Palin Abruptly Quits Bus Tour, Returns to Alaska

UPDATE: AP with Palin’s response, okie dokie ma’am:

Sarah Palin is disputing online reports that she has canceled her bus tour of historic American sites, saying in a Facebook posting that her schedule will be tight the next few weeks because she’s been called for jury duty.

Palin said Wednesday that her “One Nation” bus tour would resume “when the time comes.” She added that she’s looking forward “to hitting the open road again.”

Well folks, if and when Palin’s tour bus rolls again, we and every media outlet in the country will be sure to bring it to you live–assuming, of course, that it’s still considered a news event by then. Until the “time comes,” we return you to your regularly scheduled sideshow(s).

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As Real Clear Politics reports, Republican Sarah Palin and her family have apparently ended their much-ballyhooed nationwide bus tour and returned to Alaska…with no explanation for anything:

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….

…More than a few of Palin’s core supporters have grown impatient and confused about her strategy, venting their frustration on Internet fan sites…

…Palin’s extended hiatus could mean that in spite of her readily apparent “fire in the belly,” her family has persuaded her not to further pursue the presidency. Alternatively, it could indicate just the opposite — that she is plotting her next move and wants to ensure that it is well thought-out — and that she retains the element of surprise. Indeed, the problem with assessing how Palin’s movements figure into her 2012 calculus is that she remains one of the most unpredictable political figures in America — even to her most trusted aides. [Pols emphasis]

Palin’s astounding political rise from unknown Alaska governor to GOP Vice Presidential nominee has been well-chronicled. In the years and months since the 2008 election, she has made millions of dollars from books and speaking appearances as political observers anticipated a potential run at the Republican nomination for President. But as the paragraph above suggests, the interest in Palin has increasingly become more about her unpredictability than about who she is or what she may (or may not) stand for as a political figure. She’s interesting because it’s impossible to tell what she might do next; the downside, however, is that her actual “decisions” aren’t nearly as interesting as the randomness in their choosing. The ramifications of her choices matter much less than watching her choose.

Considering that Palin is less popular than Charlie Sheen, perhaps this unpredictability is the only card she has left. Palin has always been a spectacular sideshow while politicos wondered if she would ever enter the center ring. It seems more obvious than ever that there is only sideshow, and nothing more.

Wait, Wait, Wait…Herman Cain???

According to a new poll from Zogby, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (yes, that Herman Cain) has emerged as one of the top two choices for the Republican nominee for President.

Seriously. Here’s the odd news:

Herman Cain trails only Chris Christie as the top choice among Republican primary voters in the race for the 2012 Presidential nomination. Mitt Romney ranks fourth, but voters see him as the most likely nominee by a wide margin over the rest of a 13-person field.

One-half of GOP voters say they would never vote for Donald Trump, and more than 30% say they would never vote for Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.

These results are from an IBOPE Zogby interactive poll of 1,377 Republican primary voters conducted from May 6-9.

This can’t be written off as a complete outlier, either, because the high negatives for Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and friends is consistent with other polls of late.

We’ve said before that it’s going to be extremely tough for Republicans to defeat President Obama in 2012, but if the GOP ends up with Herman freakin’ Cain as their nominee, we might as well just skip the election and jump straight to Obama’s second term.  

Colorado Republicans Love Them Some Bachmann

Colorado Republicans held their “Centennial Dinner” last weekend, which included a straw poll on the GOP candidates for President. As our pals at The Colorado Statesman report:

Unsurprisingly, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – who won the 2008 Colorado caucuses with 59 percent of the vote over John McCain’s 19 percent in a nonbinding preference poll – led with 76 votes, twice the tally of his nearest competitor, though he only garnered roughly one-fourth of the total votes. Next in line was Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a conservative lightning rod who has been making noise about a possible presidential bid in recent weeks, with 38 votes. Another half-dozen candidates bunched up with similar votes.

