Tales from the Trail

Will she? Won’t she? Still reading the tea leaves…

USA/Is Sarah Palin getting the kind of press that makes for viable presidential campaigns? Maybe not, and her critics appear to be increasingly of a conservative stripe.

The Mama of Mama Grizzlies proved to be a fierce campaigner on the 2010 midterm election trail, and she continues to command an army of devoted supporters, particularly among members of the Tea Party movement.

But winning the White House requires an ability to attract many, many independent voters. And two months after the Arizona shootings, and her use of the charged term “blood libel” against critics of her gun-toting rhetoric, Palin seems to be having trouble convincing influential conservatives to take her seriously as a seaworthy candidate.

“She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition,” says the headline of a  POLITICO article that identifies the Republican 2008 vice presidential nominee with a politics of grievance and group identity that betrays conservative principles. And who are these critics? Conservative columnist George Will… former Bush strategist Peter Wehner… Manhattan Institute analyst Heather Mac Donald

Not exactly the Lamestream Media.

Then there’s Fox News jefe Roger Ailes. According to New York Magazine, Palin sought Ailes’ advice after the January shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords unleashed a deluge of criticism over her use of rifle cross-hairs to identify vulnerable Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’, on a 2010 campaign map.

Washington Extra – Word test

Presidents are tested almost every day, in big ways and small.

Tonight is one of the bigger ones. Will Obama’s words at the memorial service for the Arizona shooting victims have the impact of uniting a politically divided country? USA-SHOOTING/

Will Obama’s words resonate with a public that is divided over whether he is taking the country in the right direction? There will be plenty of analysis and punditry afterward on whether the president’s famed oratorical skills stood up to the test.

His predecessors faced similar challenges. President George W. Bush was credited with helping pull the country together in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and President Bill Clinton’s popularity was boosted after his speech on the Oklahoma City bombing.

Palin’s choice of words raises new questions

RTR2DVXI_Comp-150x150It didn’t take long for Sarah Palin to go from an uncompromising response to critics of her campaign rhetoric to new questions about her choice of words.

Not the gun-toting choice of words that had already landed the former Alaska governor in hot water with political opponents who tried to blame her rhetoric for last weekend’s melee in Tucson, where a gunman tried to assassinate congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords while killing six and wounding 13 others.

This time the questions surround two words that are charged with meaning:  blood libel.