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NYT: Palin has become ubiquitous political force

February 6, 2010

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin appears to have take on an increasingly political and active role since she resigned from public office and became just Private Citizen Palin.

Sarah Palin (AP photo)

But as the New York Times details in an article today, Palin’s exit from elected office is an entrance into an increasingly connected role in American politics, including her headlining spot for the Tea Party convention wrapping up today in Nashville. Palin entered the U.S. Senate race fray here in Kentucky this week with her endorsement of Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green, himself a darling of the Tea Party movement.

The article offered the following assessment of what Palin has become –

Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before. Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office.

“Few public figures not in office have leveraged the nexus between media and political positioning as Sarah Palin has,” said the Washington lawyer Robert Barnett (who negotiated, among other things, Ms. Palin’s lucrative deal with Fox News, an arrangement with the Washington Speaker’s Bureau that pays her a reported $100,000 a pop, and a deal with Harper Collins to write her memoir, “Going Rogue,” which has already earned her upward of eight figures).

It’s interesting to note the team Palin has assembled to surround her and carry her forward, with the team just as formidable if not more so than when she was running for the second-highest elected office in the country.

Apparently her endorsement of Paul isn’t sitting well with some in the Republican establishment. From the article –

Her scheduled appearance in Nashville on Saturday incited cries of “sellout” from other Tea Party factions that objected to the high cost of tickets to the convention ($549). Many of her “establishment” supporters were confounded by her decision to endorse Mr. Paul, who is facing Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Kentucky Senate primary and who is the son of Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate of libertarian bent.

“I’m disappointed by her endorsement of Paul,” said William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the conservatives credited with “discovering” Ms. Palin in 2007. “But they always disappoint you.”

Republican candidates have alternately pleaded for her support and avoided her like frostbite. Rep. Roy Blunt, for instance, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, has lobbied for Ms. Palin to appear on his behalf (to no avail, so far), whereas Scott Brown, the new Republican senator from Massachusetts, claimed he had never spoken to her before later acknowledging that an election-night phone call from Ms. Palin had “slipped his mind.”

As the article notes, Palin is “vocal and visible” and ready for a variety of roles. Any ideas which role’s coming next?

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