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“Princess Sarah” Causing Frustration Among Some Republicans

Jonathan Martin reports in Politico today that Sarah Palin is maintaining what can only be called an odd relationship with many of the Republican candidates she has endorsed for election:

The election is two weeks away, but the campaign trail reviews of Sarah Palin already are in, and they aren’t pretty.

According to multiple Republican campaign sources, the former Alaska governor wreaks havoc on campaign logistics and planning. She offers little notice about her availability, refuses to do certain events, is obsessive about press coverage and sometimes backs out with as little lead time as she gave in the first place.

In short, her seat-of-the-pants operation can be a nightmare to deal with, which, in part, explains why Palin doesn’t often do individual events for GOP hopefuls.

It’s not that Palin issues outlandish, rock star-like demands such as certain-colored M&M’s in the greenroom. At the events Palin does attend, officials say, she’s no diva; Kind and courteous is the more frequent description.

But the high-maintenance aspects of dealing with the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee have angered and frustrated some conservative candidates and aides who once thought highly of Palin and, for more skeptical Republicans, simply confirmed their view that she’s self-centered and unhelpful to the cause.

All of it has become fodder for e-mails and bar-stool chats among the tightknit world of Republican political professionals.

There are several examples spread throughout the story, but this recount of the Rand Paul campaign’s experiences provide a fairly good example of what Martin is getting at:

A recurring theme among the complaints is the problem of last-minute notice. In one instance, Palin had agreed to do a fundraising event for Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, but campaign officials had difficulty pinning her down for a specific date, and the amount of time she offered got smaller and smaller.

Paul’s camp was, according to a Republican source familiar with the event, “ready to cut bait on her.”

“Then her people called on a Saturday night and said she’d be available for 45 minutes the next Thursday,” said the source.

That’s not much time to promote a high-dollar event.

“They had everybody scrambling,” the source said.

Palin did ultimately come to Louisville for the event, which was a closed-press luncheon that began at 11:30 a.m. to accommodate her schedule

As does this recounting from an unnamed Congressional candidate:

One major GOP Senate campaign sought Palin’s endorsement at the beginning of the year but didn’t know how to reach her. Out of desperation, they ended up sending a message to her Facebook page. Having never heard back, an operative for the campaign asked a reporter for the e-mail address of Palin’s representative at the time. The campaign got a noncommittal reply.

Then, one day months later, the campaign was told Palin was going to offer her endorsement. They waited for much of the day, frequently checking her Facebook and Twitter page. Finally, a consultant to the campaign put a call in to somebody close to the former governor and asked if the endorsement was still coming.

“We were told it was going to happen in an hour, and she was going to tweet it,” recounted an operative on the campaign. “But we waited and waited and waited, and it never happened. Then we never heard of it again.”

Of course, one response to this is that campaigns seeking the endorsement and support of a high-value Republican like Palin shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and should be happy with whatever they get. At the same time, though, these anecdotes seem to be a fairly good example of the secretive, insular nature of the inner circle that Palin has gathered around her. It also raises questions, as with all things Palin, about what her 2012 intentions really are:

the problems that GOP campaigns have when booking her for events illustrate the challenges Palin will have in the event she runs for president. In part because of trust issues, she will not expand her circle and establish the sort of infrastructure necessary to coordinate basic matters such as surrogacy and travel. She has a lone staffer with a background in opposition research handling all of her interaction with campaigns.

The setup has cost her in goodwill, an important political currency. The disorganization and restrictions are viewed as rude by elected officials and operatives who are accustomed to national political figures who operate in a more conventional manner and are willing to assist as local campaigns see fit.

Of course that’s viewing things through the lens of conventional politics and, as I noted recently, Sarah Palin is anything but conventional:

Sarah Palin hasn’t exactly shown a proclivity for behaving like a traditional, rational politician, so anything is possible at this point. If she does run, it’s sure to be an unconventional campaign, unlike anything the Republican primaries have ever seen, which is why any kind of “stop Palin” movement among the GOP establishment may be too little, too late.

So, yea, Sarah Palin may not be operating out of the political version of “How To Win Friends And Influence People” when she deals with other Republican politicians, but I don’t think she really cares.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Annie says:

    SRLC CEO Responds to Politico Hit Piece on Governor Palin

    Hey Jonathan,

    Hope you’re doing well. Just read your article on Palin and wanted to add my two cents. (this wasn’t requested by anybody and feel free to quote me if you’d like)

    As you know the 2010 SRLC was the largest Republican Leadership Conference in 30 years, with more speakers, more press and more attendees than ever before. Governor Palin’s staff was incredibly easy to deal with and very professional.

    I interacted with every major GOP personality in the country leading up to the conference and can tell you first hand that the only thing different about Governor Palin was the intensity of the interest from the attendees, sponsors and even other speakers.

