10/22/2010 01:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sarah Palin's Team Sends Smoke Signal on 2012

Jonathan Martin of Politico really touched a raw Palin nerve with "Hurricane Sarah". She tweeted Martin, calling him a liar, with Rebecca Mansour of firing away, too.

Interesting that Mansour would cite "primary 2012." Nobody's flagged it, but it reads like a smoke signal sent before the charge. Here's a screen capture of her tweet:


From Martin's piece:

Recognizing the money Palin can raise, Grassley's team said it wanted to have her do a luncheon fundraiser. Palin, however, indicated that she didn't want to raise money, but preferred a "message" event on a policy issue. So no event took place.

Grassley aides remain puzzled as to why she would offer her help, then refuse to do what the veteran senator thought was most beneficial to his bid for a sixth Senate term.

"It says to me she's not serious about running for president," said a source close to Grassley, suggesting that a real White House hopeful would not have snubbed a figure like the senior senator in the state that begins the nomination process.

What's clear about Sarah Palin is that she's hoping the victories she's stoked in a 2010 House takeover by the Right will evolve into an incarnation of the Ronald Reagan revolution. However, the Republican she most resembles is Barry Goldwater, the Tea Party akin to the Goldwater grass roots movement more than anything else.

Segue to Barry Goldwater...

"Lee, we're not going to have that kind of crap in this campaign. This is going to be a campaign on principles, not of personalities. I don't want that kind of Madison Avenue stuff, and if you try it I will kick your ass out of this office." - from Rick Perlstein's "Before the Storm - Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus"

I've read a lot about Goldwater, but one of the historians on whom I rely is author Rick Perlstein. He also reminded me (via email), when I asked him about how rough Goldwater was to manage on the campaign trail, that he insisted he would only run for president if he could sleep in his own bed in Phoenix at least once a week.

From the Politico piece:

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.

You want "rude"?

"A guy was peddling a canned soft drink with the unfortunate name of "Gold Water" ("The Right Drink for the Conservative Taste") from the tailgate of his truck. Goldwater was offered a sip. He spit it out. "This tastes like piss! I wouldn't drink it with gin!" (from Rick Perlstein's "Before the Storm - Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus")

It doesn't seem that Jonathan Martin or the Republican whisperers, let alone the Democratic elite, have learned a damn thing from history. You know that old saying.

The dialectic sharpened as summer became autumn: America became more frightening, Goldwater's stature grew; that made the world appear to the Establishment all the scarier--and Goldwater's stature among those who distrusted the Establishment grew all the more in the shadow of the Establishment's denunciations.

No that's not from 2009 or 2010, it's once again from Rick Perlstein on Barry Goldwater.

This from "Hurricane Sarah":

"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."

"An operative of the campaign" evidently never heard of Barry Goldwater:

It felt like a campaign, but for the fact that he refused the basic technique of having a few aides tag along to build a card file of the names behind the hands he shook. "You leave me alone, he told the aide who suggested it. "I'm doing all right just popping around."

However, no one expects Sarah to be so honest as to admit "Doggone it. I'm not even sure that I've got the brains to be President of the United States." She can't afford the self-reflection that would be taken as an admission and blasted across the Huffington Post's front page, along with every major newspaper in the country.

Whose guiding principle are these, Goldwater or Palin's: "Peace through strength. Progress through freedom. Purpose through constitutional order"?


It gives you a clue why Patrick J. Buchanan loves Sarah Palin.

But Ms. Mansour and Palin's other supporters should be careful with graphics like the one shown here that appeared on When you get into the numbers of the Harvard study they're citing it reveals a complete distortion of the facts.
  • Barack Obama leads Newt Gingrich by 30 points, 44 percent to 14 percent;
  • Barack Obama leads Sarah Palin by 25 points, 48 percent to 23 percent; and
  • Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 25 points, 43 percent to 18 percent.

I guess it all depends what the definition of "outperform" is, as well "cuts into," especially when you're still getting your ass handed to you by the sitting president who's at his lowest approval since he hit phenom status.

Who was Robert Novak talking about when he wrote about "the closest thing to a spontaneous mass movement in modern American politics"? It was Barry Goldwater, but he never turned the House for Republicans, especially when they couldn't have done it for themselves.

This is exactly what Sarah Palin has done leading the Tea Party, with Sen. John Cornyn admitting in an interview that without the Tea Party Republicans would be screwed, although he was less indelicate. Of course, he'd rather choke on the teat of a cow than give Sarah Palin the credit, but we all know how hard it is for the old boys in the Senate to give a nod to a girl.

Barack Obama put together quite a movement in 2008. However, in less than two years the "movement" has stopped.

What Sarah is hoping for is something more like the Reagan revolution. A political earthquake that doesn't just move voters, but shakes the political foundation of the Right just like Reagan, and keeps on shaking it until a new political foundation is formed. To do so she'll have to do a lot more than just free-wheeling whistle stops. She'll have to commit, something that's still in doubt she's willing or interested in doing, while also jettisoning her fear of failing, something she knows intimately through her very public falls.

But no matter how the Republican Establishment snipes behind her back, floating anonymous quotes to their favorite online news sites, it won't mean a thing.

Today's Rockefeller Republicans like Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels and New Gingrich have their hands full. However, they also have the benefit of history.

Sarah's problem is as much as she wants to turn Tea Party House victories into her own Reagan style revolution, the more she looks like Barry Goldwater. And we all know what happened when he ran for president.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and veteran national political writer out of Washington, D.C.