Palin’s PAC fundraising suddenly looking mighty presidential

posted at 6:54 pm on July 12, 2010 by Allahpundit

The second-quarter numbers are in and people who pay attention are paying attention. It’s not the haul that’s so impressive — $866,000 is a robust figure but Romney’s PAC did more than a million in April and May alone and SarahPAC itself did better in the last half of last year than the first half of this year — but rather what she’s doing with the money. What kind of ex-governor-turned-commentator spends several hundred thousand dollars developing a direct mailing list?

One who’s keeping her options open.

The committee, SarahPAC, also spent nearly twice as much – $742,000 – as it had in any previous quarter, the lion’s share of which went to the type of list-building and fundraising (including its first major direct-mail campaign) that typically undergird top-tier political committees. It also reported its biggest-ever round of donations to candidates – $87,500 – and its highest outlays for travel costs, including $17,000 on private jet fare to crisscross the country for high-profile political speaking gigs, and speechwriting. It also showed continued payments for that speechwriting as well as foreign and domestic policy consulting, and its first ever payments to a scheduler…

But perhaps most indicative of a more traditional, robust political operation were the $330,000 in fundraising costs reflected in the report, including $154,000 to HSP Direct, a direct-mail vendor that put together SarahPAC’s first direct-mail campaign. Palin had previously used primarily online fundraising techniques, which tend to have lower overhead but cannot necessarily equal the return rate of a well-targeted but more expensive traditional direct-mail campaign. HSP’s campaign for SarahPAC, which started in earnest in April, sent glossy fundraising solicitations to more than 500,000 conservative households, asking them to help the PAC support conservative candidates in 2010, according to SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford.

She’s got more than a cool mil of cash on hand, inspiring GOP consultant Ron Bonjean to say, “All signs point to her running for president in 2012 with that kind of money.” She also spread a lot more money around among Republican candidates this quarter than last — a nine-fold increase, in fact, with hefty $5,000 contributions going to Terry Branstad and Chuck Grassley. Say, why’s she dumping that kind of money on a guy like Grassley who’s reviled as a RINO in many quarters? Oh, right — because he’s from Iowa, silly. More from Hotline:

What’s most notable is the number of small contributors Palin has attracted. More than 3/4 of her donations are listed as unitemized, meaning the individuals who wrote checks sent in less than $200. Much of Pres. Obama’s fundraising success in ’08 came from these small-dollar donors, meaning Palin has a grassroots folllowing — one she’s started to build significantly earlier than Obama did.

Big bucks from small donors will be more important to Palin than it was to Obama since she’ll be cold-shouldered by plenty of establishment Republicans in the primary and she knows it. Presumably that’s what the direct-mail operation is about — building a huge base of grassroots contributors as quickly as possible to convince wealthy conservatives not to be too hasty in backing Romney or Gingrich or whoever. If she can put together a huge list by the end of the year, it’ll prove not only that she has the resources to make a sustained run but that there’s enough rank-and-file support to make her the early favorite in Iowa and South Carolina. The idea of Palin as grassroots hero also plays perfectly into the media’s narrative of her as some sort of populist Bircher siren, so if she comes up with a gigantic small-donor number in the next quarter, they’ll be only too happy to broadcast it for her.

The only question: Is she running? Marc Ambinder‘s not so sure:

1. She hasn’t been recruiting fundraisers, or staff members, or activists. Her inner circle could fit in a Federation runabout. A successful presidential candidate needs fundraisers, staffers, and activists. Then again, Barack Obama had almost no one manning his presidential aspirations at this point in 2006 even as his opponents prepared conventional campaigns. While Mitt Romney makes strategic endorsements in every state and Tim Pawlenty has created PACs to help candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, Palin is not establishing the relationships she would need to establish in order to build political campaigns in these early states. That means that she might be attempting a different type of campaign, or that she has been given bad advice, or that she won’t run at all.

2. She hasn’t been extending her brand. Republicans believe that Palin lacks the substantive chops to be president. This is not a creation of the lamestream media, even though the media’s 2008 coverage may have amplified those doubts. Palin’s friends who regularly Tweet about her doings seem to dismiss these complaints (that she isn’t smart enough, isn’t ready, isn’t developing policy chops) as stupid and uninformed. That said, given that independents’ central issue with Obama will be his failure to fix the economy, it is significant that other Republican presidential aspirants are preparing to run on competence — and Palin is not.

