Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

2012 Odds and Ends

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I take a great interest in primary fights and how they help define our party. This is certainly the case with the 2012 fight. However, not every little thing I read is going to lend itself to a full post, and sometimes I’ll post a compendium of recent news from the various contenders. This is one of those times.

–Former PA Senator Rick Santorum told ABC News yesterday that he is “absolutely” looking at running in 2012. I still believe that Santorum is not the candidate we need right now, but he will certainly shake the race up for social conservatives if he gets in. However, he also mentioned fiscal issues as part of his “traditional values” platform:

“I think I’ve been very clear that you know, we need to stand foursquare on the traditional values. When I say traditional values people think, ‘Oh that means, you know, social conservatism and the family. It also means the free enterprise system and that government shouldn’t be large and controlling things — I mean, those are all core Republican principle.

–Sarah Palin signed books in Fairfax (a county where she and Senator McCain were clobbered in 2008), and the enthusiasm that has been noted at previous stops continued in full force. From the WaPo:

Palin fan Greg Williams, 46, of Springfield said he hasn’t felt so strongly about a politician since Ronald Reagan. He spent Friday night in a tent rigged with a tarp to keep out the rain, to make sure he got his chance to see her Saturday. He joined several other campers until about 7:30 a.m., when Fairfax County police made them break down their tents so people near the front of the line could cross the street and stand closer to the store entrance.

One has to wonder how Palin would have been received at the Advance. As Chairman Mullins pointed out, though, this past weekend was for Virginia, though two names that have been floated for 2012 spoke: Minority Whip Eric Cantor (and as even he’ll say, far too prematurely) Bob McDonnell. However, I expect we’ll see her raising money for a Virginia politico very soon. Palin also experienced a good weekend in the polls. CNN has Palin at 46% favorable to 46% unfavorable. This is up from 42% in mid-October.

–Mitch Daniels was in Chicago raising money for Indiana pols. That prompted Race42012 to right this about the burgouning My Man Mitch movement:

While Public Policy Polling has yet to post the results of its online poll of second-tier Republican candidates from earlier this week, Daniels was coming in a strong second just before the polls closed, beating better-known Republicans like Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani while only Pawlenty edged out Mitch for the top spot. Daniels’ assumed, effortless conservatism combined with his ability to apply his philosophy to the issues of the day, all packaged in a personality that provides voters with a stark contrast with President Obama, may mean that Mitch Daniels is in the perfect position to re-assemble the Fred ‘08 movement, only this time led by a candidate who can actually go the distance.

–Finally, outgoing Minnesota Governor and 08 Veep mention Tim Pawlenty has hired a finance director. Pawlenty would certainly make for a solid choice policy wise, but does he really have the charisma for the national stage? One can make a case that Daniels would make it because of his down to earth nature and modesty that real people can relate to. Pawlenty, though, seems to have the ambition and policy chops without a real defining character trait–probably the reason he was passed over for Palin in 2008.

–Finally, Race for 2012 has a chilling recount of Huckabee’s clemencies as governor, including an unusual 12 murderers. In his time in office Huckabee granted more clemencies more than every surrounding state combined.


Palins Continued Ups and Downs

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

In one respect, Sarah is riding very high. Her book has broken the million mark and the print run has been increased all the way to 2.8 million according to the Washington Post. It’s also garnering glowing reviews from conservatives nationally and locally (SWACGirl and James Atticus Bowden both enjoyed it). The media continues to pooh pooh the book, but hey, what do you expect from a gaggle that so thoroughly railroaded her last year? The biggest mark of success–her book is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is rather unusual for a politician–she joins the Clintons and Colin Powell in that territory.

However, that can’t stop the criticism. The Hill ran a hit piece on her internet strategy. It critiqued her for an over-reliance on Facebook:

“She is a political celebrity,” said Florida-based Republican new-media consultant Jordan Raynor. “She has built a significant new media space in the last year.”


“What I don’t like about as far as an online strategy is that she puts most of her eggs in the Facebook basket. She should be extending her online cachet into other strategy,” he said.

