Does our favorite lipsticked demagogue exit public consciousness, not with a bang but a whimper? (Apologies to TS Eliot.) Sarah Palin has slowly but surely receded from the scene over 2011, to the relief of many and the grief of a few. Here is a sampling of how the year went. Hint: it didn't start out too well!
|Image from Sarah Palin WTF 2011 Calendar|
January 2011Following the terrible tragedy in Tuscon where Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, and ordinary civilians were murdered or seriously wounded in a broad-daylight shooting, Sarah felt so victimized that she released a video (against best advice from her boss at Fox News) claiming she had been the subject of a blood libel. Nevermind that the image of crosshairs covering the Arizona congresswoman's district still remained on SarahPAC's website. Many observers condemned the misuse of the term 'blood libel' and regarded the speech as a lost opportunity to show leadership. Or compassion. Or decency.
The National Enquirer reported that Sarah's husband, Todd, was embroiled in a sex scandal involving a massage therapist who was charged with prostitution. Sarah's lawyer was paid to write a 'press release' for the Anchorage PD that said not one scintilla of evidence was found linking Todd to a prostitution ring. Shailey Tripp, the massage therapist, spent many months in a quest to regain her computer, phone, and datebooks from the Anchorage police. She is reviewing and analyzing her records in order to present proof that she was paid for sex and pimped out by Todd.
February 2011Rick Santorum suggested that Sarah is or should be too busy with "all these kids" as a way of excusing her second annual absence at CPAC, an important annual Republican affair for potential candidates. Palin retorted that her "kids don't hold [her] back from attending a conference," and proceeded to add, "I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I'll let his wife call him that instead."
Sarah attended the Long Island Association's annual luncheon and in spite of her wish that this line wouldn't be the take-away, she snarked, "It’s no wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you better breast-feed your baby – yeah, you better – because the price of milk is so high right now!" This would not be the only time in 2011 when Sarah fostered fear over grocery inflation.
Certain members of the 'major media' took a break from Sarah, and gave her the silent treatment. Her star faded a little more.
|"I've heard of her in an infamous way"|
Sarah also visited Israel this month, wearing her overlarge Star of David. She aborted a trip to Bethlehem, apparently realizing that meant traveling into Palestinian lands, but managed to stop at the Western Wall. She expressed her belief that Israel should continue to expand its settlements into the Palestinian territories. Even though she dined with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, it looks like she had zero effect on the Middle East peace process.
April 2011Keeping up her incessant slurs against President Obama, Sarah claimed she isn't a birther but asserted (falsely) that Obama spent $2 million to keep his birth certificate from being made public and supported Donald Trump's efforts to investigate the issue.
Sarah visited Wisconsin to deliver some raw meat to the Tea Party and support Governor Scott Walker's anti-union legislation but ended up being booed loudly by union leaders and supporters, who made up the majority of the 6500-strong crowd. She also lambasted President Obama, screeching, "We didn't elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic." At one time she didn't know what the Vice President does. Perhaps she doesn't know what the President does, either?
Her approval rating continued to fall as Kathleen noted in this PoliticalGates post.
May 2011While the rest of the political world agreed that killing Osama Bin Laden was a brilliant feather in the President's foreign policy cap, Sarah instead criticized Obama for "pussy-footing around" because he chose not to release a photo of the corpse. Morbid much? I bet old Chuck would've loved to see it, too.
News emerged indicating Sarah may have purchased a luxury home in Arizona, encouraging pundits to wonder anew if she was preparing to enter the race for president.
|"Think we can fake out the reporters if we veer off on this ramp at the last minute?"|
June 2011Stephen Bannon announced the results of a secret project: "a two-hour-long, sweeping epic" of a film titled "The Undefeated," set to open in Iowa in July. If there ever was a sign that Sarah was going to run for president, this was it! If there ever was a documentary that would set the record straight about Sarah's record, here it was! (Box Office Mojo reported later, "Even before The Undefeated bottomed out in its second weekend, the movie was a bust in its first weekend...")
|Sarah told Piper this was a family vacation, not a campaign tour|
As if that wasn't frustrating enough, Palin was snubbed by Margaret Thatcher aides this way: "Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts."
July 2011A confident-she-could-win-the-Presidency-Sarah quoted Todd as she weighed in on the problem of grocery inflation again in an interview with Newsweek. She claimed the price of Slim Jims rose 169% "just recently." Politifact disagreed.
"I was ticked off at Todd yesterday," she said. "He walks into a gas station as we’re driving over from Minnesota. He buys a Slim Jim—we’re always eating that jerky stuff—for $2.69. I said, 'Todd, those used to be 99 cents, just recently!' And he says, 'Man, the dollar’s worth nothing anymore.' "
Sarah scheduled trip to Iowa for September 3, signaling to her diehard fans that she surely would announce something by then, since she had promised to make her decision known by August or early September. Meantime, SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford reported that the PAC had taken in $1.6 million during the first half of the year. Four percent of that ($65,000) went to actual candidates. Sarah probably had to keep the lion's share since the dollar was worth so little anymore.
|What, no bendy straw??|
A projected Labor Day weekend Palin-O'Donnell Tea Party event created high drama at the end of the month. "First Sarah Palin was scheduled to attend the Tea Party of America's Iowa rally this weekend. Then Christine O'Donnell was invited. Then Christine O'Donnell was uninvited. Then she was re-invited. Now Palin is out. Maybe."
September 2011Sarah (sans Christine) finally did make it to the Tea Party gathering where she announced she wouldn't be announcing, yet. She did proclaim that the US needed to eliminate all federal corporate income tax in order to cure the economy, though.
September also saw the release of Joe McGinniss' book, The Rogue. Sarah's attorney wrote a letter to McGinniss' publisher threatening to sue for publishing false statements. The Rogue revealed titillating details like Sarah's pre-marital trysting with basketball star Glenn Rice and snorting cocaine off 55-gallon drums, among other embarrassing tales. I can find no evidence that a lawsuit was filed.
|Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images|
Pretending to still be politically relevant, Sarah praised Newt Gingrich and bashed Rick Perry on Greta Van Susteren's show. She berated the October 18 Republican debate monitors for not pressing candidates harder for details, illustrating award-winning irony.
November 2011Sarah let loose on pedophilia suspect Jerry Sandusky, declaring on another Greta show, "Hang him from the highest tree. I’ll bring the rope." Van Susteren had to remind Sarah that sentences are usually carried out only after the accused has been found guilty of the crime.
Piers Morgan commiserated with Mark Kelly, Gabby Giffords' husband, over how insensitive Sarah Palin had been during the aftermath of the January shooting. Mark had hoped they would have heard from Sarah so he could tell her they knew she wasn't responsible, but that she had been irresponsible. Sarah never got in touch, though—she was no doubt too busy insisting she was blameless.
December 2011It's still December, of course, but possibly Sarah's biggest contribution to the national political discourse this month was her predictable disparaging of President Obama. Apparently the Obama's Christmas card was devoid of "family, faith and freedom," by featuring First Dog Bo lying in front of a cozy fireplace in a festive and traditionally-decorated room in the White House. I thought it was a really nice card that Americans of any religion (or no religion even) would appreciate.
And finally, an 'independent group' calling themselves "Sarah Palin's Earthquake" began running low-budget advertisments telling Iowans to vote rogue during the upcoming GOP caucuses. A Palin supporter was heard to exclaim, "Paul could run Librarian which would take votes from Obama, Romney will be the Rino pick and Obama for the liberals, and Palin for the American."
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Here's to a Happy New Year, dear Politicalgaters, and may all your earthquakes be small ones.