Palin’s time in the national spotlight is, at least for the moment, over!

The news that Fox News Channel has decided against renewing Sarah Palin’s contract means that her time in the national spotlight is, at least for the moment, over.

By Chris Cillizza

In truth, Palin had largely disappeared from the political conversation once it became clear she wouldn’t be running for president in 2012. But, now that she is officially gone — without the Fox News platform or an elected office, it’s hard to see how she continues to get attention — it’s worth revisiting (or maybe visiting) what she meant to the political world.

Let’s start with this basic, unassailable fact: From the moment she was picked to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Palin came to dominate the political/media culture like few politicians before or after her have done.

Palin was that rare politician about whom there was no gray area in terms of how people regarded her. If you loved her, you LOVED her. And if you hated her, well, you HATED her. That division of opinion made Palin perhaps the single most compelling Republican politician over these past four years. In many ways, Palin had as much in common with a celebrity as she did a politician. ( We once dubbed her a “celebritician” for that very reason.) She was the political version of Kanye West: you didn’t have to like her to wonder what she was going to do next.
Palin’s initial appeal was built on her “everywoman” story: mother of five, including a baby with Down’s Syndrome, wife to a snowmobile racing champion, reformer mayor-turned-governor.

We still remember sitting down with Palin in the spring of 2008 in Washington, D.C. at the National Governors Association conference. (It turns out that was when John McCain first met her, too.)

The Palin in that interview was candid, self-effacing and charismatic. And that was the Palin who spent the first few weeks as a candidate largely impressing both the McCain campaign and the Republican base. Remember that she was massively outdrawing McCain on the stump for much of the final few months of the campaign.

Then something changed. It’s impossible to trace what began the transformation in Palin but it’s a fair guess to say that her interview with Katie Couric was the spark. Palin seemed to be either over- or under-briefed for the interview and came off as standoffish and, worse, not up to the job for which she was running.

In the wake of that interview, Palin had a choice: Would she acknowledge she was off her game and try to re-boot with another (or several other) major network interviews or would she bunker in, insisting the fault lied with a “gotcha” media?

We all know the path she took. Palin leaned hard into her “lamestream media” attack and began turning on everyone, including the man who had vaulted her to the national stage. In the process, she somehow lost the mantle of reformer that made her so attractive to many voters in the first place. She embraced a sort of anti-intellectualism in which her lack of knowledge about foreign affairs was unimportant since it was a test put into place by a media who wanted to destroy her.

Palin, in short, began to believe everything that her most ardent supporters thought about her. (It’s dangerous for any politician to believe what your biggest fan thinks of you; you need to appeal to voters who are not your biggest fans, and even to some of your enemies, to win elections.)

She became bigger than politics — in her own mind — and began to focus much more on the celebrity side of her persona (the various reality shows, her daughter, Bristol, on “Dancing with the Stars”) than on the political end. Stories of her refusing to confirm or canceling her involvement in party events became legion. Eventually, GOP fundraisers stopped asking Palin to be involved because the bang they got from her name being on an invite didn’t make up for the chaos she and her entourage guaranteed.

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34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chespen
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:29:59

    I disagree that people either loved or hated her. I was appalled by her from her very first appearance but that is not hate. I found it frightening that someone so semi literate and vindictive could be under serious consideration for the vice presidency and could only conclude that the men who picked her only used their eyes and not the brain in their head to pick her. I think she owns a lot of the blame for the disrespect and paranoia in the political climate today. I saw her as someone who enjoyed working up a crowd to mass hatred-licking her lips as they shouted”kill him” was a bone chilling moment for me. If the MSM had done its homweork as well as the bloggers did she would have vanished after 2008. In a way-she is a victim as well: used by the politicians and the media for the attention she could bring them. If it were not for Gabby Giffords I could almost feel sorry for Sarah Palin.The notion that she could have studied and learned to fulfill her promise is absurd!


    • Kelsbells
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:22:29

      Sarah will always be a kind of victim, though she doesn’t see herself as that or she’d never leave her house.

      I don’t think there’s another public figure who’s been as grossly lied about as she has. That is certainly proven. The liars in Alaska are disgusting. It’s acceptable to criticize a candidate’s professional record (though Obama is exempt from this apparently) but it is abominable that there are people who get off on creating false rumors and exaggerating simple stories that even Sarah’s been honest about.

