The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Mixed Signals from Sarah Palin Produce Pure Frustration for the Political Press

Posted on | August 23, 2011 | 31 Comments

Sarah Palin poses for a photo with supporters at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 12.

This morning Smitty taunted me via Twitter with a link to Ed Morrissey’s post Monday about the will-she-or-won’t-she question: What’s up with this Sept. 3 Tea Party rally in Indianola, Iowa? Ed makes a good point:

Politicians don’t win the Iowa caucus with showy, one-off events.  They have to conduct the retail politicking that the declared candidates are currently conducting all across the state.  That means going to small events as well as large ones, traveling through all of the small towns and shaking hands, and asking voters now to caucus for them in 2012.

Exactly: Let us stipulate that any event with Sarah Palin would be “large” by comparison with, say, the 50 or so voters who showed up for Rick Santorum’s barn party. Still, the fact remains that Iowa caucus-goers prefer to vote for candidates they’ve met face-to-face, and the winner will likely have shaken 50,000 hands by Feb. 6. As Ed says, “Palin would need to win Iowa to have a path to the nomination,” and if she’s going to win it, she’ll have to get busy pretty soon to catch up with the handshaking that’s already been done by her rivals.

Time’s a-wastin’, in other words.

However, I said Smitty had “taunted me” because I’m sick and tired of speculation. We need facts, not theories. And in terms of facts, there is nothing to be discovered unless and until Governor Palin says whether she’s running or not.

She’s got my phone number. She could call me.

But that’s obviously not going to happen, so what am I left with? Reporting other people’s speculation!

Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of event host Tea Party of America, told he doesn’t know what Palin will do at the rally, but that “all we’re being told is that she’s going to make a major announcement.”

Why am I annoyed? Because Gruschow’s phone number is in my speed-dial. I interviewed him in July about the Herman Cain campaign. I called him Sunday and didn’t get an answer. But when Fox News calls . . .

Anyway, one of our keen-eyed readers noticed something about the suspiciously campaign-ad-looking Iowa video Palin released last week. Watch closely:

At the 1:55 mark, Palin shakes hands with a girl in an “Americans for Rick Perry” T-shirt and then is seen posing for a photo with the girl and her Texas friends:

These are the same “Phantom Menace” girls I interviewed Aug. 9 at the state capital, and Rick Perry is thus the only other Republican candidate acknowledged in the Palin video. Given the elaborate editing that went into this production, is it likely that Palin would have approved a visual nod to Perry as a mere coincidence?

I don’t think so.

So if Palin is not going to announce her own candidacy on Sept. 3 — and see CNN’s Peter Hamby’s analysis of signals that she isn’t planning such an announcement — is she planning to endorse Rick Perry? That was one of the scenarios to which I alluded in my Monday column for The American Spectator:

Palin’s visit to Des Moines was no sooner announced than it was dismissed by all the reputable pundits as a publicity stunt, a made-for-TV gesture intended strictly to “build her brand” and maintain her image as “relevant” to the political process as a Fox News commentator. With Texas Gov. Rick Perry set to enter the 2012 campaign later that week, the conventional wisdom said, there simply wasn’t room in the field for Palin and, after all, hadn’t she endorsed Perry in his 2010 GOP primary fight against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison? Hadn’t Palin praised Perry as a candidate she could support for 2012? Wasn’t Perry often described as a “Palin ally”? . . .

You can read the whole thing — already 200 comments and counting.

If readers want me to go to the Indianola rally, hit the freaking tip jar. Or if Sarah Palin reads this: Call me, so we can end the unbearable suspense.

UPDATE: Now Palin’s posted this:

Setting The Record Straight: Wrong & Misleading

Posted on August 23, 2011
Three years ago DC pundits predicted with glee the demise of Sarah Palin’s political career. This past weekend their tune changed, citing false information that she has made a decision and set a date regarding a future campaign. Any professional pundit claiming to have “inside information” regarding Governor Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public. These are the same tired establishment political games that fuel the 24 hour news cycle and that all Americans will hopefully reject in 2012, and this is more of the “politics-as-usual” that Sarah Palin has fought against throughout her career.
PS – Kudos to CNN for setting the record straight and including Governor Palin’s own words.

