Sarah Palin, Mavericky Uniter of Grassroots and Insiders

Or not, as the Denver Post’s Allison Sherry reports:

The leading contenders for Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination traded shots Monday regarding the timing of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s upcoming visit.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said he thought it would be “rude” for Palin to steal the limelight from the state Republican assembly by endorsing former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton on Saturday night, as has been rumored she will do.

Palin’s appearance at Magness Arena in Denver will come hours after the state GOP assembly wraps up in Loveland – where Buck likely will overwhelmingly capture the party nomination and get his name on the August primary ballot…

In a release Monday, Norton’s campaign said Buck was criticizing “one of the heroes of the conservative cause.”

The statement, released by spokeswoman Cinamon Watson, likened the GOP assembly to a back-room deal. “Buck is proving to be the ultimate good ol’ boy – trying to keep the ‘back room’ all to himself. As far as we’re concerned, Sarah Palin is welcome in Colorado any time, any place,” Watson said.

Jane Norton’s campaign is paddling upstream trying to undermine Ken Buck as “the ultimate good ol’ boy,” especially with anybody who has read the biographies of Norton’s immediate family. That’s the easy counter here, but there’s a larger problem we see on the horizon: is Sarah Palin sacrificing her “Tea Party” rogue street cred by endorsing another party establishment choice like Norton–as she is fully expected to do this weekend in a grade-school transparent attempt to steal Ken Buck’s state convention fire?

It’s not the only endorsement that Palin is facing questions from her grassroots supporters about. Just over a week ago, Palin endorsed a similar “establishment” candidate in California’s Senate race, Carly Fiorina, over a candidate favored by the conservative base–that on the heels of her endorsement of former running mate John McCain in his Senate primary against a conservative challenger. Both of these endorsements, as Buck’s campaign surely hopes is repeated with Palin’s impending endorsement of Norton, have provoked the most severe criticism of Palin from her right that she’s ever received. And since the “Tea Party” crowd may be the only corner of America where Palin’s favorability ratings aren’t hopelessly underwater, stepping into this primary on the wrong side might seriously backfire–for Palin’s career aspirations and Norton’s.

Or, forgive the George Orwell gratuity, perhaps the sheep will start bleating a different tune?

UPDATE: More thoughts on this subject here.

49 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Guess I see it a tad differently, but no worries. I think Palin (or her handlers) realize that it’s growing too close to election season to have the Tea Party folks not fall relatively in line with the “best” candidates, and her place in the GOP has become a solidifying force, at least as I see it. Seems ike Buck has this appentence for whining every time he doesn’t land this or that endorsement as well; doing that with Palin didn’t work for Trey Greyson or Chuck DeVore, so he should be cautious moving forward. The Fiorina pick may have engendered some criticism  but all my CA conservative friends are seeing the positive impact it’s made on her chances. Never underestimate Palin’s power to influence.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      more than I do this diary’s conclusions.

      However, one point that POLs makes that I absolutely agree with is that Palin is tipping her hand and showing her cards–she is clearly not nearly as interested in who has the most “conservative” credentials as she is in which candidate has the best chance of defeating a Democrat. I think her pragmatic approach and her endorsement of long time allies only proves that she is no different than any other politician.

      If her supporters believe better of her than that, they will be sorely disappointed.  

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      Be afraid, Ken Buck!

      Poll: Low Favorability Ratings for Sarah Palin

      Twenty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, while 38 percent view her unfavorably, according to the poll, conducted March 29 through April 1.

      Only 7 percent of Democrats say they have a favorable view of Palin and 59 percent have a negative view. By contrast, 43 percent of Republicans have a positive view of Palin and 16 percent have a negative view.

      Palin has become a sort of spokesperson for the conservative Tea Party movement. She gave the keynote speech at the first National Tea Party convention this year, and she kicked off a national Tea Party bus tour last month.

      College graduates were also among the demographic groups likely to have a negative view of Palin, the poll found: 52 percent of Americans with a college degree said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 33 percent of those without a degree had an unfavorable opinion. Among both groups, 24 percent had a favorable view.