Not using email well enough:

“Even with this web 2.0 and social networking, we still see that one of the most powerful tools is a really good e-mail list,” said a former campaign co-manager for former Sen. Fred Thompson’s (R-Tenn.) 2008 presidential bid who declined to be named.


“Building up a good e-mail list would be a good tool to influence 2010,” the former co-director said of next year’s midterm elections.

And for starting a new Twitter account rather than keep her old one:

Others, such as Alabama-based GOP new-media consultant Jeff Vreeland, lamented Palin’s decision to create a new Twitter account instead of changing the name of her gubernatorial account to keep her follower base of over 150,000, though it’s not clear that she was allowed to keep her old one.


Palin’s new Twitter account has almost 30,000 followers.

I agree with comments in the article that right now, Sarah’s focus is on moving a TON of books….first get the message out there and try to salvage her image, then move on to the dialogue. It’s a smart strategy. The big question is will she have an audience to speak to once the glamour and glitter of the book tour is gone? I think her Facebook-oriented strategy is actually fairly sound, but again, she needs to move more towards that two way street, always cognizant that on a platform like facebook there will ocassionally be cars headed straight towards her. I remain on the fence about her other efforts, though I will say this: I just joined her email list for SarahPAC the other day and have yet to receive a welcome message, or any others at that rate. I got emails at least once a week during the Virginia election cycle from HuckPAC, and even the Romney camp puts out something once a month.

The real test of her star power is yet to come: the primary season and the ensuing general elections in 2010. Like I said, if she’s collecting emails at every stop good on her. If she’s not (and she may not be allowed to be too political by her publisher), then she needs to figure out a way to energize and speak to all the Palin fans out there who will hang on to her every word.

Shake-up for Huckabee

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Mike Huckabee appeared to many to be prepping another White House run. However, one could argue that Huckabee’s newly minted celebrity status as a Fox News host and an author could very well be far too profitable and fulfilling for Huckabee to really want to deal with the headache of another presidential run. However, this past weekend he stated that he’s currently leaning against another run. From the Associated Press:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he’s leaning slightly against running for president in 2012 but says it’s far too early to say what he will do.

Huckabee says how the 2010 congressional elections turn out will affect his decision. He also will be looking at whether the Republican Party is willing to unite behind him as a candidate. Another consideration, Huckabee says, is the status of his weekly TV show on Fox News.

Given those factors, Huckabee says mounting another presidential bid is “less likely rather than more likely” at the moment.

However, that was before the news broke that a man that that Huckabee pardoned in 2000 is being sought in the slaying of four Washington State police officers. The Seattle Times has the story. (H/T

“Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors.”

The fact that this is actually the SECOND clemency that has gone wrong for Huckabee (an issue that Romney used in the Iowa caucuses) does not inspire much confidence in the Governor’s judgement. Certainly oversights and poor decisions occur during the clemecy process in any state (Dukakis anyone?), but two will start a narrative that Huckabee  will find it difficult to escape from.

With bad news and good fortune, Huckabee will probably be smart to sit this one out, particularly with Palin’s backers chomping at the bit to get her in as the social conservative candidate. At any rate, one hopes that Huckabee sends his condolences to the grieving families of the police officers.

Palin Phenom Runs through Roanoke

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Although readers of this blog know that I remain skeptical of Sarah Palin’s long term political future, I still like her and her politics. I believe that she has strayed a bit too far from her initial image as a conservative reformer, though this was largely due to both the media’s attacks and the ensuing defense by conservatives. However, I still admire both her personal tenacity, her “tell it like it is” mentality, and her fiscal conservative credentials.

I was going to try to hit her book tour stop in Roanoke, but alas, I had the date wrong and a previous engagement doing some new media work for a local historic site. More on that later, but there’s hard evidence that Sarah remains a true phenomenom amongst Virginia conservatives. From

By 9 a.m., an hour before Sarah Palin’s scheduled arrival, 700 people had received wristbands for Palin to sign their books (the crowd was divided into seven groups of 100). About 300 or more people are still waiting for wristbands, though they won’t be given them until Palin starts signing copies of her “Going Rogue” memoir.

