Palin's GOP Fans See a Rogue of Their Own

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" book tour has drawn faithful supporters, many of them GOP women who like her character and can't wait to see what she'll do next. One loyalist says negative media coverage of Palin is just another plus.

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Palin's Sincerity Questioned

Some observers, like nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, questioned the sincerity of Palin's insulted response to the Newsweek cover, judging it to be a calculated bid for additional publicity.

"She knows exactly how to animate her base and demonizing the media is the most powerful quill in her quiver. That is, by picking fights with the media, she mobilizes her fans against a monolithic enemy--'them'--while getting 'them' to give her more ink and airtime," Parker wrote in her Nov. 22 Washington Post column.

Palin's allegations on her Facebook page in August 2009 that health care changes endorsed by the Obama administration would force the elderly and infirm to face "death panels" unleashed a media maelstrom.

In 2008, Palin drew massive media fire as the running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain for lacking political experience and substance.

The more negative media Palin attracts, the more some of her fans seem to like her.

"Never in all my years have I seen the media go after someone like that," Brewer said, referring to the media barrage that followed Palin as a vice presidential candidate. "She's just a regular person but she proved the strength of her character to withstand it."

Palin's book signing appearances have stuck close to heavily-Republican, nontraditional book tour areas, such as The Villages, which has guaranteed adoring crowds.

Tour Attracts Detractors

But some detractors have also shown up.

In Kansas, a small group of protesters sang songs and stomped on copies of the book before her arrival.

In Rochester, N.Y., a couple dozen demonstrators waved signs and chanted antagonistic slogans about her opposition to abortion rights and health care reform.

Some independent bookstore owners have opted to donate all proceeds from "Going Rogue" sales to animal protection groups who have criticized Palin's habit of hunting from airplanes and helicopters, her support of Arctic oil exploration and opposition to plans to list the polar bear as threatened on the Endangered Species Act while governor.

The book tour, which is expected to run through December, has stirred widespread media speculation about whether it might indicate that Palin is thinking about a run for president in 2012.

A November CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey found that 28 percent of respondents considered Palin qualified to run the White House.

The other main early contenders for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, had the confidence of 50 percent and 43 percent of respondents respectively.

Two-thirds said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is ready for the Oval Office.

When asked about presidential ambitions by Barbara Walters, Palin left the door open.

"That's certainly not on my radar screen right now," she said. "When you consider some of the ordinary turning into extraordinary events that have happened in my life, I am not one to predict what will happen in a few years."

Juliette Terzieff is a freelance writer currently based in Tampa, Fla. She has worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, CNN International and the London Sunday Times during time spent in the Balkans, the Middle East and South Asia.

For more information:

CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as president

"Going Rogue: An American Life" by Sarah Palin, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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