      On second thought, maybe don’t be so afraid.

      Sorry, I do see things that Ken Buck should be afraid of, but Sarah Palin is not one of them. I might add that my diehard faith in the wisdom and decency of ordinary Americans will not allow me to accept the anti-intellectual Palin as a credible spokesperson for the views of half of this country.

      The fear some have for her makes me queasy (I am not accusing you personally of displaying any).

    • marilou says:

      There is no bigger whiner than Norton’s boy, Josh Penry. While Norton’s in DC, lapping up, Penry’s crying about Buck being the “insider.”  

    • colawman says:

      Only one thing I would question. You state that Buck has an appentence for whining every time he doesn’t land….

      Just wondering what other examples you would consider his whining about.  He has called attention to Norton being the Washington insider, but hard to refute the evidence. Plus it is good strategy in this climate to point out she is backed by McCain and the other power brokers. I don’t think this rises to whining.

      • It seems whenever Buck doesn’t receive an endorsement or support he whines about Norton being an “insider candidate”. Yet he was more than happy to receive the endorsement of Jim DeMint and Erik Erickson.

        Buck is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

  2. Ralphie says:

    that Palin is some sort of ideologue.

    She’s not.  She’s a grifter.  She goes where the money is, where the easy marks are.  If that’s the Tea Party, so be it.  If that’s supporting a party insider, so be that too.

    Hell, even Bristol is getting $30K per speech these days.

  3. BlueCat says:

    have shown themselves to be so oblivious to the reality based world, they probably won’t let anything interfere with their adoration of Palin.  No matter what self described tea party leaders may say, the fact that Palin supports the establishment candidates tea partiers hate will not make a dent.

    They have no problem hating McCain and loving McCain supporting Palin.  They may not vote for the candidates she endorses but they will still pay big bucks to buy her books, attend her events and have their pictures taken with her.  That’s all Palin cares about and she’s in luck.  Facts just don’t matter to these people.  

    After all, they don’t even believe their own tax returns.  If they want to believe they paid more taxes they won’t let reality get in the way. They certainly won’t let anything get in the way of Palin worship either.

  4. In her defense, she has been picking women and she said that the pink elephants are coming to change Washington or something like that.  

    She picked Carly Fiorina.  This is the same Fiorina who said she didn’t think Palin could run a large corporation.  

    So maybe it’s just a woman’s solidarity thing.  

    I like Norton’s spokesperson’s comment that Buck is trying to keep the “back room” all to himself.  As I recall, Norton was invited.  She just declined the invitation.  

  5. Barron X says:


    They don’t much like Palin.

    They don’t cotton much to people claiming to be the leaders of the T-party movement.  


    Here’s what you do:

    remember how Bennet had to comp over half the tickets for the Obama rally in order to make Fiddler’s Green look at least 25% full ?

    I predict deja vu all over again.  

    First off, where can I even buy tickets to the Palin appearance at Magness Arena on Saturday night ?  Not here:

    I assume that there are no tickets, and anyone who wants to attend can just walk in, free of charge.  

    Despite having to pay Paylin $150,000 for appearing, plus expenses, Sarah’s fans get to see her for free.  Maybe the Norton campaign makes something off of the parking concessions ?  

    What I’m suggesting is that this event is going to be a bust, because Palin doesn’t excite Conservatives or T-partiers anymore.

    It will be the last time anyone pays big bucks for her to give a speech.  

    In a weeks’ time Norton will be holding a 9 AM press conference to thank her supporters (apologies to AR fans.)


  6. H-man says:

    I think everyone in Colorado knows Sarah Palin did not come upon Jane Norton out of the blue at a Mensa meeting or a conservative think tank.  

    Sarah would still be an unknown in Alaska if McJain’s brother in law Charlie Black and John “tear down that fence” McCain had not happened upon her. This is what we call DC insider political payback.

