When Governor Sarah Palin put out a call in spring 2009 for help with her legal bills, I was quick to send a contribution. I had been impressed with her acceptance speech at the 2008 Republican convention, and then appalled and saddened by the treatment she got from the opposing party, the Hollywood elite, and, as Rush Limbaugh would say, “their willing accomplices in the media.”
Back home in Alaska after the election, Machiavellian designs against Palin continued unabated. In defending herself and her administration against the legal snipes of her political opponents, Palin had run up well over $550,000 dollars in legal fees.
About a month after I’d mailed my check to the Alaska Fund Trust, I got a thank you card in the mail, which bore the inscription, “From the Desk of Sarah Palin.” Inside, she’d signed it with a thank you. I interpreted the card as a karmic sign, a good one. In helping her fight off the vindictive leftists, I’d gotten her autograph.
Palin was in for more trouble. Tina Fey’s parody on Saturday Night Live had suggested Palin was not ready for prime time, but the new attacks grew meaner and meaner. Late night talk hosts, angry stand-ups like Sandra Bernhard, and even a few McCain staffers took a turn at the whipping post.
Most egregiously, rapper Eminem released a tawdry video featuring a Sarah Palin look-a-like, but there was no outcry from feminists. This vilification only solidified my support for her, and millions of conservatives and fair-minded Americans—including legions of Tea Partiers—felt the same way. Then the bottom fell out.
On a windy Wasilla shoreline on July 3, 2009, a rambling and emotional Palin announced her intention to resign as governor. I couldn’t believe it. Watching her step down was like finding out that Mother Nature smokes Marlboros.
I turned to two respected political sages, but got divergent messages. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol saw the move as opening up Palin’s future. Freed the ankle-biters in Juneau Kristol posited, Palin could capitalize on her resonance and ride to national prominence. But Washington Post analyst Charles Krauthammer was waxing funereal on the soon-to-be former governor’s future, stating plainly that “Americans don’t like a quitter.”
I looked at my autograph differently then, wondering about its real value.
Then Palin started the long climb back. Her book, Going Rogue, became a bestseller. She became a Fox News analyst, and despite her propensity to invent delightfully hybrid words like “refudiate,” offered credible commentary about the grassroots upheaval across the country.
She barnstormed the lower 48, speaking out, fighting back. Conservative and center-right voters weary of career Republicans who’d presided over electoral slap-downs in 2006 and 2008 found themselves charmed when she wrote crib notes on the palm of her hand, a tactic that might have helped in the presidential campaign when ABC”s Charles Gibson asked about the Bush Doctrine.
But most telling in the redemptive saga of Sarah Palin is her endorsement record. Her picks in the Republican primaries have garnered a percentage that would earn respect on the Las Vegas strip. If you’d bet on all her candidates, you would have come out way ahead, and perhaps won enough to pay off all those legal bills, and then some.
Recently the Alaska Fund Trust sent my contribution back. Apparently there were some irregularities in the way the fund was set up. I interpreted this as evidence that there are people and entities still working overtime to trip Palin up any way they can. I checked the box which redirected my contribution back into the defense fund.
As for her autograph, I have already spoken to my young adult children—who, by the way, like Obama, despite what I think is in their best interest. I’ve instructed them to hang on to Palin’s John Hancock, in case anything happens to me.
It could be very valuable someday.