Political Animal


January 28, 2013 1:29 PM Is You-Know-Who Really Gone?

By Ed Kilgore

I noted in passing the other day the news that Fox News and Sarah Palin had failed to reach agreement on an extension of the contract that apparently paid her $15.85 per word for 189 Fox appearances between 2010 and 2012.

Now Paul Waldman gives us the word that Fox dropped the former Alaska governor, and in his opinion, she’s through as a major political figure:

Her umbilical cord to influence—the connection between the studio Fox built in her house and the network’s headquarters in New York—has been severed, her contract not renewed. Some of Palin’s allies anonymously informed reporters that the decision was hers and not the network’s, but I don’t believe that for a second. Roger Ailes is not a sentimental man, and when necessary he won’t hesitate to cut loose an asset whose usefulness is exhausted. And if you’ve ever seen her talking to Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, you know that she was actually terrible at TV commentary. Neither articulate nor insightful, she stumbled her way through a hundred appearances as a “Fox News Contributor,” offering viewers nothing more than her presence, as if that were enough. In the end, it wasn’t.

Palin’s not conceding she’s going anywhere, but Paul is right: once Palin’s alleged persecution by the godless liberals and the MSM and the RINOs during the 2008 campaign began to fade from memory, and then the Tea Party Movement created a bunch of talking heads with views similar to hers but with a better handle on grammar and syntax, she became a lot less indispensable. Even her bizarre interpretation of the 2012 election results (the conservative base wasn’t sufficiently mobilized, she says), which Waldman mocks, isn’t really all that distinctive; a major segment of the GOP is looking for ways to dismiss 2012 (and 2008, for that matter) as mere speed bumps in the party’s breakneck race to the Right.

I am somewhat concerned, though, that if Palin refuses to go quietly into Danquayleland, she might do something especially irresponsible to regain attention now that the Fox gig is over. I’m not sure she can ever top the “death panels” Facebook post; that kind of perfectly timed and supremely outrageous Big Lie doesn’t come along often. But that gets back to the big question about Palin: Is she just a nobody who stumbled into the national spotlight by accident for a time? Or does she have some sort of unique connection with grassroots conservative activists that is constantly and perpetually fed by every bit of criticism she so effortlessly generates?

I’ve always figured the latter was the case (which is why I dubbed her St. Joan of the Tundra back in the day, a term Waldman uses by way of farewell), but it’s true she got more competition these days. If she doesn’t want to become the answer to a trivia question, she’d better raise her crazy game.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • sgetti on January 28, 2013 2:10 PM:

    Wasted column space about a has-been,part-time, ex-governor. Can't you write a blistering review of Paul Ryan's trail of BS on Meet The Press yesterday? Maybe some insights on the Obama/Clinton love-fest interview on 60 Minutes? It's more fun when you harp on Noonan - Palin is such small potatoes.

  • Domage on January 28, 2013 2:12 PM:

    Palin has built herself a lifestyle that's pretty expensive. She's going to have to develop some new income stream to support herself in the lifestyle to which she's become accustomed.

    My bet: She'll mount a new political "campaign," perhaps for president in 2016. Like her previous tour of a tiny sliver of the U.S., it will primarily a fundraising vehicle so she can get the rubes donating for a while. Then she'll decide that there's some family-values thing at home that needs attention and fade waway again.

  • c u n d gulag on January 28, 2013 2:25 PM:

    "The Whore of Babblin'-on" has one thing down pat - playing the aggrieved victim of Liberals.
    And, by extension, the MSM.
    And now, et tu, FOX...

    And that aggrieved victimhood may very well be enough to build a lucrative career on.

    Politically, she's deader than King Tut.
    And sure, FOX letting her go puts a bit of a dent in her Wingnut Welfare income.

    But, somewhere, there's at least a Billionaire or two, who'll want her blessing on ventures, or political stances, and fund her.