I think she’s still undecided and keeping her options open, but clearly a “different type of campaign” is what’s in store if she does run. Her staff will probably remain as small as possible in order to cultivate the whole anti-establishment “one of us” common touch that the grassroots admires. As for point two, here’s John Ellis, a.k.a. Jeb Bush’s cousin:

“She’s too stupid” is what the Establishment GOP really thinks about Sarah Palin. “Good-looking,” but a “ditz.” This is unfertile ground, since Palin can turn the argument on a dime and say: “They drive the country into bankruptcy, they underwrite Fannie and Freddie, they bail out Goldman Sachs, they fight wars they don’t want to win, they say enforcing the immigration laws is silly and they call me stupid! I’ll give you a choice: you can have their smarts or my stupidity, which one do you want?” A large number of GOP presidential primary voters will take Palin’s “stupidity” in a heartbeat.

Ellis’s prediction? The growing threat from Palin will lead establishment Republicans to turn to, er, Jeb Bush. Which isn’t that crazy: It might not ultimately be Jeb, but as a wise man once said, if she runs it will ultimately be a Palin vs. anti-Palin race. Exit question: Is this happening?


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I am not the biggest Palin fan but I do enjoy the way she plays with the left-tards. She really gets them going . They rant on and on and then tell us how she is nothing. Truly a spectacle.

CWforFreedom on July 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Christie emphatically ruled out 2012 on Hannity a couple of weeks ago. They way he put it was without wiggle room.

I heard him, and I agree. He’s not interested.

AnninCA on July 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

I am not the biggest Palin fan but I do enjoy the way she plays with the left-tards. She really gets them going . They rant on and on and then tell us how she is nothing. Truly a spectacle.

CWforFreedom on July 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Me, too, and she doesn’t have to give that up. She just needs to shift gears and really not leap into talking points quite so fast. She’ll be working on this, I think, in the next year.

Bill O. is funny in that he runs her through the hoops. Good practice.

AnninCA on July 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM

MAJOR CATFIGHT BETWEEN MEGYN AND KP!!!! ALLAH/ED GET ON IT NOW!!!

ProudPalinFan on July 13, 2010 at 1:40 PM

I do think its unfair to compare any candidate to Reagan, his sort don’t exactly come along that often. However, as Rush is fond of saying, Reagan is the template to win elections; and I don’t think there is anything wrong pointing out where a particular candidate could strengthen parts of their game compared to Ronaldus Magnus, as he has demonstrated the way to win landslide elections.

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 12:38 PM

You’re not hearing what I’m saying: Sarah is exactly like Ronaldus Magnus in her message.
She feels the same way about America and Americans that he did.
She is, almost literally, Reagan in a skirt.
And her message has the same resonance because, as with Reagan addressing an unhappy America under Jimmy Carter, she brings a message of (real) hope, confidence and strong conservative leadership that it can again be “morning in America.”
Her FB Notes are the equivalent of Reagan’s radio addresses.
Reagan was a wonderful man, a great President and someone who I loved and still love, but he was not without his flaws (viz amnesty, signing abortion into law in CA).
His greatness lay in his attitude, his message and his personal charisma and style, all of which Sarah Palin possesses.

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Sarah Palin even tweeted about the catfight:

RT @SarahPalinUSA: Watch FOX’s Megyn Kelly on Black Panther voter intimidation case;she knows the case;she’s speaking truth;

ProudPalinFan on July 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

ProudPalinFan on July 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Uhoh, betamale host will not be pleased….

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Hmm well I think I’m hearing you on FM about the content of her message, and I agree that it mirrors the Gippers, my point has just been on delivery rather than substance. To this point I don’t think she has communicated/articulated her message in a way that connects with as many as she could potentially. It seems like we just disagree on mechanics. Don’t you think she could have handled the media better? I definitely think turning the media on its ear was one of Reagan’s hallmarks, and I don’t think Palin has mastered that at all. You think she has her own style, thats fine, I was just pointing out IMO that she needs to hone this Reagan skill, that’s all.

