Schedule flubbed, Palin snubbed

Fox News reports:

Sarah Palin is out and Newt Gingrich is in.
Congressional Republicans decided Tuesday to ditch the former GOP vice presidential nominee in favor of the former House speaker for the critical House-Senate fundraising dinner in June 8 in Washington. It’s the marquee Republican event to raise money for GOP House and Senate candidates.
Just weeks ago, the House and Senate Republican campaign committees were giddy at securing the telegenic Palin for the dinner. But then things grew murky. At the time, the Alaska governor’s office told FOX News that Palin was still considering the invitation and had not yet made a decision. Meantime, spokespersons for the committees insisted that Palin was scheduled and it was just a misunderstanding between the Alaska governor’s office and Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, that accepted the invite.
Sources familiar with the Palin snub fumed about how the governor handled this.
“She was a disaster,” one Republican source told FOX News. “We had confirmation.”
As for inviting Gingrich, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said the GOP “decided to go in another direction.”
“Speaker Gingrich is a leader,” Spain added.

Via Hot Air, which also has a similar report from Politico, and related news from Roll Call and a statement from the NRCC. More at Memeorandum.

UPDATE: Conservatives4 Palin gets the story from the Anchorage Daily News:

As you may recall, the chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, sent out a press release earlier this month announcing Palin as keynote speaker for the June 8 fundraiser. But within hours, Palin’s staff said, nope, not so fast.

My thoughts on this in a minute. Got to post the facts first, then I’ll update with commentary.

UPDATE II: Let me quote RAM from C4P:

Right after the election, conservative pundits instructed Palin to go home to Alaska and focus her energy on being a good governor of her state. She is doing that. . . . I personally could give a rat’s patootie about the national GOP. I left the party because of them. I’m a registered independent because of them. And I have a hard time buying their story. No one confirms attendance without checking with the boss.

I think we need to look a little close at the question of what’s going on with the governor’s Alaska staff. Let me think about that while I collect my thoughts. Meanwhile, to cheer you up, check out this picture from the 2008 campaign:

It has zero to do with today’s story, but she sure has great gams, huh? Whatever else happens, she’s still got that going on. Gingrich sure doesn’t have the legs to rock a skirt suit like that.

UPDATE III: Let’s talk about Palin’s staff. I don’t know any of them, don’t even know their names, but a high-profile bungle like this certainly raises the question of competence on the part of the governor’s staff.

RAM at C4P suggests that the NRCC/NRSC announced Palin as their speaker without properly confirming it. Does he mean to suggest perfidy or incompetence at GOPHQ? I’m certainly willing to believe either explanation, but we have no direct evidence on the matter. And I’m reminded that there was the same problem with whether or not Palin would speak at CPAC, whose executive director Lisa De Pasquale is neither incompetent nor perfidious.

So, what’s going on with Palin and her staff? Are there not clear lines of authority? Is there not one person — the chief of staff, I’d assume — whose job it is to make sure that the governor is where she’s supposed to be, when she’s supposed to be there? This person would be the pointman for contact by the NRCC/NRSC if they wanted to schedule Palin to speak. And yet, two weeks ago, when the committees announced Palin was scheduled, the response from the governor’s staff was this:

The governor’s office said Palin has not even confirmed she would be attending the event. “I communicated with the governor directly and she did not know anything about it,” said Bill McAllister, the governor’s spokesman.

If the NRCC/NRSC felt confident enough they had a confirmation of Palin to issue a press release, who gave them that idea? Who is this rogue staffer who confirms an event without talking to the governor? And why haven’t they been fired?

UPDATE IV: Wow, sometimes I amaze even myself. I hadn’t been following this Palin-related news, but my instinct — that there was a problem of divided authority at Palin HQ — is confirmed in spades by this roundup by Rebecca Cole of the Chicago Tribune. Cole links to Chris Cizilla of the Washington Post:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to suffer growing pains as she attempts to build a national political operation in hopes of positioning herself as a viable presidential candidate in 2012.
The latest bump in the road comes in the form of a Politico article — headlined “Staff Infection: Allies Rip Palin Team” — that features any number of juicy quotes that all point to one fundamental problem: there appears to be a significant disconnect between Palin’s official governor’s staff and the group of advisers that have grown up around her new leadership PAC.
At the heart of the problem, according to Politico, is John Coale, who, as the Fix first reported, is serving as an informal adviser to Palin. Coale, an affluent trial attorney who has given significant sums to Democrats in the past, also happens to be the husband of Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren.

Anybody else smell a (Democ)rat here?


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