I’m not sure what caused you to write what you did today about Governor Palin. Maybe it was for attention, to create controversy, or something I can’t think of. Frankly, I’m not interested in the motivation. The problem is not that you wrote something critical of her. No human being is above criticism. The problem is that your criticism is based on a premise that has absolutely no basis in fact. Your piece was unfair and inaccurate. People called you out today about that, but you did not seem to learn from your mistakes. So, it looks like I’ll have to give you some irrefutable, cold, hard facts to counter what you wrote earlier today. There are so many points of yours I can rebut, but in the interest of keeping this post shorter than War And Peace, I will focus on your overall theme that Governor Palin has gotten too big for her britches, has gone Hollywood, and has abandoned the grassroots. While I do not pretend to know Governor Palin or be part of her inner circle (I don’t and I’m not) I have had the chance to see her up close and her interaction with us ordinary folks in flyover country. Evidently you have not, or you would not have written what you did this morning.
First off, your assertion that she cut and run at this year’s CPAC is unfair. Any rudimentary research would have told you this. Last year, she gave the keynote address at CPAC. After her speech, she walked down from the stage, and worked the rope line for more than 45 minutes. She did not have the chance to do that this year. This year, she spoke on Saturday at noon. It was the most talked about and most enthusiastically received speech of the entire conference. Immediately after her, conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly spoke. She is 88 years old. I guess if Governor Palin wanted to break protocol, make it all about her, and delay the program for over an hour, she could have gone into the crowd and shaken hands with everyone in the capacity filled ballroom. But she chose not to do that. Because it was not about her. If she had, I can only imagine the headlines that would have followed:
“Governor Palin, In Thirst For Attention, Deprives Frail, Old Lady Of Speaking At What Could Be Her Last CPAC.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that would have gone over too well. Oh, and the assertion that she cut and run after CPAC is not even accurate. Here is Governor Palin with the College Republicans
On Labor Day Weekend, 2011, Governor Palin was in Indianola, Iowa to address a bunch of Tea Party activists. I’m sure you have seen the speech. But, the thing about that weekend that completely refutes your point is what happened the night before and in the hour after her speech. This was a widely anticipated speech and Palin supporters from all over the country descended on Iowa to see the address. Some decided to organize a get-together the night before. They decided to hold it at the Machine Shed, right outside of Des Moines. Governor Palin caught wind of this and decided to show up to show her gratitude for the support. Needless to say, the place turned into a madhouse with press and an overflow crowd of supporters trying to shake her hand or offer words of support. She did not have to do this, and certainly was not expected to do it. It was not on her calendar. She stayed for as long as she could, shook hands, posed for pictures, and signed autographs. I know this because I was there. Let me tell you- it was nuts. It was hotter than hell, way, way too crowded, and saying it was chaotic would be putting it mildly. Here is what some of the chaos looked like.
The next day, she gave her speech. After 45 minutes of talking, she proceeded to walk down the steps of the stage and work the rope line. She did not go through it once. She went through it twice. She spent more time working the rope line that she did giving her speech. Again, she shook hands, posed for pictures, talked to people, and signed books, hats, t-shirts, or anything else people wanted her to sign. I was there, so I saw it for myself, but don’t take my word for it. Here is a snippet of video from that day.
Let’s fast forward 11 months from Indianola. In August of last year, a full ten months after she announced she would not run for President in 2012, she did a campaign rally in Missouri for Sarah Steelman. If Missouri GOP voters had taken her advice, we could have avoided the disaster of Todd Akin, but what’s done is done. This event took place on a ridiculously hot and humid Friday afternoon in early August. How bad was it, you ask? One of the people I traveled to the event with is a lifelong Texan who spent her high school days in the sauna commonly referred to as Houston. Even she was uncomfortable. If a Texan was uncomfortable that day, how do you think an Alaskan felt? But, she was undeterred. She gave a passionate speech on behalf of Sarah Steelman and constitutional conservative principles in the stifling heat and humidity. But that wasn’t all. The program called for Governor Palin and Sarah Steelman to then serve up BBQ to the attendees as kind of a meet and greet after the program. It was predicted this would last for maybe an hour. However, the crowd was much bigger than expected, and the line for food was longer than…umm…it was really, really long. It took more than two hours for everyone to get served. Again, I witnessed this firsthand. Here is Governor Palin in her apron serving dinner at the event
This was no photo opp, either. Governor Palin stayed until every single person was served dinner. She talked to them, allowed them to take photos, and was genuinely interested in everyone there. Some of the people working the event were trying to get the attendees to not take photos of Governor Palin when they were in the food line, since they knew it would take up so much more time. But Governor Palin allowed the photos to continue.
When dinner was finally over, the event was way over schedule. It was supposed to end at 6, but it was now well past 7. Governor Palin was not done yet. She was so grateful for those of us who showed up to work the event, that she wanted to thank us. We all got to go near her bus and took a big group photo with her. We then took individual photos with her. For each person who came up to her, she thanked them, asked them their name, and asked where they were from. This was clearly not someone who was going through the motions. She wanted to be there. Here is the photo I took with her, long after the event had been scheduled to end
When we finally left the event to head back home, it was dark.
And, Scottie, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Stories have been shared with me about what Governor Palin has done as it relates to interacting with her supporters that would blow you away. They are not for public consumption, so you will have to take my word for it.
All of this does not even take into account the upcoming speeches she has to grassroots activists and the hard work she will undoubtedly do for the 2014 midterm elections.
Here is the bottom line, Scottie- you stepped in it today. But, hey, it happens. We’re all human and entitled to a mulligan. I know I have posted things on occasion that when I look back I’m not especially proud of it and wish I could have back. This was one of those times for you. If you feel the need to be critical of Governor Palin again, I hope you do it based on fact the next time around, and avoid what you did today. If you can’t do that, I suggest you follow the advice that sometimes it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself. See ya on the trail…