We’re not going to pretend that there is anything particularly meaningful about a straw poll conducted among party faithful, but the results are certainly interesting. Here’s the Top Ten from the “Centennial Dinner” Straw Poll:

1. Mitt Romney – 76 votes

2. Michele Bachmann – 38

3. Tim Pawlenty – 34

4. Mitch Daniels – 27

5. Chris Christie – 26

(tie) Donald Trump – 26

7. Sarah Palin – 20

8. Newt Gingrich – 19

9. Herman Cain – 14

10. Mike Huckabee – 12

It’s a little surprising to us that Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann received so many votes. Sure, she’s a darling of the Tea Party, but we’re talking about a vote for President here. Bachmann is relatively unknown outside of Tea Party circles, and you’d be hard-pressed to make a logical case that Bachmann stands a better chance at defeating President Obama than just about anyone else on that list (sorry, Herman Cain). The best you can say about Bachmann is that she’s a poor man’s (or is it “poor woman’s”) Sarah Palin, whose approval ratings are dropping faster than a missile in Libya.  

Sarah Palin = Nancy Pelosi

Interesting stuff from our friends at “The Fix” today:

Sarah Palin’s unfavorable rating has spiked to a new high, adding further fuel to the argument that her presidential campaign may be doomed before it begins. A new Bloomberg poll shows the former Alaska governor is now viewed unfavorably by 60 percent of American adults. That’s higher than any other poll has shown, but it’s not even the entire picture.

Of that 60 percent, nearly two-thirds – 38 percent of all adults – say they view the former GOP vice presidential nominee “very unfavorably.” No other politicians tested even comes close, including President Obama (22 percent). What’s more, Palin’s unfavorable rating is more than twice as high as her favorable rating, which rests at just 28 percent. Another 12 percent aren’t sure how they feel about her.

The poll follows a long and continuous trend in which, as the presidential race nears, people gradually find that they like Palin less and less.

In fact, the numbers are starting to look a lot like someone else’s: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Except that they are worse.

We’ve always doubted whether or not Palin would really run for President anyway, given that she makes much more money running around the country giving speeches to Tea Party groups. But these numbers show that the potential of Palin as a politician are rapidly coming to a close (if they hadn’t already).

Who Will be the Republican Presidential Nominee?

On Monday our friends at “The Fix” had an interesting story about the lack of a frontrunner in the Republican field for President is an historic anomaly:

In the ten contested Republican presidential primary races between 1952 and 2008 — nine open seat fights and the 1976 face-off between President Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan — Gallup polling has always shown a clear frontrunner by this time.

And, in eight of those ten contests, the polling frontrunner at that moment went on to be the party’s presidential nominee. (The exceptions: Barry Goldwater trailed Richard Nixon at this point in the 1964 election and John McCain trailed Rudy Giuliani at this point in the 2008 election.)

Of the eight frontrunners in Gallup polling who went on to win the nomination, none took less than 31 percent in Gallup’s hypothetical primary ballots. (That was Reagan, again, in 1980.) The average for the eight frontrunners was just over 40 percent of the vote — well more than double the amount of support that Huckabee, Romney or Palin each received in the latest Gallup numbers on the race.

With that in mind, it’s time for another Colorado Pols poll! As always, we want to know what you think will happen — not your preference. If you had to bet the deed to your house, how would you bet on the GOP Presidential field?

Click after the jump to vote…

Who Will be the Republican Nominee for President in 2012?

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Palin Responds to Giffords Shooting, Criticism

We’ve been talking about the relationship between bellicose rhetoric in the recent election cycle, frequently typified by statements and campaign materials from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson Arizona this past weekend.

This morning, former Gov. Palin released this response, which you can view for yourself:

Talking Points Memo:

Four days after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin responded to criticism over a map she posted before the election that featured gun sights over 20 targeted Democratic districts, including Giffords’s.

“Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions,” Palin wrote in an early morning post on her Facebook account on Wednesday. “But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

“When we say take up our arms, we are talking about our vote,” Palin says in this video. Does that, if it’s to be accepted as metaphor, apply to Sharron Angle’s talk of “Second Amendment remedies,” or Tom Tancredo’s warning that the President is a greater threat to the country than nuclear war, or any of the other things we’ve discussed in the last week as examples of violent rhetoric employed by highly visible spokespeople on the right?

Or is it only a “metaphor” now that the election is over–and something awful has happened?

There also seems to be controversy building over Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to describe the association of Palin’s rifle target over Rep. Giffords’ district before the election and the shooting. “Blood libel” referred to lurid, false rumors about Jews in medieval Europe told to justify their persecution. The problem with using that term here is this (beyond simply being offensive to Jews–and Giffords herself is Jewish): what Palin faces is presumption, but with a rationally arguable link to her actions.

