Newsweek is out with a thinly sourced "news" piece which attempts to make the argument that conservative Tea Party activists are up in arms over the apparent fact that Sarah Palin has not been invited to the Republican National Convention. Palin is quoted via email as saying, "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."
The notions that Palin has any business speaking at the convention or that her not being invited to do so will have any negative impact on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are hilariously, and perhaps purposefully, misguided.
First, as full disclosure, I produced the only movie in which Sarah Palin has ever appeared and did the most extensive interview ever done with her about the 2008 election. After being her strongest media defender for about two years, she and I no longer communicate largely because I strongly feel that she has "sold out."
I am also morally certain, though I admit it is impossible to prove, that the author of the Newsweek piece got Sarah Palin's email from me after interviewing me for several hours last year (when he suddenly met and spoke with her for the first time three days after I gave him the email address, which he told me he didn't previously have). Regardless of how he got in contact with Palin, his stories since then have been extremely sympathetic to her. This latest is no different.
As for the substance of the convention "snub," why in the world should Sarah Palin be invited to speak at the convention? She is not an elected official. She is not even really a political figure, but rather a celebrity opinion giver.
Palin is now just a media commentator who has clearly gone out of her way to make it as difficult for the Romney to secure the nomination as possible. She absurdly endorsed Newt Gingrich. She selfishly campaigned for a brokered convention. She even appears to have a very strong personal incentive for President Obama to be reelected so that she can remain at least marginally relevant.
Quite simply, Sarah Palin has no business speaking at this convention. She made her decisions and she bet on the wrong horse. Now she must accept the consequences (and contrary to her ludicrous claims, those ramifications have nothing to do with "calling out both sides"). She can attend as a Fox News commentator where I am sure she will try hard to diminish Romney at every opportunity.
Romney is not just right to prevent Palin from speaking because she is not a political ally and someone who clearly does not have his best interest at heart. If she were to speak at the convention it would likely be an unmitigated disaster. There is simply no good scenario for Romney in having Palin speak. Even if she pretended to be supportive, the press would turn it into a major negative for Romney no matter what she said.
As for Newsweek's premise that the Tea Party is outraged over having its largely self-appointed Queen not being invited to the big party, this is also without any real basis in fact.
First of all, contrary to media perception, there is no actual "Tea Party." It is little more than a series of small conservative groups who have learned that the name is useful in raising money and getting media attention.
Secondly, when so called Tea Party "leaders" get asked by a Newsweek reporter about Sarah Palin not speaking at the Republican Convention, they know exactly what that person wants them to say and what perspective is more likely to get them prominently quoted in a national publication.
Finally, while Palin is indeed still personally very popular with some "Tea Party" people, her influence is largely overrated (just take a look at how the Gingrich campaign faired after her endorsement). More importantly than that, there is no evidence that there is even one strong conservative in a swing state who is going to sit home and not take the opportunity to vote against Barack Obama because Sarah Palin didn't get to speak at a convention.
This whole story is just another indication that we are watching the final burning embers of what is left of the Sarah Palin media fire. While thanks to her enormous celebrity and charisma it has maintained its heat far longer than most expected, if Romney were to win, it would be permanently extinguished, at least in the political realm.
As much as it pains me to admit it, that might be one of the most important benefits of that potential result for the future of the Republican Party.
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