Sarah Palin, Being Helpful

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 16 2012 10:41 AM

Sarah Palin, Being Helpful

We might be living through Sarah Palin's best year ever as a political influencer. She endorsed the winning Senate candidates in Indiana and Nebraska GOP primaries, and she might have endorsed the winner in Texas -- Ted Cruz, who probably can't help from becoming a massive conservative star. How much credit can you give her for the wins? At least some. There's no Christine O'Donnell/Joe Miller embarassment on this new list.

And so I was a little surprised by how raw Palin came off in Peter Boyer's excellent check-in on the Tea Party's views of the Romney campaign. The hook: Palin has not yet been invited to give a convention speech. (This is a meta-story with endless potential, because the convention schedule will be moved around for weeks, and because even when people get assignments, you can quibble about what time they appeared, on what day, how close to the nominee.) The revelation, from Boyer's e-mail interview with Palin, is that she's already acting out the victim role. She keeps up a four-year-old grudge against Romney spox Kevin Madden ("I assume he didn’t do his homework" when he attacked her), and buys into the idea that her uncertain role is a "consequence" for being real-er than the candidate.

Queries to the Romney camp about any possible Palin role at the convention meet with a stony silence. Palin does not seem surprised. “What can I say?” she responded in an email from Alaska, when asked by Newsweek about the convention, just before heading to Michigan to deliver an Obama-thumping speech. “I’m sure I’m not the only one accepting consequences for calling out both sides of the aisle for spending too much money, putting us on the road to bankruptcy, and engaging in crony capitalism.”
“In accepting those consequences,” she added, “one must remember this isn’t Sadie Hawkins and you don’t invite yourself and a date to the Big Dance.”

Of the many ways you could answer that question, Palin went for the option marked Maximal Self-Aggrandizement. She all but endorsed Newt Gingrich at key moments in the early primaries, but she explains a possible diss -- as punishment for "calling out both sides of the aisle."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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