What does this mean? Your guess is as good as mine.

Certainly I’m not a “professional pundit” — that’s above my pay-grade — so who is the target of this jibe? Karl Rove? John Fund? Erick Erickson? Allahpundit?

But you see how Palin actively incites media hatred of her, with her dismissive reference to “the 24 hour news cycle,” a comment that will be noted as ironic, coming from a paid contributor to a cable network that is No. 1 in . . . the 24 hour news cycle.


31 Responses to “Mixed Signals from Sarah Palin Produce Pure Frustration for the Political Press”

  1. Bob Belvedere
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    Bravo to whoever made that observation. 

  2. TC_LeatherPenguin
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    I like her, but she has to get on the stage or start singing an aria, because I, personally, have seen this “Mario Coumo” bullshit before, and it didn’t sell then

  3. TC_LeatherPenguin
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 3:09 pm


  4. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    And thanks for your comment, Bob, because you triggered a synaptic connection that lit a light-bulb over my head:


    She is under contract to Fox News, and her contract would almost certainly preclude her officially endorsing any candidate. Fox executives forced Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee to fish or cut bait in March (Santorum and Gingrich got it; Huck stayed out) and those guys have to be seriously annoyed at Palin being permitted another six months of will-she-or-won’t-she time. For Palin to endorse Perry now would almost certainly be a deal-breaker with Fox; she might as well declare herself a candidate as to endorse Perry.

    So . . . what’s the “major announcement” for Sept. 3? Just saw Chris Stirewalt of the Examiner on Fox suggesting the possibility that the “major announcement” will be some new initiative for SarahPAC. That would be kinda anti-climactic for the True Believers, but it sounds like a reasonable guess. And that’s all we have now, is guesses.

  5. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    It pisses me off, too, TC. But that’s another one of those above-my-pay-grade decisions over which I have no influence.

  6. rosalie
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    I heard somewhere that they have until November 22 to throw their hat in.  She has a pretty established following already.  She has done the handshaking a zillion times.  She’s thoroughly vetted, so she’s ahead of everyone there.  I have total confidence in her that she knows exactly what she’s doing.   

  7. Eliza
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    re: the people with Rick Perry T-shirts in the video:
    I think the purpose of this is not to hint that she will ensorse Perry, but to show how much latent support for her is out there.  These Perry fans cannot be that committed to him if they turn up to meet her excitedly. She is demonstrating the fact that there are many people waiting on her, who are supporting second choices for now.

    I would be very surprised if she endorsed Perry (prior to spring 2012 at least, if he seems to clearly headed towards being nominee).  As of Monday, he is on record as telling people not to use his book (written in Nov!) as a blueprint for 2012 – that it is just a “look back”. He has many questionable things in his past as well­. He does not seem anywhere near the candidate she would be. He has also not been vetted AT ALL.  Can you think of a single sentence in Sarah Palin’s two books that she would not whole-heartedly still endorse as her beliefs?
    I mean, all she has to do is point out what she was doing in the 1990s and what Perry was doing (being a Democrat until an opportunist moment came along). I think some people are in for a major upset when she announces.

    The fact that Singleton is being encouraged is very telling. McCain – listen to his interview with Tammy Bruce last week. He is laughing at those who have not noticed the Organize4Palin network. He made a very important point re: her supporters vs. Obama supporters of 2008. They were looking for a gov’t “Daddy”. once they got it, they figured they were done.   Daddy hasn’t delivered. Palin supporters want freedom and know that anything worth having takes work.

  8. ThePaganTemple
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Sarah will run, and she will win. And after she takes office in January 2013, maybe she’ll give Obama the first real job he will have ever had for which he might be qualified

  9. The Aged P
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    OMG Stacy – how DARE she not tell you her intentions…..I’d run off another 1000 words of blog filler if I were you…

  10. AngelaTC
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    As for your theory, I can tell you with near absolute certainty that Judge Napolitano’s Fox contract forbids endorsements.  Of course, Palin may have foreseen the conflict and negotiated that out of hers, but there’s grounds for your suspicions there.

