The Palin Campaign to Get People to Pay Attention to Palin

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 30 2011 9:24 AM

The Palin Campaign to Get People to Pay Attention to Palin

Scott Conroy, the Boswell of Sarah Palin's post-gubernatorial life, files another story about how her apparent lack of any infrastructure in Iowa could be mitigated by grassroots energy.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Ladd Ventling, who serves as a county coordinator for the Iowa branch of Organize4Palin, told RCP that he spoke privately with Todd Palin for over 20 minutes about the volunteer group’s efforts during the visit by Alaska’s former First Couple to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month.
Ventling said that while Todd Palin did not say his wife planned to announce her candidacy, the Webster City, Iowa, native came away from the conversation convinced that she does indeed intend to get in.
“If they weren’t going to run, he would’ve said, ‘Thank you very much for what you’re doing, but you don’t have to do that,’ ” Ventling told RCP.

This is useful reporting, in large part because it reveals just how random Palin's decision-making process seems to be. This is, by my count, Conroy's 36th story about Palin since the start of 2011. Reading them all reveals how many false starts and busts have greeted Palin as she's maximized her celebrity and gotten the press to literally chase her around the country. Remember her bus tour?

Following her current "One Nation" tour of the Northeast, Palin will next journey to the Midwest, where Iowa will be front and center. Plans are still being drawn up, but she may visit the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.
During the third leg of her tour, Palin will travel to South Carolina and may also appear at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where several other current and potential GOP White House hopefuls are scheduled to speak.

Weeks later, Conroy had to write this.

Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska, where the skies are currently alight for over 19 hours a day and the Bristol Bay salmon fishing season is nearing its peak.

Conroy saw this coming. Way back in March he warned readers that there was no point "reading the Palin tea leaves." But Palin knows how news works, and she keeps giving people things to gab about, with the added bonus that she'll still get coverage if her new venture is a bust. Remember the documentary The Undefeated, which Conroy reported on first? She wasn't going to promote it. Then she did promote it, with a block party that tractor-beamed dozens of reporters to Pella, Iowa. Then she stopped promoting it, and it flopped hard, and the movie's half-life as a Pay-Per-View movie is still newsy enough for today's Conroy story. Palin's ability to dither and flop around while attracting more media than Tim Pawlenty could get if he set a school bus on fire -- well, it's really something.

UPDATE: Further thought: If Palin wants to stay relevant as long as possible while denying victory to her enemies, shouldn't she announce she's not running before September 20? That's the day Joe McGinniss's Palin bio and Levi Johnston's memoir both drop.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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