This situation has been developing for some time. I always wondered what the date of the explosion would be, but unlike the movies, there was no ticking timer to indicate when the bomb of Erickson’s composure would finally explode. Erick Erickson, purveyor and chief propagandist for RedState.com, continued his war against Sarah Palin and her supporters on Friday, treating his readers to hourly updates as to whether Palin has announced or not. It’s a failed attempt to be cute, because in writing today, Mr. Erickson was less than perfectly truthful with his readers. His first snark-o-gram of the day was a breathless essay claiming that if Palin doesn’t announce today, she’s somehow betrayed her supporters.
“Palin supporters have, for a month, been tweeting and blogging that this month would be the month Palin announced. U.S. for Palin, a pro-Palin website, took the time to knock both Ann Coulter and me, noting how Palin would announce on her own time table and if Ann and I and the rest of the media had paid attention, we’d know that “all the media and her supporters have to do is wait till September 30th, 2011.”
Let’s clean this up a little, for Erick’s sake: “Some Palin supporters…” I haven’t been saying this, and have actually been urging patience for a somewhat later date, for strategic reasons. I suppose if Mr. Erickson ever left the confines of Red State in search of an opinion, he’d already have known that, but then again, those of us out here in the hinterlands of the blogosphere are accustomed to his insular worldview. His tactic is simple: Quote one article, on one site, and extrapolate from this “Palin supporters” which seems rather a universal statement. As I said, “A few,” or “Some” might have been better, and certainly more honest. Even if he found a dozen such stories, it would be no more honest to leave the scope of his claim unlimited.
“Palin has, for months, listed September as her drop-dead date. Those are her words. They are not words calculated by the media to box her in. Since then, Palin has moved the date around, said she may announce later, moved it into October, and all sorts of things. But she left a strong impression with many of her closest supporters that September 30th would be the drop-dead date. Again, her words and no one else’s.”
“Listed?” Listed where? I’d appreciate it greatly if Mr. Erickson could link us to that spot in an official Palin or SarahPac communication where this is stated. Nowhere have I heard or read from Governor Palin that she will definitely make a decision by a certain date. Rather, as Mr. Erickson admits, she has always talked in terms of time-frames. He writes of “a strong impression,” but he doesn’t specify the identity of these “closest supporters.” Maybe he meant “closet supporters,” as in those who support Palin but don’t wish to admit it publicly? I honestly don’t know who he intends by that remark, and he certainly doesn’t tell us. When did a mere impression inferred by one person become an obligation upon another? Is Mr. Erickson now contending that “impressions” are equal to “facts” or “statements?” I had the impression Mr. Erickson did commentary on the news, rather than making it up. So much for “impressions.”
“Whether Sarah Palin announces today or at some other time, it is stunning that a potential candidate who has had no real job for two years could drag her feet this long on such an important decision holding up supporters on the sidelines who at some point might just need to move on. After today I think she does, in her own words, get “perceived as stringing people along.”
This may be the worst of the lot. Here, Erickson flatly contends that she will be perceived as “stringing people along.” I don’t know any committed Palin supporters who feel this way at all, but I’d add this too: Until she announces whether she will run, or not, the whole notion of “stringing people along” is a moot argument, and I’m disgusted with this continuing mantra from those who wish to somehow force Palin’s hand. She will announce her plans when she’s damn well ready, and not a moment sooner, and if Erick Erickson is unhappy with that, perhaps he should simply stop covering it. There’s no requirement for him to cover Governor Palin. There’s no reason, since he clearly thinks she’s irrelevant, for him to mention her at all, and yet he cannot restrain himself. Why is that?
Let me make a few suggestions to Mr. Erickson, since I am also a Palin supporter, and since I’ve heard a few people mention the September 30th date, (although I’ve never heard Sarah Palin say anything but “Time-Frame.”) Obviously, I’m a nobody out here in the blogosphere, and that’s where I’m happy, but let me give you my perspective. On the pages of this blog, I have explained why I thought waiting was a smart tactic for Sarah Palin to adopt. I’ve explained at some length why it is that I believe there’s no real benefit to her in announcing any earlier than she absolutely must. I’ve explained all of these things, and more, I’ve explained why I support Sarah Palin irrespective of whether she chooses to run for President in 2012, meaning come hell or high water, whether you like it or not, if Sarah Palin decides to simply become an advocate for candidates, causes, and issues, I will support her in that venture too, and I will continue to support her PAC as long as she chooses to keep it in operation. Part of the reason for that is because I appreciate her willingness to stand up and be counted on a variety of issues from which most politicians demur. Another reason lies in the fact that I believe she is motivated by the right things, based on her record, her pronouncements, and her actions over two decades of public service.
Now Mr. Erickson can like that, or he can hate it, but either way, I don’t give a damn. He’s no more important to this process than any other media personality, and as I’ve had help in demonstrating today, it’s clear that there is no shortage of people in the media who believe their role is to shape news rather than offer opinions or report on it. I don’t know what brand of hubris permits Mr. Erickson(or others) to believe that he’s central to this question. Given his past pronouncements on Palin, it’s certain he’s not talking to her supporters, but instead merely about them. Erickson has reduced his own stature to that of a petulant child screaming “Now!” It’s a sad spectacle, and I really don’t care to watch it much longer, because I hate to see people self-destruct.
On the slim chance that Erickson makes it out of his RedState bunker long enough to look around, let me say this to him directly: Enjoy your nifty little hit-job now. Mark it on your calendar alongside the other critically important moments in your life. Revel in it. Make the most of it. There will likely come a day when you will be handed a three-course meal of crow, and when that day arrives, I plan on spoon-feeding you the first ladle-full.
Update by Doug: A short, sweet synopsis of Erickson’s latest do*chebaggery from William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:
Perry’s high profile supporters do him no favors by acting like children.