    If she’s not running, why all the drama?

    My head scratcher is this:  if she’s endorsing Perry, even albeit unofficially, what political values does she share with him?  I see a lot more similarity with Bachmann than Perry.

  11. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    An awful lot of whining about folks not returning your calls, Robert.

    And then a comment about how it is Palin who actively incites media hatred of her.

    Do you see the disconnect here?

    Are those folks who you are here calling out publicly BY NAME for not returning your calls REALLY going to be MORE inclined to call you?

    Here’s a thought: Take Palin at her word.

    Here’s another thought: Expend 1,000 or more words of angst re: Rudy  Giuliani and his TEASING of voters by being COY for MONTHS about whether or not he’s going to run.

    Thanks for listening.

  12. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    I’m firmly in her camp but it is annoying that she hasn’t made a yes or no.

  13. HYPOCRISY so FLAMING, it BURNS SATAN’s NUTS « Temple of Mut
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    […] Follow the link for more details and background from Kevin. I was honored to be part of the response team that managed to get the horrendously awful attack on Trig Palin removed from YouTube this Sunday. I was thrilled to hear LaDona Harvey of AM600 mention it on her show yesterday. Please follow the above link and call this uninformed group of trendy elites out on their odious hypocrisy. It seems anything Palin is enough to inflame the “Ruling Class” and their minions. […]

  14. Bob Belvedere
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    Ahhh…success!  You see, this was my intent, to trigger your synapses! 

    My only question: Was it good for you, too?

  15. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

    I wondered why you & morrisey don’t like her…she doesn’t return your calls.
    Robert she is running one of the cleverist, low budget, all new campaigning styles yet. Shaking hands? Watch at least 1 video.
    Has it occurred to you that every comment you guys make about her is publicity? And good or bad, its publicity costing what? Zip
    The question to ask here is who is goiong to be her VP/

  16. ltw
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    Gov. Palin’s statements regarding the end of September time frame for decision and announcement are pretty clear.  Everyone knows where she will be on Sep. 3rd, and the time.  I’m not surprised about the link to Peter Hamby’s report.  It’s Gov. Palin giving the indication of the no meme reporting she appreciates and respects.  Nothing wrong with that.

  17. rosalie
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    I may be mistaken, but I think she said that it would be sometime in September.  So she did give a time frame. And, so far, she hasn’t gone back on her word.

  18. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

    I know she’s still my #1 pick by far just not a bit annoying.

  19. Adjoran
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    I doubt seriously any partisan commentators have “no political endorsement” clauses in their contracts.  Anyone think Bob Beckel will remain neutral?  Or even real journalists like Kristol?  Juan Williams is so far up Obama’s rear end it would take an industrial-strength high colonic to dislodge him.

    It might be true for those who host shows, but it would be the surest way to end up with no political commentators in an election year.

    In the early stages of Perry speculation, Palin’s friendship with him was often cited.  But I doubt an endorsement is the “major announcement.”  My bet is it is as Stacy guesses, some new drive for her organization that has nothing directly to do with the Presidential race.

    She’s been doing this stuff all along.  And the media suckers run after her every time, it has to be hilarious to her and Todd to watch the flailing about, especially after their family’s poor treatment at the hands of the media scrum.

    But don’t file complaints about the boy crying “Wolf!” if you have to interrupt filling out the form to go run to the field because he yelled again, mmmkay?

  20. Charles
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    Sarah Palin is running by not running. What is so hard to understand? She has a campaign bus, makes campaign stops, gives campaign interveiws, and shoots campaign videos.

    Just like any other candidate, she may drop out, she may endorse one of the other candidates, she may go the distance.

  21. Anonymous
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    Maybe she’s just really cruel and is enjoying baiting the press and pundits.
    I could admire that.

