Don Lemon, the liberal weekend host of "CNN Newsroom," contrasts the transformation of Sarah Palin with that of the character Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady." Unlike Doolittle, Sarah the student has become Mrs. Palin the teacher by embracing her outsider status, writes Lemon:
How did she do it? Perhaps by sheer shrewdness or sheer luck, Palin spotted an opportunity early on with a growing chorus of other self-proclaimed outsiders, the tea party, and seized on it. Now, while the Republican straw polls, caucuses and debates play out, Palin simply orbits around it all, eclipsing her show's extras, the supposed front-runners.A nascent Palin presidential campaign, observes Lemon, could produce no small number of political ads simply from the endless video tape footage of her potential rivals for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination praising her. Not only are there choice pro-Palin sound bites from Bachmann and Perry just waiting to be exploited, but similar footage exists featuring Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman all making positive pronouncements about the first woman to win the Republican Party nomination for vice president in 2008. Should she decide to run, Gov. Palin already has complimentary remarks in her favor from more than half of the GOP presidential field on the record. As Lemon points out, it would be no small task for them to attempt to walk back their own pro-Palin testimonials.
In fact, it can be argued that some of the front-runners ascended to their current positions because Sarah Palin helped them get there.
Because of Palin's celebrity billing, her raising money and campaigning for Michele Bachmann's congressional re-election in 2010 helped to elevate Bachmann's national profile. Just before Palin joined her on the campaign trail last year, Bachmann wrote, "There is absolutely no one more in tune with the hearts and minds of everyday Americans than Gov. Palin."
Around that same time, when a politician with barely any name recognition above the Mason Dixon line needed a big name endorsement and some publicity to help get him re-elected, he called on Sarah Palin and she responded. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said then of Palin, "If there's a bigger endorsement in the Republican universe, I don't know who it is than Sarah."
That same year, in a stunning display of role reversal, when her former presidential running mate, John McCain, faced an unexpectedly tough senatorial re-election bid, Palin once again became his leading lady. After Palin accepted McCain's invitation, he wrote, "I'm looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail with my former running mate." He went on to say Palin "energized our nation and remains a leading voice in the Republican Party."