After Sarah Palin delivered two speeches over the long Labor Day weekend, she soon found herself to be the target of attacks by some media supporters of two GOP presidential candidates and one potential candidate. What provoked these attacks? Was it something she said, or could it have been where she was when she said it? Perhaps both. She spoke in two key primary states, Iowa and New Hampshire, at TEA Party events. In the two speeches, Gov. Palin reinforced her credentials as a reformer, whose proven record as a governor and oil & gas commissioner who took on big government and crony corporatism.
Even worse, at least in the eyes of her attackers, the charismatic former vice presidential candidate clearly demonstrated in her two TEA Party rally appearances that she is keeping alive the spirit of Ronald Reagan, who has become the forgotten man of the 2012 election cycle. Though the GOP establishment loves to pay lip service to the only true conservative President to serve in the modern era, many in the party hierarchy have turned their backs on his first principles. But not Sarah Palin, who continues to embrace Reagan's precepts. This rankles those who who have become cheerleaders for three potential Palin rivals. Ann Coulter, who continues her one-woman draft Christie campaign; Laura Ingraham, who is an advocate for Romney; and Erick Erickson, who along with a number of his colleagues at RedState.com shills for Rick Perry, all quickly realized that Gov. Palin would be a serious threat to their plans for their respective chosen two presidential candidates and one non-candidate.
But, as Tony Lee recalls, this week was not the first time that the Republican Party's crusty establishment and Sarah Palin's competitors saw her as a threat:
Soon after the 2008 election, in which Palin was forced to basically become a press secretary for a candidate who seemed to not know anything he stood for and perhaps the most disastrously and incompetent presidential campaign in the history of the United States, she spoke at a Republican Governors Association meeting.You don't have to dig very far below the surface to see the resentment buried there for Sarah Palin by those with competing agendas.
Unshackled from the constraints of the McCain campaign, Palin was at ease, and it was clear she was a threat then to the GOP establishment and, in particular, current presidential candidate Rick Perry, who abruptly, awkwardly, and prematurely ended Palin's press conference 15 minutes before it was supposed to, when it was clear Palin was not the bumbling idiot many had assumed she was.
Should Palin enter the 2012 presidential contest, she would threaten Mitt Romney and Perry, and this moment may be symbolic of where the rivalry between Palin and Perry began even though reports have said that Palin and Perry remain friends, especially after Palin's endorsement of Perry during the 2010 election cycle enabled Perry to essentially win his primary against Kay Bailey Hutchison and get elected again.
In the few minutes Palin had to speak at the RGA conference in 2008, Palin said now that the campaign had ended, she was essentially free to do press conference. When a reporter referred to her "political celebrity," Palin, without batting an eyelash, shot the notion that she was a celebrity and focused on substantive issues such as domestic energy production and the Republican governors working as a team to balance budgets and work on health care and immigration reform in the states. When a reporter cluelessly, and in a condescending way, referred to Palin's news conference as her first formal news conference, Palin reminded those in the room that she had been doing press conferences for years in Alaska (this was perfectly symbol and harbinger of a national media that did not know anything about her record of reform and fighting crony capitalism in Alaska).
One thing that was striking was how often Palin called for everyone to be on the same team while Perry seemed jealous that Palin was shining. Since then, Palin has been trying to unite the GOP while her rivals and purported teammates have done everything to try to not be good teammates.