Debbie Turner, 53, of Wytheville, was one of the last people to get a wristband. “She’s fresh, she’s new, she has the same ideals that I have, and she’s my hero,” Turner said on why she wants to meet Palin. “They talked about change last year, and she’s the change we need.”


1:14 p.m.: With more than 1,000 people lined up outside the Valley View Barnes & Noble Sunday, the Panera Bread restaurant across the parking lot braced for a surge.

The store added five extra workers on each shift and ordered 40 percent more food for the day, said Russell Kidd, regional manager.

This Panera’s up about 30 percent in sales today, with “quite a chunk” of customers coming from the Palin signing, he said.

Almost every table was full in the restaurant at 1 p.m.

The restaurant opened an hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 a.m.

Read more…

Palin’s Growing Pains

November 21, 2009 4 comments

Despite the near endless parade of conservative faces opposing Obama these days, it seems that one face has overshadowed all of them, largely on her own appeal: Sarah Palin.

Palin’s appeal is undeniable: a true outsider who connects with average Americans in innumerable ways. And yet it would seem that her assets (working mom, small town politician, and someone from outside of the beltway) are what’s dragging her down these days. Some conservatives are pointing to Sarah’s current “numbers.” From Virginia Virtucon:

Palin 51%

Obama 49%

And before you go citing some Wall St. Journal / NBC poll or Gallup poll showing The Teleprompted One’s approval ratings in the mid-50s, be sure to check out how those pollsters did in 2008 in our sidebar.  For those too lazy to look:

1. Rasmussen (11/1-3)

16. NBC/WSJ (11/1-2)

20. Gallup (10/31-11/2)

However, its extremely important to point out that this comparison is somewhat apples to oranges, given that Rasmussen is polling Palin’s FAVORABILITY and Obama’s APPROVAL rating. And, as Quinnipiac shows us, its certainly possible for people to like a politician and not their policies….as it currently the case with Obama:

•    46 percent like Obama as a person and like most of his policies;
•    28 percent like him as a person, but don’t like most of his policies;
•    1 percent like his policies, but don’t like him as a person;
•    20 percent don’t like him or his policies.

Palin left Alaska with her own approval ratings hovering in the mid-50s, and frankly, policy wise, that’s all she’s got to hang her hat on. paints a less than rosy view for Madame Palin (though I will be quick to point out that I loathe averages in polling):

The conventional wisdom on Sarah Palin is that she’s a divisive figure, and, from what polls tell us, that’s true: according to’s average, 38 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of her, while 49.2 percent view her unfavorably. So she’s in minus territory–11.2 percent more Americans view her negatively than positively–which is bad for any politician running for office (if indeed she is).

However, amongst Republicans, she remains a hot item:

But among Republicans, she does quite well, outperforming her two chief rivals.
According to a new Fox poll–the first major poll on Palin since her book release and media blitz–a full 70 percent of Republicans view her favorably, while 21 percent view her unfavorably. Huckabee, meanwhile, collects 63 percent favorable vs. 28 percent unfavorable; Romney gets 60 percent favorable vs. 20 percent unfavorable.

All this suggests that she has room to grow, and she may very well grow if she manages to carve out a Reagan-esque role as the loyal opposition with top notch policy chops. Only the next few years (and in particular, CPAC 2010) will tell us what direction she’s headed in. However, early indications are that she’s not using her book too much for policy (although she’s regularly scoring points against the administration on Facebook, and frankly, that might be worth more these days). Worse yet, she’s suffering from the same problem that has plagued her since the rumors for 2012 began: bad handling. For example, there was a bad scene at one of her Indiana stops:

The store handed out 1,000 wristbands for Thursday night’s book signing, which wrapped up just before 9 p.m. Those who got to meet a woman they consider an idol walked away happy.

“I said, ‘Sarah, thanks for hearing our voices,'” said Nancy Rourke of Greenwood. “She’s just selling what she is: good policy, good values for our country,” said Margie Kimes.