Bottom line: isn’t it just possible that, even if Palin is right, and nothing she said or did affected the tragic events in Tucson last weekend, that Americans are becoming sick of the violent rhetoric from the right wing? Sick of the crosshairs, the rage, the endless over-the-top accusations and denunciations, the dire warnings of imminent harm to America that have no basis in reality?

If so, we can’t see how celebrating one’s right to behave that way is going to help.

Folks, that’s what we’ve been saying on these pages for days now. This shouldn’t be about whether or not this heated, violent kind of political rhetoric had any direct connection with the Tucson shootings; the point here is that these tragic events should give all politicos pause to think more carefully about what they say and the imagery and metaphors they use. We say it’s well past time for politicians in every political party to stop using phrases like “take up arms” in a political context–because there just might be a couple of people who hear that who don’t understand that this isn’t a statement to be taken literally.  

Nobody here is saying that Sarah Palin or anyone else shouldn’t have the right to say whatever they want. But maybe they just shouldn’t say these things, by their own volition, and their own sense of restraint, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Maes Picks Up Palin Endorsement (Not that One)

UPDATE: Click after the jump to see some of the comments on Dan Maes’s Facebook page about this endorsement. They had us laughing out loud.

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We’re really going to miss Republican Dan Maes when his campaign for governor comes to a close. He’s just too much fun.

Today Maes announced via Facebook that he has the support of a Palin for his campaign. Not former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, mind you, but her father-in-law, Jim Palin, who apparently makes endorsements of his own.

You can read the endorsement letter after the jump. We’re assuming that this is the same Jim Palin from Wasilla, Alaska, who is Sarah’s father-in-law, but for all we know (and given what we all know of Dan Maes), this could just be some other dude named Jim Palin who also happens to live in Alaska.  

Check out the comments on Dan Maes’s Facebook page about this. Jim Palin is either Sarah Palin’s husband, or father, or father-in-law, or…

After Further Investigation, I Decided I’m Not Guilty

Gotta love this story from The Associated Press, including the headline: “Palin Pre-Empts State Report, Clears Self.”

Trying to head off a potentially embarrassing state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain’s running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner. The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was dismissed in July for resisting pressure from Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, and numerous top aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin’s former brother-in-law.

The move came hours after the state Supreme Court refused to halt the ethics investigation. Lawmakers were expected to release their own findings Friday.

In Case You Missed It: Tina Fey as Gov. Palin on SNL

(It’s kinda creepy how much Tina Fey looks like Sarah Palin. Or how much Sarah Palin looks like Tina Fey. Whatever. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

SNL, however horrible it can be, has always been a source of political satire. Some even say that if it wasn’t for election years, SNL would have been canceled long ago. This sketch continues that tradition of lampooning American politics, and quite well I might add.

Video after the jump.

McCain Ad Bashes “Disrespectful” Obama

According to Colorado Independent, a new ad running in Colorado is bashing Barack Obama for being “disrespectful” toward Sarah Palin:

That 9/11 Truce didn’t last long.

The McCain campaign began running a TV ad Thursday in Colorado that raises the question: Is John McCain engaged in a high-stakes game of limbo? As his campaign since the Republican National Convention piles outright lies upon scurrilous outrage upon gross distortion, it remains to be seen just how low he can go.

“Lashes Out,” the latest 30-second ad from McCain, provides the answer. The ad menacingly accuses the Obama-Biden campaign of being “disrespectful” toward Sarah Palin. You can hear the announcer’s lip curl as she ticks off a litany meant to portray Barack Obama and Joe Biden as patronizing sexists.

Our favorite citation attacks Obama for calling Palin a liar, but the citation just shows this: “…lying…”

Context? We don’t need no stinking context!

Here’s Why Palin Wasn’t Giving Interviews

If you’re wondering why John McCain’s campaign had been refusing to allow reporters to interview VP choice Sarah Palin, here’s why:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin left open the option Thursday of waging war with Russia if it were to invade neighboring Georgia and the former Soviet republic were a NATO ally.

“We will not repeat a Cold War,” Palin said in her first television interview since becoming Republican John McCain’s vice presidential running mate two weeks ago.

