“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sarah Palin on the Road in Pennsylvania

Sarah Palin has arrived in Philadelphia on day three of a mystery bus tour that is swamping US media coverage of the Republican race for the White House, leaving her rivals struggling to win attention.

Palin, who began her road trip in Washington, is refusing to provide an itinerary for the media, in what is being interpreted as payback for the hostility she faced in the 2008 election.

"It's not really an intention to play cat and mouse," she said. But the tactic has worked spectacularly to her advantage, with reporters gleefully turning her tour into a chase and guessing game about her next stop.

Reporters are enjoying the novelty so much that there is even a Twitter hashtag, #wheressarah, logging sightings and speculating on her next venue.

When reporters do catch her, the inevitable question is whether she intends to join other Republicans in seeking the nomination to take on Barack Obama in 2012. She insists she has not made up her mind. "I don't know, I honestly don't know," she says.

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate may be engaged in an elaborate tease but, after a few months in which she largely dropped out of public view, the bus tour has renewed speculation that she is contemplating joining the contest.

She even admitted to reporters she had been thinking about what kind of campaign she might run, saying it would be non-traditional and unconventional – a bit like her bus trip.

She spent Tuesday at a hotel near the site of the battle of Gettysburg, in Maryland. Journalists gathered in the morning outside her bus but she had slipped out earlier to view the battlefield in peace.

The media then followed her bus to Philadelphia, where she visited the sites associated with the 1776 declaration of independence.

Her trip, accompanied by husband Todd and the rest of the family, has included the capital, George Washington's home at Mount Vernon and Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where the British laid siege in 1814.

She will almost certainly go to Boston, scene of the Tea Party. But there is speculation, too, that she will go to New Hampshire, where the second round of the Republican nomination contest will be held, a sign that political ambition rather than a historical lesson is at the forefront of her mind.

She is also planning to visit Iowa, where the first round will be held and where she is to attend the premiere of a documentary about her time as Alaska's governor.

Replying to reporters' questions about whether she will stand, she said: "It's still a matter of looking at the field and considering much. There truly is a lot to consider before you throw yourself out there in the name of service to the public because it is so all-consuming."

She has given only one interview, to Fox's Greta Van Susteren, the only reporter allowed on the bus.

Asked why she was not providing reporters with an itinerary, Palin, who has an intense dislike of much of the media, said: "They want, kind of, the conventional idea of, 'we want a schedule, we want to follow you, we want you to bring us along with you'. I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop is going to be. The media can figure out where we're going if they do their investigative work."

The game partly explains the renewed media interest in Palin. But the attention also reflects the lack of excitement about the present Republican field.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and Republican frontrunner, is due to announce his candidacy formally in New Hampshire on Thursday.

A Gallup poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents published on Tuesday put Romney on 17%, with Palin in second place on 15%, followed by Ron Paul on 10%, Newt Gingrich on 9%, Herman Cain on 8%, Tim Pawlenty on 6%, Michele Bachmann on 5%, and Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum and Gary Johnson all on 2%.

These candidates have had a hard time getting on air and when they do they are almost inevitably asked about Palin.

Bachmann, who is to declare within the month, was invited on to ABC and asked how she differed from Palin. Bachmann deflected the question, saying they were friends.

Pawlenty was interviewed at the weekend and showed signs of irritation when asked about Palin.

Palin described the field as quite strong but predicted "there will be more strong candidates jumping in" and wondered about the Texas governor, Rick Perry, and others coming in. She added: "The field isn't set yet, not by a long shot." GUARDIAN


  1. She's keeping up a frenetic pace. Dragging the family, and staff to 3, and 4 locations/day. She's displaying an amaziing amount of energy.

    I have some kind of a sneaking feeling, back around my backbone, that if Rick Perry gets in she will drop out and support him. Otherwise, she's running.

    She's meeting with Donald Trump, tonight. A "meeting" in his penthouse, and then dinner. She would love to have That endorsement. As crazy as the Donald is, a lot of people were turned on by his message.

    She's definitely entertaining.

  2. While she was riding along on her bus (or, in her SUV,) today, she sent this to her facebook page:

    . . . . . . . If President Karzai continues with these public ultimatums, we must consider our options about the immediate future of U.S. troops in his country. If he actually follows through on his claim that Afghan forces will take “unilateral action” against NATO forces who conduct such air raids to take out terrorists and terrorist positions, that should result in the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the suspension of U.S. aid. I still firmly support our mission in Afghanistan, but we must have the support of the host government. Our troops’ mission will be compromised and their safety endangered if the Afghan government threatens us.