Before getting back on her bus just after 9 p.m., Palin thanked the crowd one more time.”Noblesville, this was so great. You guys are hardcore patriots. Thank you so much for being here,” she said.

But not everyone went away happy. Several dozen people who had wristbands were turned away. “They didn’t have this organized well enough,” said Sue Hendricks. “It was just not done right.”
“I’m very disappointed. I think it was very rude. She could have at least apologized, and she didn’t even do that,” said Teresa Hedrick.

Many of the unhappy people stood in the rain all day, bought the book from Borders and clutched their wristbands for their opportunity to meet Palin. “We bought two books from Borders to have our receipt and our wristband to get it signed tonight,” said one woman. “My books are going back to Borders tomorrow.”

“We gave up our entire workday, stayed in the cold. My kids were crying,” said one man. “They went home with my wife. She was out here in the freezing cold all day. I feel like I don’t want to support Sarah.”

Not an auspicious start for a tour that was pretty well planned, taking her through a number of Republican hotbeds (including the Roanoke Valley in the next few weeks). For those who are doubtful, there is video:

I’m not saying that this is indicative of the woman or her character. Indeed, she’s already apologized and by doing it via Facebook left herself open to alot of criticism directed right at her, so good on her. But her crew is going to need to do ALOT better than this if she’s going to keep the good times going with her Republican base AND get middle America to buy into the Sarah phenom.

She’s Still Got It!

April 21, 2009 1 comment

Despite a string of bad publicity, communications misfires, and poltical problems back home, Sarah Palin still proves she can put meat in the seats. From Politico:

Far from her home state and the controversy she left behind, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin traveled to Indiana on Thursday and reminded Republicans why she remains a party heavyweight and a top prospective presidential candidate in 2012.

Palin drew approximately 3,000 people to the Vanderburgh County Right to Life fundraising dinner in Evansville, an annual banquet that typically attracts some of the GOP’s top national talent. Her sold-out appearance in a local exhibition hall prompted organizers to set up a paid closed-circuit broadcast at a nearby auditorium for a large spillover crowd and led local authorities to close down nearby streets.

It’s clear that Palin continues to have a great amount of star appeal, at least amongst social conservatives. However, some signs point to waning influence for social conservatives within the party, meaning that her fiscal credentials will need to be just as strong in the coming years. The million dollar question: Can Palin turn this into real political capital ahead of 2012, or is she destined to become a darling of thc conservative rubber chicken circuit?

Palin skips House GOP Confab; Steele, Romney speak

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

The House GOP is at The Homestead in Warm Springs this weekend to talk policy and strategy in the wake of Steele’s accession to the RNC Chairmanship and a solid front against the pork laden stimulus package. The conference featured a number of Republican stars. One, however, was conspicuously absent. From The Note

Retreat organizers tell ABC News that Palin politely declined, giving a perfectly understandable reason.  According to the Congressional Institute, which hosted the conference, Palin said she simply could not make it to the retreat because pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska this weekend.

So where is Palin this weekend?  She’s in Washington, D.C., attending the super-elite Alfalfa Dinner.


The House Republicans seemed to do just fine without Palin. Their list of speakers included Republican stars Michael Steele, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich.

Asked about Palin’s no-show, House Republican leader John Boehner shrugged.

“Whatever,” Boehner said.

Snubbing the Congressional leadership to attend a high-profile but closed event is not exactly the best way to set-up a run for the top spot in 2012. I’ll write more about that later, but more important is what was said by those who did speak. More below the fold. 

The RNC provides the complete recorded remarks by Michael Steele, where he notes that re-capturing the 20th New York Congressional Seat and the NJ and VA gubernatorial races are the top priorities for 2009. 

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s PAC has his full remarks. If the economy remains an issue for the next few years, expect Romney to become a leader on this issue. Also to watch: Will Romney dominate at CPAC? If he does, it’ll become clear that he’s taking the Reagan path to victory–become a conservative leader over a period of time, then cash in. 

God, 2012 has already started. Anybody have any extra Xanax?