Palin told Charles Gibson of ABC News that she’d favor including Georgia and Ukraine, both former Soviet republics, in NATO despite opposition by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Asked whether the United States would have to go to war with Russia if it invaded Georgia, and the country was part of NATO, Palin said: “Perhaps so.”

Look, we know Russia is Palin’s neighbor and all, but suggesting that we might go to war with them is probably not a good idea. Nor is letting her speak without a script, apparently.

Didn’t Anybody Check on Palin?

UPDATE (by DavidThi): According to TPM

Todd Palin, husband of Sarah, was a member of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party from 1995 through 2002. That’s the information we just got from the Alaska Division of elections.

UPDATE: According to The Associated Press:

Asked about whether Palin’s background was thoroughly checked out before he selected her, McCain told reporters in Philadelphia: “The vetting process was completely thorough and I’m grateful for the results.”

This was really the only thing McCain could say, because it’s better to try to appear like you were okay with her faults than to look incompetent.

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John McCain’s campaign is taking a lot of hits over a flurry of disclosures about VP pick Sarah Palin. And not because of the disclosures themselves, but because of the growing idea – which is more harmful itself to McCain – that Palin wasn’t actually vetted before she was offered the VP slot. As The New York Times reports:

A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain’s choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.

Although the McCain campaign said that Mr. McCain had known about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy before he asked her mother to join him on the ticket and that he did not consider it disqualifying, top aides were vague on Monday about how and when he had learned of the pregnancy, and from whom.[Pols emphasis]

While there was no sign that her formal nomination this week was in jeopardy, the questions swirling around Ms. Palin on the first day of the Republican National Convention, already disrupted by Hurricane Gustav, brought anxiety to Republicans who worried that Democrats would use the selection of Ms. Palin to question Mr. McCain’s judgment and his ability to make crucial decisions.

At the least, Republicans close to the campaign said it was increasingly apparent that Ms. Palin had been selected as Mr. McCain’s running mate with more haste than McCain advisers initially described.

Yikes. This is starting to really look bad for McCain, and it’s become obvious that nobody in the campaign was really prepared for the questions about Palin. Watch this interview with a McCain spokesman and you’ll see what we mean – the guy clearly has no answer for questions that you would have thought they should be well prepared to answer. These aren’t even all questions about Palin – they are basic messaging questions surrounding her selection that the campaign doesn’t seem to know how to deal with.

Sarah Palin = Janet Rowland?

Is it just us, or does Sarah Palin for John McCain’s VP remind you a little of Janet Rowland for Bob Beauprez’s Lieutenant Governor in 2006?

If you recall, not long after Beauprez announced Rowland as his running mate, we learned that she had recently compared homosexuality to bestiality. Nobody knew anything about Rowland – including, apparently, the Beauprez campaign – and her selection just highlighted further Beauprez’s disastrous statewide campaign.

Now, Palin is no Rowland, but the former has her own far-right ideas that McCain now has to deal with. As Colorado Independent reports, Palin supported the idea of teaching Creationism in schools when she was asked about it during her campaign for governor in Alaska:

Then in a classic McCain-style back-flip, a few days later Palin tried to take it back…

…She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

This is the person McCain thinks should be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office? As a former McCain fan, I’m actually quite sad about this, but his run for President has turned McCain from a maverick to just a mimic for the far right.

Creationism really isn’t an idea you flip-flop about. Either you believe it should be taught in schools, or you don’t. If you even entertain the idea that Creationism is worthy of being taught in schools, you’ve already crossed that line far enough – there’s no going back from there.

Sarah Palin? What Say You, Polsters?

We’re as surprised as many of you to hear that Tina Fey Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is John McCain’s choice for a running mate. Palin is so little-known that the initial AP story about her selection included lines like this:

Congressional Quarterly said her past occupations included being a commercial fishing company owner, outdoor recreational equipment company owner and sports reporter.

Nobody even knows anything about her, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but she’s really, really unknown. And what is known about her is that she is involved in a scandal involving a fired state trooper who was in a child-custody battle with her sister.

But the strangest part of the Palin choice in our view is that she doesn’t really stand up as a person who the public could see as PRESIDENT should anything happen to the 72-year-old McCain. She’s only been a governor for 2 years, and in a state that’s basically Canada. It makes it difficult for McCain to rip Obama for a lack of experience when his running mate is the most inexperienced of the entire bunch.

What do You Think of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP?

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