Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sarah Palin cancels bus tour, America exhales

Sorry for my absence the past several days. I've been dealing with a nasty eye infection and spending as little time in front of the computer as possible.

Anyway... what did I miss?

Why, it's Sarah Palin in the news! But, actually, she's only in the news because she's not in the news. Which is to say, she's in the news even when she's not making news, or, rather, when she even isn't doing something newsworthy.

That's the power of Sarah Palin.

For example. Remember that bus tour? How could you forget? It was all over the news, her high-profile trip from historic site to historic site, trying to connect herself to America's grand history, and, ever so conveniently, to early-primary states like New Hampshire, where she upstaged Mitt Romney, who actually is running for president. And there was all that talk about how this must be a prelude to a presidential run, an unconventional way to launch a campaign.

Yeah, well.

That bus tour ended much like her governorship. She quit:

Less than a month after she appeared poised to shake up the Republican presidential campaign, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has once again receded from the 2012 limelight.

When Palin launched her "One Nation" bus tour on Memorial Day amid a swirl of media attention and excitement from her fervent fan base, many political observers who had once dismissed her were reminded of the jolt that her candidacy could provide to what has thus far been a relatively sleepy GOP nominating fight.

As Palin toured historical sites along the East Coast, she was clearly reveling in the tangible excitement she'd ginned up: She even eagerly answered questions -- from the denizens of the "lamestream" media -- ranging from matters of political process to an array of issues facing the nation.

In an apparent repudiation to those who dismissed her trip as a mere publicity stunt, Palin's openness with reporters about her intentions to visit Iowa and South Carolina -- in addition to her highly scrutinized stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire -- lent credence to her repeated assertions that she was indeed seriously considering a White House bid.

Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska, where the skies are currently alight for over 19 hours a day and the Bristol Bay salmon fishing season is nearing its peak.

As Palin enjoys her sojourn to the 49th state, she has not reconnected with key early-state figures like Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and she may have jeopardized whatever political momentum she gained from her recent reemergence in the 2012 discussion. Her political action committee's website still greets visitors with a stale banner, announcing the nationwide bus tour beginning "[t]his Sunday, May 29th."

Hilarious, no? And predictable. Oh. So. Very. Predictable.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that despite all the media attention, and despite her lingering stardome, she never really caught on with her own party, her poll numbers lagging even the insufficiently conservative Mitt Romney. Yes, even most Republicans have had enough of her, and many just don't take her seriously at all, on top of those who simply loathe her.

Or maybe it had to do with the fact that her bus tour was never a prelude to a presidential run -- because she isn't running for president and has never had any serious intention of running for president. She's been tantalizing us (or those who care to be tantalized) for a long time, but her quest for the limelight has always been more about boosting her brand and raking in as much dough as possible, including from her gullible supporters, whom she continues to dupe. (And about using her name so that her children can cash in as well.)

And her bus tour certainly allowed her to engage in some serious profiteering.

But what now? Oh, I'm sure she'll find some way to get back in the news, some way to get back into the limelight. What is she without it? It's like she'd evaporate without it, cease to exist. Which, in a way, is true. The woman would still exist, but the brand would not. Sarah Palin can go back to Alaska, but "Sarah Palin," which seems to be what Sarah Palin has become, not least because she craves the money and stardom, needs the attention.

I'm sure we won't have to wait too long. Hey, maybe we'll get more bus tour. Good times.


Oh, and because I'm sure you were wondering about this, she's also cancelled her trip to the Sudan (with the likes of Franklin Graham and pal Greta Van Susteren).

Where she was going to tout her evangelical cred and play the ugly self-righteous American.

Because, of course, the horrific situation in that war-torn and ravaged country, including in the new South Sudan, is a wonderful opportunity for exploitation by the Christian right.

Not that Palin has a fucking clue about what's really been going on there.



Can you see the Sudan from Alaska?


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