Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Sarah Palin And Rick Perry, Circa 2008 (And Beyond)

It appears that any current animosity between Governors Sarah Palin and Rick Perry may not be a media fabrication or a form of short-sighted hissy fit on either's part after all. About three years ago, conservative publication Human Events reported from the Republican Governors Conference:

The [2008] Republican Governors Conference Press Guidelines promised that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would “take approximately 20 minutes of questions” at today’s morning press conference. Instead, this press conference, attended by 150 local and national media and taped by 26 video cameras, disintegrated into a fiasco when Texas Governor Rick Perry shut it down after only five minutes and four questions.
Eight other governors assembled on the stage, all men, seemed visibly uncomfortable with the “Palin at center stage” format. When Perry stepped in front of Palin at the podium to announce it was over just as it was getting started, Palin looked irritated, and the media shouted, “You’ve got to be kidding,” “This is ridiculous,” "Come on,” and “We were promised more questions.”

Now, Jack Thompson (author of the piece quoted above) takes things one step to far with his "all men, all visibly uncomfortable" comment. I sincerely doubt that conscious, direct sexism had much to do with the discomfort the other Republican Governors might have felt at the stage blocking of the event.

Their discomfort with Sarah Palin herself at center stage, however, is perfectly understandable. Palin was hardly a heavy hitter as governor, and her early departure from said responsibility to pursue lucrative speaking and writing gigs does not do much to add to her legacy.

We can glean two things from this incident that are pertinent to the Republican primary this year.

First, that Rick Perry's approach to politics is childishcheap, and secretive. Examples of this from his tenure in Texas are plentiful and easy to find, and his shabby behavior at the 2008 Republican Governer's Conference reinforces what Perry-watchers already know.

The second thing this tells us - and, admittedly, this is pure speculation on my part - is that it's unlikely Sarah Palin is going to enter the race for 2012. I might be wrong, but from where I sit Palin stands to gain a lot from perpetually teasing her followers with the mirage of an eventual run for higher office, and stands to lose a lot from entering an already crowded GOP field for 2012. This is especially true when the alleged front-runner, Perry, is that most American of creatures, a full-blown nickel-plated bully (see below for his hilarious recent silverback throwdown with Ron Paul).

Palin notoriously hates and fears even normal, soft-ball appearances with the "lamestream media," so I doubt she has anything like the guts it would take to enter a primary race late, handicapped by bad timing and dwindling support, let alone enter such a race against Rick Perry.

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