      Sigh. What’s good for her is, when people meet her on a daily basis, they treat her like an everyday human. There’s a reason kids’ friends love her. As a person, she’s like all of us: a doting parent, adoring grandmother, frequent hockey/bball stands spectator…

      Conservatives could easily ignorantly pick apart every picture and statement from Obama or his wife. they are classier than that, than the average hating liberal who can’t raise their own standards.

      Shame liberals.


      • Syrin
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:11:32

        Thank you for your comment… are you aware of anything that Sarah (Abused Power) Palin has done in her political career? The liars in Alaska!!! Who are you calling a liar? Ever think that you as a conservative have refused to see the truth concerning this fraud? Why do you like her? what has she done to further conservative values? The 24 month that this highly incompetent woman was given she did nothing to push forward sound conservative issues. She raised taxes on the only tax payers in the state, private industry…. She had the biggest budgets in the history of the state… This piece of work then redistributed part of those funds so every man, woman and child so they have to pay taxes on it! Oh, she appointed pro abortion judges to the Ak supreme court! But, it wasn’t all vacations and sun beds as a priority for Sarah, she and her dude found a way to perpetuated her as a viable candidate for VP… of course using state resources and intimidation of many of those resources (people) FYI! It’s over for her! Stop defending the indefensible! go cut a check to SarahPAC Bwhahahah

  2. WakeUpAmerica
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:58:45

    “I saw her as someone who enjoyed working up a crowd to mass hatred-licking her lips as they shouted”kill him” was a bone chilling moment for me.”

    That was a very telling moment for the people who were paying attention.


    • Kelsbells
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:25:10

      What were your thoughts when your President disrespected 80% of the country by telling business owners they didn’t built their businesses? What LEADER of the PEOPLE says that?

      He’s either selfish, stupid, or jealous of other people’s abilities and success. I mean, business owners are who move the economy. THEY pay taxes, boatloads. And they have to endure a PRESIDENT saying they didn’t built their life sources that could crumble at any bad decision of Congress or any factor?

      THAT is chilling. and sad. Sadder that liberals can ignore it or not hear it.


      • SammyW
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:09:02

        This person is truly, truly clueless. Ignorance is not attractive.

      • gypsyrose
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 20:00:16

        this is a post about sarah palin-it is not a post about President Obama and it is not a post about conservatives vs. democrats. Both repubs and dems despise palin. the republicans not only shut her out of their convention, they wouldn’t let her speak and cancelled her interviews-which we all know because she “told” on fox for doing so.

        you cultists are too predictable-spew the same “doting mother/grandmother/watcher of hockey and basketball:…bs!! where are the many photos of her watching games in alaska? the “family” posts plenty of personal photos but none showing her at church, at sporting events, at home reading a book to trig or going for a walk with trig and piper-no photos of any “normal’ home life at all. the only “event” we have seen her at was a paid showing at a car show and it was obvious to everyone who watched the video that she was higher than a kite and/or so weak she could barely function.

        there are more republicans speaking out about her final demise than democrats-oh and cultist, my President Obama NEVER acknowledges her at all in any way whatsoever. why don’t you stay on topic and discuss how far she has fallen and tell us more about the many indictments wither her name on them?

      • brbr2424
        Jan 30, 2013 @ 10:47:26

        If Obama had told business owners that they had not built their businesses, that would not have been a good thing. It’s a good thing he never said that. Obama has done more to promote small business and lower their taxes than his predecessor. Ask a small business owner now how they are doing and they will say they are feeling the squeeze because starting January 1, taxes were raised by 2% on working people, the only people Republicans want to tax.

      • rusticat
        Feb 01, 2013 @ 00:02:54

        What’s funny is………………… husband started a business in his twenties and it was worth several million by his early thirties. He always said that some of it was talent, but that there was a lot of luck involved, and then he’d always point out that if he hadn’t been lucky enough to have been born in the United States, where we had good infrastructure, environmental regulations, a capitalist economic philosophy and a trained and educated work force, that he could never have done what he did.

        Obama actually stole that whole thing about business owners not being able to build a business without support from the United States Government, People, and Capitalist Economic Philosophy from my husband, the twenty-some year old millionaire!

        Or else great minds just think alike.