    Regular Conservatives LOOOOOOOOOVES them some aggrieved victimhood, and will pay big money to see and hear Saint Sarah tell her tales of now nefariously the Left has treated her.

    My hope is, that she soon turns on FOX.
    Now THAT could be worth buying up a years worth of microwaveable popcorn!

  • exlibra on January 28, 2013 3:10 PM:

    The forum she's had on Fox just wasn't broad enough for her message, is all. Question is... where (other than Breitbart) is she going to find an outlet willing to give her a podium?

    "elsOnta carpebat". Exactly so.

  • c u n d gulag on January 28, 2013 3:20 PM:

    She might not find it so easy to not 'preach to the choir,' when the Choir Director at the biggest Conservative church, FOX, just let her walk away.

    Unless you're a die-hard Conservative, when you hear her speak, she's an annoying and ignorant twit - who would at least have an excuse, if English were her 2nd language.
    Make that 3rd.
    She's not spewing a word-salad, she's a blender with the top off.

  • low-tech cyclist on January 28, 2013 4:24 PM:

    Palin's history. She will try to stay relevant, but the fruits of her efforts will be reminiscent of the fictional Spinal Tap farewell tour, drawing ever-smaller crowds in ever-more-obscure venues.

    Her claim to fame was the role of wingnut MILF, but even that has been superseded by Michelle Bachmann, Nikki Haley, and others.

    Her last chance at relevance was to run for President in the 2012 cycle, and she passed it up. A run in 2016 will draw about as much support as Quayle's 2000-cycle campaign. Eight years is a long time between campaigns for national office if you aren't doing much else to build up your brand.

    What really killed her, of course, was her laziness. She thought she could skate through everything and come out on top without having to expend any actual effort. If she'd finished her term as governor without doing too much harm to Alaska, she would have easily been re-elected in 2010, and in 2015, she would have had some cred.

    Even many wingnuts recognize that their candidate needs to at least be able to credibly play a President on TV, which was the failing of most of Romney's wingnut rivals in 2012. Palin couldn't pass that test either.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 28, 2013 4:30 PM:

    ...she might do something especially irresponsible to regain attention now that the Fox gig is over.

    Like what? Go on Dancing with the Stars and have a wardrobe malfunction??? But, alas, the "useful idiot" is no longer useful... wah, wah

  • g on January 28, 2013 4:48 PM:

    The fact that Palin is proclaiming her move from Fox to Breitbart as an opportunity to "share more broadly" her message should tell you all need to know about her political relevance.

    It's like a columnist leaving USA Today for the Little Nickel.

  • MuddyLee on January 28, 2013 5:09 PM:

    It's not wasted time or space to talk about Palin - she has done the country a lot of damage, and she deserves whatever ridicule people throw at her and the people who promoted her: Bill Kristol, John McCain (every interview he does should start with the question: What in the world made you choose Sarah Palin?), Roger Ailes (even though he has dumped her now). Her endorsement of Nikki Haley probably made the difference here in South Carolina and made Haley the governor. Palin - and Bachmann - should be ridiculed every time we get a chance - they deserve to have a political stake driven through their political hearts. Their kind of craziness and laziness cannot be tolerated - we have too many problems in America. Of course this applies also to every republican House member from South Carolina, to Donald Trump also. The GOP needs to be held accountable for bringing so many crazy people into politics.

  • sgetti on January 28, 2013 6:29 PM:

    Each time a blog, news account mentions Palin and all the other misfits, they live on through the links and search files. If there's any damage Palin did was to make the Tea Party look more ridiculous faster and deeper. Good, and she did it pretty much by herself and the enablers at Fox. Again, that's good damage to the brand. As for your governor, I'm sorry and hope she gets booted soon.

  • v98max on January 28, 2013 9:34 PM:

    I hope Mrs. Palin doesn't go into DanQuayleLand, for the sake of the Arizona Congressional Delegation. Although, Trig would be a worthy successor to Trent Franks.