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.

The First Draft: Palin Phenomenon

USA-POLITICS/PALINShe’s everywhere.

We can think of no other losing vice presidential candidate who has captured so much media coverage a year AFTER losing the bid for the White House.

The Palin phenomenon perseveres (this week anyway).

The Washington Post has TWO columnists writing about her today — Eugene Robinson’s “Our Evita,” and Richard Cohen “Time for some Palintology.”

The front page of the Post showcases a quote from Sarah Palin’s book “Going Rogue” which is out in bookstores today: “I always remind people from outside our state that there’s plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals — right next to the mashed potatoes.”

The First Draft: Palin for President?

Is she running for president? Seeking a coffee summit with Hillary Clinton? Or just selling her book?

The only clear answer about Sarah Palin’s intentions is that the questions are drawing lots and lots of U.S. media attention. 
PALIN/  
This week, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor is on the cover of Newsweek magazine. She’s also going on-air for separate interviews with TV’s Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters of ABC News.
    
It’s all about promoting her new memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life,” which goes on sale Tuesday. But the notion that she also might be testing the waters for a 2012 presidential run is what’s drawing the serious attention.
    
Supporters liken her to a populist 21st century Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater. But not all the coverage is as she’d like it. OBAMA/
    
Newsweek, which pictures her on its cover as an attractive young woman in running shorts, scoffs at the idea of a Palin 2012 presidential campaign.
    
“Her brand of take-no-prisoners partisanship is not good for the Republicans in the long run and not good for the country,” Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham told MSNBC.
    
“When you have a kind of ‘death panel’ ideology, where you make pronouncements that are factually untenable and tend to inflame the conversation … that’s not good for governance.”
 
She got a warmer reception from another woman of the campaign trail, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom Palin thinks she might like to meet over coffee.
 
“I absolutely would look forward to having coffee. I’ve never met her. And I think it would be, you know, very interesting to sit down and talk with her,” Clinton, now U.S. secretary of state, said over the weekend. USA-GERMANY/
    
But the last word is likely to be Palin’s. Her book promotion is expected to draw huge crowds across the country. And while a Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 60 percent of Americans don’t think she’s qualified to be president, a similar percentage of Republicans say she is.
  

Photo Credits: Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder (Palin); Reuters/Jason Reed (White House); Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Clinton)