    - Sarah Palin

    Sarah to Karzai - Straighten Up

  3. The lefties are in shock. If she would tell the NYT (or Fox) where she's going next, they could "leak" it to, and the SEIU, who could astroturf an anti-Palin Rally, and give the leftie journalists some beautiful shots.

    But, she just won't do that. :)

    Dumb Hick.

    I've been smilingg all day. She's more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

  4. Dinner with Trump - Palin Style

    Breakfast at Tiffany's?

    Not ezzackly.

    Them Palinistas don't do Tiffany's.

  5. The body of 19-year-old Katya Koren was found dumped in a forest on the Crimean peninsula a week after she went missing amid suggestions that she had been 'punished' for flouting Sharia law.

  6. In the 28-page statement discovered by Matthias Uhl, Pintsch writes that Hess's mission was to "use all means at his disposal to achieve, if not a German military alliance with England against Russia, at least the neutralisation of England". It also states Hitler was fully aware of the mission.

  7. Germany was on Tuesday said to be considering giving up its demand that further aid must come only on condition that holders of Greek government bonds soon share some of the pain via a restructuring of the debt.

  8. Economists had not expected the drop, which will not be explained by Eurostat until it publishes a full breakdown of price movements on June 16, but suspected a dip in high oil prices was the main factor. They saw the pressure remaining on the European Central Bank (ECB) for it to raise interest rates again to keep prices across the eurozone in check.

  9. Average home prices slumped 5.1pc in the first quarter of the year from the same period in 2010, the latest report from the S&P Case-Shiller index showed yesterday.

  10. Indian economy slows:

    • Annual gross domestic product grew 7.8pc in the March quarter, down from 8.3pc in the previous quarter.

    • Manufacturing grew 5.5pc, compared with 15.2pc.

    • Mining output grew 1.7pc, compared with 8.9pc.

  11. The business of memorializing our war dead done, President Obama headed out to the Fort Belvoir golf course today, finding his way onto the links for the ninth weekend in a row.


    The decision to golf on Memorial Day invites comparison with President George W. Bush, who gave up the game early in his presidency and said he did it out of respect for the families of those killed in Iraq.

  12. My wife, who is a Palin fan, thinks that she will be running for the Senate seat that Jon Kyl is vacating, in 2012.

    Thus the move to Arizona was made, while "Maverick" McCain would be duty bound to support her.

    The only possible bump in the road, Jeff Flake.

  13. I get the feeling from watching the woman that she really would like for someone "acceptable" to step up. She kept referring to Washington as the "reluctant" warrior. My gut says she kind of likes the life she has now, but she's convincing herself that she can do it "If. She. Has. To."

    But, let's be honest, she's so much smarter than I am that my opinion is probably worth even less than it usually is.

  14. I get the feeling that I'm like a little kid watching one of the big kids do calculus, or sumpin.

  15. In poker it's called "getting lost in the hand."

    You've got about half of your money in the pot, been raised for the other half, and all of a sudden, realize that you don't have the foggiest what's going on. They don't have what you thought they had, or you've been set up for the perfect bluff, or, shit . . . . . . all you want is to be somewhere else (preferably, home with momma.)

  16. Carl Forti, a Republican strategist and fundraiser, said the hoopla surrounding Palin's tour and the entreaties to Christie and Perry may be footnotes in the 2012 election story.

    "Only a small percentage of the Republican primary electorate is paying attention," Forti said. "I don't think what is happening now has much impact."

    For all the talk of new faces, Forti said, Romney "has a good shot to win the nomination" and to give Obama a strong challenge. The election will turn on jobs and the economy, he said, "and that is Romney's bread and butter."

    GOP Field

  17. If she doesn't want media attention, why the bus tour? If she's not running for president, why tease about it? If she has something to say, why doesn't she just say it? The woman is getting far more attention than she deserves for this silly stunt. I am constantly amazed that anyone will defend her anymore.

  18. She is merely toying with the liberal media who vilified her 3 years ago. They deserve it.

  19. She is merely toying with the liberal media who vilified her 3 years ago. They deserve it.