    She’s easily the most requested surrogate our party has and it’s a shame that Republicans would rather gripe that they can’t get more of her time instead of being appreciative of everything that she does do.

    Charlie Davis
    President and CEO
    2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference

    http://www.conservatives4palin.com/2010/10/srlc-ceo-responds-to-politico-hit-piece.html

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  2. Annie says:

    Mark Levin Demands Retraction By Politico Concerning Palin Hit Piece
    This is a flat out lie

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/10/21/mark-levin-demands-retraction-politico-concerning-palin-hit-piece#ixzz130wTySCp

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  3. Of course Levin would say that, he’s all-in with Palin

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  4. Palin won’t run. It’s akin to Al Gore in 2008 — he served his causes better as a speaker/doc movie maker. She’s making too much money and earning too much fame in the private sector — why go and ruin that with a presidential run?

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  5. Smooth Jazz says:

    LOL. Lookie Lookie Lookie. Another hit piece on Gov Palin is dredged up, buttressed by the obligatory “anonymous Sources, and OTB goes aflutter – parrying the “Palin is meme – without bothering to confirm the facts. Like the dweebs at KOS and PBS (that’s you Gwen Ifil) who looked like fools the other day regarding her “1773” tea party anology.

    I was waiting to see if OTB would pounce on the “1773 gaffe” and imply she was an idiot as usual, but too bad we all found out was her reference to 1773 was correct in the context she used it. Never fear thought, we are just one Christine O’Donnell flub away from another OTB on these “dumb Repub women.

    You guys are too funny with your “Sarah Palin is an idiot and divisive” obsession.

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  6. Trumwill says:

    According to multiple Republican campaign sources, the former Alaska governor wreaks havoc on campaign logistics and planning. She offers little notice about her availability, refuses to do certain events, is obsessive about press coverage and sometimes backs out with as little lead time as she gave in the first place.

    These are not the attributes of someone that is going to win a major party nomination.

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  7. sam says:

    Smooth, dude, it’s pretty well-known that Caribou Barbie ain’t thought too highly of in these precincts. So how come you frequent these haunts, since the posts just seem to get your jammies in a twist? You can always go to the Sarahfest at http://www.conservatives4palin.com and luxuriate in sheer wonderfulness of her awesomeness 7×24. Might be a better use of your time, huh?

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  8. narciso says:

    This makes at least four who have disputed Martin’s account

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  9. Smooth Jazz says:

    Ahem. Let’s just say I like to see Libs obsess about Palin. She is “dumb”, “illiterate”, “Can Never be elected President”, “Divisive”, blah blah blah blah – But Liberal blogs like OTB have to respond to every anonymously sourced hit piece as if it is a fact. Already, 4 or 5 people in that article are calling the Politico reporter a flat out liar, but OTB passed it off as fact because they cannot help themselves and when obsessing about everything Palin.

    If she is as divisive as you people claim, then she should be a non factor, and you wouldn’t have to obsess over every speculative hit piece that is written about her. Let’s just say I like to come here to see you liberals flutter around trying to convince each other she is irrelevant. It is FUN to watch.

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  10. anjin-san says:

    > you liberals flutter around trying to convince each other she is irrelevant.

    You know, I keep hearing this noise from the right, and it always sounds profoundly stupid. Who is saying Palin is “irrelevant”? Clearly she is a force to be reckoned with. That being said, her many limitations and character flaws are clearly grounds for discussion. Of course it is quite easy to see why the right would wish to avoid this discussion.

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  11. An Interested Party says:

    Not as FUN to watch as her eventual spectacular implosion should she decide to run for president in 2012…

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  12. Herb says:

    “But Liberal blogs like OTB”

    Oh lord….

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  13. [...] “Princess Sarah” Causing Frustration Among Some Republicans (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

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  14. sam says:

    @Smooth

    “If she is as divisive as you people claim, then she should be a non factor, and you wouldn’t have to obsess over every speculative hit piece that is written about her. Let’s just say I like to come here to see you liberals flutter around trying to convince each other she is irrelevant. ”

    Well, I’ll say for myself that I appreciate every single piece that’s published about her that enhances her “relevance”. My fondest hope is that the GOP nominates her for prez in 2012.

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  15. Don L says:

    The “princess” is causing consternation among only one group of republicans -those elitist money men and women. She has a serious flaw for their socially liberal hearts -she actually believes in life and famiy “values” without which there can be no freedom in any kind of society, regardless of how it is structured, and she knows it.

    Like so many fiscal conservatives, they haven’t figured it out yet. Their freedom, including their all important economic freedom, really depends upon our recognizing a higher good who in making us in His image, gave us the dignity that alone requires our freedom. Something no earthly entity could possibly do. Without that understanding, which party, which nation, which political system remains but empty promises unable to reach their elusive nirvana.

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