  22. Bob Belvedere
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    Sadly, no Soros-like billionaire is providing them with any funding [where are the bastards?], so TAS has to try and make the denarii anyway they can.  I find it annoying too, but I understand.

  23. Steph
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

    Pull your panties out of your buttcrack.    It’s funny as hell how so many percieve her intentions based on their own bullcrap perceptions.  The woman has given a time frame, and calling her out because she hasn’t returned your callsis hilarious.   You really think you’re that high on her list?   Especially with some of the underhanded barbs you throw her way?

     My, my, some people sure do have an elevated sense of themselves.

  24. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    If Sarah Palin endorsed Rick Perry, it would be yet another islamophiliac she will be on record as supporting, like the despicable dhimwit Carly Fiorina. Rick Perry says “islam is a religion of peace”, that alone should immediately disqualify him from national public office, as it should for anyone who utters such foolishness ten years after 3000 of us were MURDERED here at home for islam and nearly 18,000 deadly islamic terror attacks since. 
    But I hope Sarah DOES run, because it will certainly suck the wind right out of Perry’s islamoblow sails. I can cut Sarah some sack for  the whole Fiorina thing for now, because hopefully she has learned something since then.
    Rick Santorum is still my preferred candidate.

  25. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    That would be awesome, they certainly deserve it!

  26. ThePaganTemple
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    Zilla if you want Santorum to win, the last thing you want is for Sarah to run. That’s not just about Santorum and his chances, that’s true of anyone who prefers another candidate, because the minute she declares, its a whole different universe.

  27. Steve in TN
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:12 am

    Palin has TWO established followings.  The one to which you allude that loves her, and the equally large following that hates her.

  28. Anonymous
    August 24th, 2011 @ 3:37 am

    Palin is a highly skilled campaigner, and knows exactly what she is doing.  Right now her “campaign” is receiving massive amounts of free coverage, while the others are shelling out huge amounts of money to get a paragraph on page 18.  Bachmann paid the way for 6,000 people to attend the straw poll in Ames, approximately $180,000, plus all the advertising she did. 

    Palin is attending the TEA Party rally on Sept 3rd, and will probably have an audiance in the thousands, whereas everyone else works their butts off to attract 2 or 300 to an event. 

    Once she announces, she’ll storm through IA like a tornado, Bachmann, Perry and the rest will be blown off the map.

  29. Adjoran
    August 24th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    I believe she has a natural talent for campaigning.  But Iowa is different than a normal campaign because you aren’t convincing people to take half an hour to vote for you at any time of their convenience in a 12 hour window.

    The Iowa caucuses require people to get out on a Tuesday night in the dead of winter, drive to an unheated school library or church meeting hall, and commit to stay there until the process is done, which can take three hours or more if the competition is close among several candidates.

    You can run a bus all day in a primary to pick up your voters and take them to their precincts, but your volunteers only get one run for the caucuses.  Caucuses are about organization, having people on the ground with experience getting their friends and neighbors out to the caucuses, having all your supporters versed on strategy (if your candidate can’t win a caucus, it can be better to caucus with a lesser candidate who has good support at that caucus, to block the main rival, for example), and executing the plan on Caucus Night.

    And once the primary system begins in earnest, having state organizations in place allows a candidate to compete over wide areas.  These just aren’t things which can be managed through Facebook and Twitter.

  30. ThePaganTemple
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

    So let’s say you’re right about all of this. Let’s say she’s got a good organization in Iowa, but she doesn’t have enough of a ground game prepared to win the Iowa caucus. She can just tell her people to back Ron Paul. Paul has enough of an organization to win Iowa with her help, and thus hinder her three main opponents, which would be Bachmann, Romney, and Perry. And in fact, she could at the same time appear there, promote her own candidacy, and still maybe come in at a close third, but mainly work at New Hampshire. At that rate, she could lose Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and still have an open path to the nomination, provided there was three different winners of those three different states. And does anyone really believe Ron Paul would have a shot at winning the nomination even if he does win Iowa and New Hampshire.

  31. Anonymous
    August 24th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

     That is a very scary scenario *Shudders*