Monday, March 14, 2011

Sarah Palin & The Political Cost of Ignoring Good Advice

There are a few politicians who love jumping into the limelight at every major event. One of those politicians is Sarah Palin. She interjects her self in to every major story whenever possible. 
However, there was a moment when she shouldn't have stepped into the limelight. That was when the Tuscon shooting hit the news and people were blaming her as the cause of the shooting. We are just now learning that she was advised to lay low by the owner of Fox News, Roger Ailes. She was told the same thing by other people. However, she decided to ignore thier advice
Before Sarah Palin posted her infamous “Blood Libel” video on Facebook on January 12, she placed a call to Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. In the wake of the Tucson massacre, Palin was fuming that the media was blaming her heated rhetoric for the actions of a madman that left six people dead and thirteen others injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Palin told Ailes she wanted to respond, according to a person with knowledge of the call. It wasn’t fair the media was making this about her. Ailes told Palin that she should stay quiet.
“Lie low,” he said. “There’s no need to inject yourself into the story.”
Palin told Ailes that other people had given her that same advice. Her lawyer Bob Barnett is said to have cautioned her about getting involved. The consensus in some corners of Palin's camp was that she faced considerable risks if she spoke out.
But, this being Sarah Palin, she did it anyway.
Ailes was not pleased with her decision, which turned out to be a political debacle for Palin, especially her use of the historically loaded term "blood libel" to describe the actions of the media. “The Tucson thing was horrible,” said a person familiar with Ailes’s thinking. "Before she responded, she was making herself look like a victim. She was winning. She went out and did the blood libel thing, and Roger is thinking, 'Why did you call me for advice?'”
It doesn't matter that the accusations that she was responsible for the shootings was false. She choose to speak out when many people advised her not to respond to the baseless accusations. 
What's even more jaw dropping about the whole affair was that many Palin supporters were angry that other politicians didn't come to her defense after being wrongfully accused:
Even before we learn that Sarah Palin ignored the advise to lay low, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour were wise not to rise to her defense. First of all, they had no obligations to do so. Secondly, unlike Sarah Palin, these guys knew that laying low and saying nothing was a good idea. They choose to ignore the baseless accusations against her and knew that any attempt to defend her would have resulted in the same backlash she faced when she attempted to defend herself. The public already knew she was being unfairly accused and there was no need to point out that obvious fact. 
Had she followed other people's advice, the public would have supported her because they already knew the charges were false. She could have stayed out of the limelight and gone through that incident unscathed. However, she choose to defend herself, despite being told not to, and whatever public support she had began to evaporate. Not only that, but she made the situation worse because her statements about "blood libel" opened her up to another round of attacks. 
But Sarah Palin made her choice not to lay low. Not only did she choose to fight this battle even when she told she shouldn't, but as one one blogger noted, Sarah Palin portrayed herself as a Mamma Grizzly and as result, she should be able to handle herself:
"Frankly, I don’t see any reason why Romney would come to Palin’s defense on the whole ‘targeting’ issue. Surely, he recognizes that acknowledging the left-wing’s attempt to turn the tragedy into political gain would, in the end, only give them credibility. In my honest opinion, Palin herself should have just disregarded the smears, continued on with her normal life, and watched the left’s frustration peak as she refused to lend credence to their accusations. The ‘Mama Grizzly’, to my understanding, is a big girl who can fight her own battles."
Now that we know what kind of advice she got before making her statements to the media, why should people like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour be labeled as cowards when she disregarded wise advise from several different people to lay low?
Roger Ailes asked a very good question: Why did she go to him for advise and then disregard his advice? Perhaps she loved the limelight too much and thought she could increase her public support against the false accusations against her. After all, her facebook messages, appear on Fox News as a guest commentator, her reality television show and her books all do have an impact on what goes on in society. 
Whatever her reasons for inserting herself into the story when told not to, it backfired on her.
And the public is starting to get tired of her. Her desire to make her opinions known on every major political event is starting to hurt, rather than help, Sarah Palin. One conservative who works as a writer for the Weekly Standard, Matt Labash, has compared her to a well known liberal activist who loves to insert himself into every story as well. Matt says that “She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition.”


  1. Are you kidding me? She injected herself into the story?!!!!! And you want the millions of Palin supporters to wrote for Romney after this?

  2. Laying low and not speaking up is what republicans have been conditioned to do in the era of political correctness and MSM openly shilling for dems. Mitt can continue to hide, T-Paw can continue to talk a good game when the object of his criticism isn't in the room and others can sit back and watch...The time for sitting back and watching while holding a wet index finger in the air is long passed...