Sarah Palin Being Frozen Out Of Republican Convention?
Over at The Daily Beast, Peter Boyer notes that, as of now, Sarah Palin has not been invited to speak at the Republican National Convention and there don’t appear to be any plans to include her at all:
Palin would certainly light up the base at the convention—her 2008 vice-presidential acceptance speech was, in terms of partisan enthusiasm, the high-water mark of the McCain campaign—but a jolt of Palin at Romney’s convention seems most unlikely. The Romney campaign prides itself on a slavish adherence to script, and Palin cannot be trusted to avoid the impulse to go rogue. That is why, perhaps, the Romney campaign has not asked Palin to speak at the convention nor contacted her about even attending the party’s marquee event in Tampa. 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 Newsweekabout 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.”
The article then goes on to assert that this potential snubbing of Palin, who would be the first former Vice-Presidential nominee to be denied a role at their parties convention since, well, John Edwards in 2008 and pretty much nobody else, has made the Tea Party “livid.” It also goes on for more than two pages about the tensions that we’ve always known exist between the Romney camp and Tea Party activists. But, the real story here doesn’t strike me as being about the Tea Party at all, and Ed Morrissey picks it out quite easily:
After reading the article, there doesn’t appear to be much in which to respond, frankly, except one point. The article seems to be pretty heavy on sourcing from Palin’s camp, and very little from Tea Party activists. In fact, it seems very heavily sourced from Palin herself. The one comment made by “one adviser associated with the campaign” was that they thought Palin’s contract with Fox would preclude her from speaking at the convention, which Palin refutes herself on the record (and Fox concurs). It looks like a shot across the bow, leveraged through Boyers with some very weak Tea-Party-is-angry dressing, aimed at Team Romney to give Palin a platform in August. We’ll see if the message is received, and what the response will be.
The Tea Party tie-in is such a weak part of the story, that one has to think it was grafted on to what seems to clearly be, as Morrissey says, a shot across Romney’s bow from Team Palin and a signal to her supporters that she intends to fight for a voice to be heard no matter how reluctant Romney’s people may be to give it to her. Indeed, if you read through the article pretty much all the quotes about the Palin-at-the-convention part of the story seems to clearly come directly from Palin herself or her spokespeople. The only indication that Tea Party activists are “livid” comes from a single quote from one activist. As Morrisey notes, there’s simply no indication that this has been an issue of much concern to activists, most of whom have been spending the last several weeks reacting to the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare decision. Of course, if the “Palin being snubbed” story goes viral, it’s likely that these same activists will start rallying behind Palin again. So, what we’re really looking at here, I submit, is a tactical move on Palin’s part to try to wedge her way into the convention.
Dave Weigel says this about Palin’s comments:
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.”
Well, that’s typical Palin isn’t it? Get the attention on her, and play the victim.
It’s easy to understand why Romney would want to keep Palin at arms length during the convention. After all, based on her speech at the 2008 convention and other speeches shes given to friendly crowds in the interim years, it’s fairly clear that she has a connection to the base of the GOP and that she would be a huge draw for the crowd of delegates. If there’s one thing a party nominee does not want at the convention that he’s being nominated at, it’s to be overshadowed by someone else and that’s exactly the danger that Romney would face if Palin were speaking a night or two before him. Moreover, as noted above, keeping Palin “on message” would be next to impossible for Romney’s team, just as it was for McCain’s team in 2008. Finally, of course, there’s the fact that being that closely associated with Palin just when the nation is really starting to pay attention to the election risks alienating independent voters, especially given Palin’s approval numbers, which is likely just as negative as it was when pollsters stopped including her in polls a year ago if not more so.
Given all of that, I wouldn’t blame Romney at all for wanting to distance himself from Palin and deny her a spot at the convention. The question is whether he’ll be able to keep that up if the campaign and the party start getting pressure from the insanely loyal Palinistas.