WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin took a lot of heat on Wednesday for her seven-minute-long statement on the shootings in Arizona, in which she mourned the tragedy and accused her critics of "blood libel." And it appears that the president's speech last night -- in which he adopted a far more civil, reconciliatory, and emotional tone -- has made matters only worse.
Thursday's papers have been filled with largely unfavorable contrasts for the former Alaska governor. And at least one Democratic member of Congress has decided to declare that the Palin trajectory is now firmly in downturn mode, her brand tarnished.
"I think that the president's message is going to prevail," Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told the Bill Press Show on Thursday. "In fact I think Sarah Palin may be looking at the end of her political ride. I think she may be at the end of her ride right now. If Sarah Palin would have said 'you know what, I probably have been responsible for overblown rhetoric and I'm going to watch myself,' that would be different. But she is completely unrepentant. And the enormity of this tragedy, I think, put a very, very clear damper on her prospects. And her reaction even dampers her political ride more."
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This is, to borrow a sports metaphor, the equivalent of a showy touchdown dance in the second quarter. The idea that Palin is at the "end of her political ride" is a bit far-fetched, considering the role she will have (as candidate or kingmaker) in the upcoming Republican presidential primary. If anything, the backlash to Palin's speech seems likely to only bolster her position in the GOP ranks -- dependent, as she is, on feeding the notion of her political victim-hood.