  3. lisab1138
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:59:36

    I too must disagree. This author seems to have the impression that Palin might have been up to the task of being a credible VP candidate if only things had happened differently.

    Palin was never a credible candidate. Her election as governor was a confluence of so many odd factors; things that you had to be in Alaska to see. I fail to see how she wins the GOP primary against anyone not as distrusted/hated as Murkowski was. She was a shiny new object saying populist BS that bore little resemblance to reality or Alaskan needs. And once elected, she proceeded to trample on every unwritten ethical rule there was.

    The first words out of my mouth when my husband called me to tell me she was the VP pick were, “he’s lost the election.” I knew that she was un-viable upon closer scrutiny. There’s a reason everyone wants her. I’m sure she’s utterly charming to meet. I can see where people come away initially impressed. There’s a reason people stopped wanting her too. The more you know about Palin, the further away you want to be from her.


    • scootswoodle
      Jan 28, 2013 @ 12:23:35

      I’m not from Alaska, actually I have never been there, but Is it too much of a stretch to say that perhaps, just perhaps, men in that state voted for her for governor based solely on her looks?
      I’m not disparaging Alaskan men, heavens no! (I even once subscribed to Alaska Men. I know, I know…). But I strongly suspect that her looks have gotten her where she is today. Yes, she may be as you say, utterly charming and if you combine that with her looks, it seems to me she would get votes based on that alone. Roger Ailes said he hired her because she was ‘hot and got ratings.’
      But she couldn’t parlay that into a national office, and I’m thankful for that. Her looks could only get her so far. At some point or another, she had to open her mouth and well, two words: Katie Couric!
      I don’t care for Sarah Palin. I can see through the facade and see her for what she really is.


      • Kelsbells
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:26:48

        Are you aware that in late 2008, Biden gave Couric this interview:

        Oh media, your biased reporting is pathetic.

      • Syrin
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:25:44

        I do live in Alaska and its completely true and has been documented somewhere that yes, indeed more men voted for her between the ages of 20-45 there were several things (none being that she was competent or had understanding of the issues) that aligned for Sarah to win that election. The same type of thing when she won mayor of Wasilla.. Mentioned a bit about it in a reply above..

  4. kallie
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 13:46:21

    Good Riddance. She never had a chance! I disliked her from the beginning for the very reasons that became much more apparent every time she opened her mouth. She’s ignorant, classless, and a very hateful & spiteful person.


  5. Pat in MA
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 15:45:51

    Couldn’t stand her from the beginning starting with the RNC convention and her snarky, ‘well it’s sort of like being a community organizer’ and lipstick on a pitbull comments. Wasn’t fooled by her attempt at folksiness, she struck me immediately as petty, someone who would be charming to your face and not hesitate for a second to stab you in the back if she felt wronged. The downward spiral continued every time she opened her mouth: ‘in what respect Charlie,’ being able to see Russia from land in Alaska somehow supporting her foreign policy credentials, and finally the infamous Katie Couric interview. Good riddance indeed!


  6. Guest
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 18:07:08

    I think Palin now will try her best to bring down the current Republican party because of her revenge IQ.


    • Kelsbells
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:16:57

      I think she enjoys spending her time with her family, her youngest son and practicing her yoga. People need to stop stalking her and fabricating her life.


      • SammyW
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:13:20

        This has to be snark, right?

        Speaking of her youngest son, just where is he? Do you imagine that Palin is working with her youngest to help him develop the skills he needs to make his life any better?

        Think not.

      • gypsyrose
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 20:12:01

        listen one who lies- i am a runner and have been doing yoga since grade school and sarah palin does neither!! there is a grace of bearing that accompanies regular yoga practice not to mention excellent posture neither of which palin possesses.
        running regularly tones/tightens/strengthens not only all your leg muscles but also your stomach muscles which support your back muscles-again creating good posture.
        both activities also create a look of vibrancy and good health……….because of the muscle work, oxygen intake, blood flow, breathing, balance and endurance.

        palin looks like a speed freak…………and an anorexic. heavy drug users have a lack on integrity in their appearance. i am not like others in thinking she dresses too young with ratty jeans and tiny tees, etc.-though i think the ratty jeans should be saved for weekends at home or in the country after the age of 40-however, there is a lack of grace, femininity or style-no sense of being pulled together in her at all. her choices show a complete indifference to how she dresses and her hair and makeup show someone with a need to cover up the ravages of drug use on her skin and hair.

        do not come here and spout lies about palin running and doing yoga. look at the pictures in the link below of people in yoga poses who practice regularly. notice the healthy weight, skin tone, complexion, upright posture……………now look at her.
        liar liar liar!

