readers may indulge a laugh at the mental image of Joe McGinniss flinching at every loud noise for fear of another brutal Todd Palin ass-whupping, but that’s not the same as me admitting it’s just a joke. This is known as the Stacy McCain Plausible Deniability Clause in the campaign journalism Code of Ethics, because whatever I may write about any candidate, the campaign can always offer the official response, “Oh, hell, it’s Stacy McCain — everybody knows he’s crazy,” and they’re automatically off the hook for whatever “sources close to the campaign” may have told me.
Pleading insanity is more than a legal tactic, of course. It’s also a valuable marketing tool. Let’s face it, this blog gets thousands of hits a day from people just clicking over out of curiosity: “What kind of crazy stuff has that fool written this time?”
Absolute gonzo has rarely been tried as a political strategy. However, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, and if Todd Palin shows up at a Joe McGinniss book signing — just for a “friendly chat,” you see, rather than a felonious assualt — maybe some of y’all will realize that my “One Nation Ass-Whupping Tour” idea was only half-joking.
I’m not saying which half, though.
TODD PALIN LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
Just in Case He Actually Needs It, IYKWIMAITYD