Yesterday, when Sarah Palin officially confirmed what most people already knew -- that she was not running for president in 2012 prospects -- my thoughts turned to Peter Singleton. Singleton is a 58-year-old lawyer from California who took it upon himself to work on the Palin campaign that never materialized in Iowa. Back when we decided the time had come to drop Palin from our weekly round-up, on the grounds that it was pointless and actually sort of insulting to the actual people putting forth an actual effort to mount something that looked like a campaign, Singleton was on our minds. After Palin's big announcement yesterday, ABC News was quick to reach out to the guy:
Peter Singleton moved to Iowa almost a year ago to campaign for Palin, setting up a chapter of Organize4Palin in the first caucus state. He told ABCNews.com that he “expected her to run.”
“I’m disappointed, but disappointed for the country because he was the best choice for president at this time,” Singleton said. “I believed she would run, but I understood there was a chance that she didn’t. It was always her choice. And I have enormous respect for Gov. Palin as a leader and I respect her decision.”
I'm having powerful flashbacks to May 21, 2011. That was the day that a whole bunch of very deluded folks, snookered into subservience by crackpot minister Harold Camping, found out that they had devoted the better part of the year -- and in some cases, a significant amount of money -- in the mistaken belief that the world was going to end. One guy, Robert Fitzpatrick, spent his entire life's savings -- $140,000 -- buying ads on buses warning that the end of the world was coming on May 21.
I think of that guy when I think of Singleton, and in that, I'm not alone. Back in July, Real Clear Politics' Scott Conroy raised a pretty good question:
Singleton, who is not independently wealthy, says he is making a significant financial sacrifice by volunteering almost all his time to a campaign that does not yet exist -- and may never. That uncertainty raises one delicate question: If Palin has already decided against a White House bid, as many political observers have concluded, is it callous of her to tacitly encourage Singleton, McCormick and the untold number of other supporters to continue setting the stage for her?
Sure, why not?