  7. Kelsbells
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:16:07

    Funny our she’s been living privately for months yet people still stalk and talk about her. Just let the woman have her family time and her yoga. It’s obviously what she’s always enjoyed most. She has her beautiful little boy. Let them be. There are still millions of Americans unfooled by Obama and his backers/handlers/manipulators to keep up the fight against liars in DC.

    Get perspective. Palin haters have always been more pathetic than the image that are desperate to fabricate concerning her.


    • SammyW
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:14:58

      How does one live live privately for months while at the same time spewing irrational hate on national tv?


  8. Sarah Miller Eagle River
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:32:24

    AK Republicans always treated her like crap. They made her feel guilty over attending her kid’s graduation, over taking family vacations, over everything. They told lies about her family and themselves, stooped to being catty. I thought high schoolers were cruel. Her adversaries were far worse just because they support Murkowski.


    • Syrin
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 15:45:41

      Thank you for your comment.. But you’re incorrect on all you stated! Sarah was not part of the AK Republicans.. Sarah Palin had ethical problems as soon as she entered politics The Ak Republicans knew she is a unethical and incompetent candidate. Wally Hickel and the Ak Independent party and Non partisan and undeclared voted for her in this state!! No lies have been told! Have you ever thought perhaps some of it might be true? Stop defending the indefensible!


  9. Kelsbells
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:33:43

    She has more of a life than all her haters combined it seems. AND she keeps it private, including charitable givings. But that doesn’t stop busybodies from posting private addresses and perpetuating lies about her.


    • SammyW
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:17:01

      Charitable givings? HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Tell us another joke, but try harder this time.


    • gypsyrose
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 20:23:53

      you idiot! if she is at a yoga competition then she is merely a spectator because none of those women are dressed for yoga, their hair is “fixed” and not pulled back, palin is wearing glasses and they don’t seem to be wearing any yoga gear at all. there have been asana yoga competitions and yes there was one in scottsdale arizona january 26th but that doesn’t mean palin does yoga herself nor the photo you link to was taken at a yoga competition.
      i have plenty of friends who will come by and have coffee while i am finishing yoga but they don’t all do yoga.


  10. Gwen
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 10:33:34

    Boys Will Be Boys by Shailey Tripp. Google it, tweet it, buy it, read it, promote it.


  11. Libbie
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 10:47:00

    Ditto to Gwen’s comment: “‘Boys Will Be Boys,’ by Shailey Tripp. Google it, tweet it, buy it, read it, promote it.”

    Todd Palin is a despicable, disgusting, slimey pimp who should be arrested.


    • Syrin
      Jan 30, 2013 @ 09:39:50

      I do agree he should be questioned! Instead he’s happily getting ready for IronDog!! Still makes me steam that these two are able to wk into the sunset without taking responsibility for their unethical behavior!!


  12. climber357
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 11:13:44

    Sarah´s “niceness” is certainly an act, but her clueless backwoods podunk high school prom queen vibe is totally real. Back stabbing is not equal to political savvy. Stupid people are perfectly capable of being malicious. I just don’t think she’s playing dumb or folksy to appeal to anyone. That’s just who she is.

    Sarah´s shtick is just hilarious old grandma chit.

    By supporting Sarah, Fox and the GOP were promoting idiocy more than they were selling hate.

    Her stink will cling for decades.


  13. Betsy S
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 13:39:41

    It was the Wild Ride that did her in. No woman who has experienced childbirth could believe that story for a second. How and why the MSM wouldn’t touch that wacky scenario will always be a mystery for me.


  14. NJfan
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:02:58

    I wouldn’t mind if she is in the spotlight again for all her “gates” and being questioned in a courtroom while wearing an orange jumpsuit.


  15. Lorali
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 00:06:24

    All I have to say is that I really like Sarah Palin as a person. I didn’t think she was a very good Govener. Really though, she’s not a bad person.


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