    This reminds me of what “I am not the DC insider, that is Ken Buck” had to say when DeMint endorsed Buck:

    “By my count, that’s 1-to-25 in endorsements from Republican Senators,” Norton’s campaign spokesman, Nate Strauch, said. He added that “virtually every conservative leader in Colorado” back Norton, but he didn’t elaborate

    When Buck gets an endorsement it is because of something he did.  

    When Norton gets one it is because of someone Charlie Black bought.

    • how much vitriol you store up and unleash on candidates who tout your banner and ideologies (like Palin) simply because you’re in the tank for another candidate. Let’s chat about DeMint; is he an “insider”? He’s the darling of the Right. There are decent incumbents on both sides, and the anti-incumbency (or even the air of being an “incumbent”) smacks of blind hatred towards ALL people in Washington. What about Pence, or Inhofe, or Cantor? All are the GOP’s bread-and-butter talking points,  and they are “DC insiders” who play the Washington game. No offense, but I simply find it odd.

  7. 6thCDwatcher says:

    However, I do think this will help the Norton campaign.  With already huge endorsement by Owens, Palin will surely add much more positivity to the ethos of Norton. And will help her stand above the competition.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      Seriously? Opportunism and Ref C … not sure Palin and Owens are the best references for your gal.

    • colawman says:

      My opinion is a Palin endorsement of Buck would have been a deadly blow to Norton. I do not think a Palin endorsement of Buck is a deadly blow.  Having said that, I am not sure Palin is going to endorse Norton this Saturday.  With all the build up and anticipation it would be a tough blow to Norton if it does not occur. I assume the media will now be watching and waiting to report the endorsement.  If it does not occur the story will be the lack of an endorsement.  Just some of the goofy stuff that crashes around in my head.

      • colawman says:

        Should be: I do not think a Palin endorsement of Norton is a deadly blow to Buck. Sorry….heading off in embarassment.

      • Norton has the moderates, and with the Palin endorsement she will capture even more of the tea party folks. Furthermore, Buck isn’t raising any money. How’s he going to get his message out? With the gold he finds at the end of a rainbow?

        Let’s be honest Buck had a nice little run, now it’s time for Cry-baby-Buck to go away.

        • colawman says:

          Absolutely right that Buck’s fundraising did pale in comparison to Norton’s 1.9 million.  What is interesting is the effectiveness of that money. Norton had to withdraw from the state assembly she spent $250,000 on trying to get out the “straw poll votes”.  Internal polling followed that suggested she was in danger of not only being held off the ballot but losing the opportunity to petition on. I will give her credit for seeing the approaching hazard.

          She went through her money so fast she had to jettison her high paid campaign manager and spokesman. Not a good sign when you are in a battle to cut staff. Ken Buck is adding staff.  

          At the end of the first quarter the cash on hand was very similar. Jane 600 g’s and Ken 400 g’s.

          I appreciate Norton’s ability to hang on regardless of her continual problems. Norton will continue to outraise Buck in the money department. But her weakening poll numbers suggests it won’t matter.

        • H-man says:

          Norton has already lost.  The last month or two of her campaign has been like watching a fish flopping on the ground as it tries to breath air.

          Buck gets a biggeer crowd in Grand Junction on a weekday than Norton and Penry do on a weekend.

          It’s over for Norton, Hollywood.  

          Caucus loss in March.

          What does Norton do?  She runs away from the Assembly.  

          Assembly loss in May.  What is she going to do next?  She is running out of special interest money and her lobbyist friends and family want to invest in someone that is actually going to be a Senator.

          Want to wait around for the August Primary?

          Let me help you.  It’s a loss too.

  8. redeye says:

    packing the R side of the aisle with votes so he won’t have to work so hard to get his crap through.

    He doesn’t care if Palin damages her credibility endorsing his hand-picked candidates.  In fact, it’s a win-win if she does.  She gets damaged in the process.

    Palin wants the DC support that Black can deliver so badly, she doesn’t see what’s happening.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.