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM

I don’t mean to natter on, I’m sure its getting old for some here. Reagan’s greatness didn’t just lie in his message, it was in the way he communicated it, earning him titles such as “The Great Communicator” and “The Teflon President”. I remember the encounter with Sam Donaldson was particularly good evidence of this. He was so sharp on turning a question into a quip, a joke or a riposte that even the media was charmed/caught off guard often. Reagan was the kind of president that only comes along once in a generation, and with all respect to Palin, I don’t think she is “Reagan in a skirt”.

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM

I think I understand what you’re saying but you’re thinking of Reagan as he was when he was either the GOP candidate in 1980 (and Sarah hasn’t declared for 2012 yet) or in the bully pulpit of the White House.
The MSM was as cruel and dismissive of RR then as they are now of Sarah.
She has learned pretty quickly, after a few missteps (like the Gibson & Kouric interviews) how to handle the Lame Stream Media with almost as much aplomb as he did.
What Ronaldus Magnus had going for him (and against him, as well) was his Hollywood career and his ease in front of the cameras.
While I heard from people in CA during his governorship that he was a wonderful governor, it wasn’t until he was the GOP nominee and ran for the presidency in 1980 that I really fell in love with him.
It has only been in the last decade that I’ve made myself familiar with his writings and his speeches from his career before he became President.
With so much going on in the here and now, it’s hard for America to pay attention to too very much (Obama & his crises do keep us busy!), but folks will remember her wonderful GOP convention speech and start to put the picture together without much help.
America will be ready and waiting to be led by “Reagan in a skirt” back to “that shining city on a hill.”

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:33 PM

You make reasonable arguments. I do think, though, that part of what fuels the “Reagan in a skirt” analogy is this article by his son after her convention speech:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/09/welcome_back_dad.html

Dunno if he’s said anything about her lately, but with respect I’ll take Michael’s opinion on Reagan/Palin similarities over yours.

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Allahpundit’s review notes two points that caught my initial attention reading.

The committee, SarahPAC, also spent nearly twice as much – $742,000 – as it had in any previous quarter, the lion’s share of which went to the type of list-building and fundraising (including its first major direct-mail campaign) that typically undergird top-tier political committees. It also reported its biggest-ever round of donations to candidates – $87,500 – and its highest outlays for travel costs, including $17,000 on private jet fare to crisscross the country for high-profile political speaking gigs, and speechwriting. It also showed continued payments for that speechwriting as well as foreign and domestic policy consulting, and its first ever payments to a scheduler…

But perhaps most indicative of a more traditional, robust political operation were the $330,000 in fundraising costs reflected in the report

As with most nationally recognized politicians, Sarah Palin pays for advisers and for writers, specifically noting speech writers. Everyone has consultants, and I’m glad Palin has hers. Despite Palin’s frank manner admitting her collaborations, not all her fans note that she uses consultant writers for her book, for her speeches, national newspaper article, etc.

What’s most notable is the number of small contributors Palin has attracted. More than 3/4 of her donations are listed as unitemized, meaning the individuals who wrote checks sent in less than $200. Much of Pres. Obama’s fundraising success in ‘08 came from these small-dollar donors, meaning Palin has a grassroots following — one she’s started to build significantly earlier than Obama did.

As if Obama “began” his potus campaign with his obscenely unconstitutional campaign announcement video that promoted his own personal army as big, well trained, and as well funded as the US Military.

As if Obama’s 2008 campaign fund was limited to the small donors, the only donors Obama admitted having, despite for example Gadaffi’s proud claim having collected magnificent international Islamic funding for Obama’s potus campaign. BTW, since 2008 Gadaffi played Mr Nice Guy to get in Washington’s good graces before Bush left office, before the potus election. Follow his 2010 address.

maverick muse on July 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Thats fine. Hotair is just a blog where we all bloviate about our opinions. I don’t think mine is some be all end all, just contributing to the conversation. :P

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:41 PM

And its not that I don’t think Palin can’t become the next Reagan, just that I don’t see it right now. Guess I’m one of those “Show me” losers.

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

And its not that I don’t think Palin can’t become the next Reagan, just that I don’t see it right now. Guess I’m one of those “Show me” losers.

Tacitus on July 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

That is entirely fair. You acknowledge that it is a possibility. Showing these things will be her challenge in the coming year. She is laying the groundwork for this now.

What I object to so strongly is people saying never, never, no way, never never. She should not even try, it would be a disaster, Obama will win for sure.

That is simply not true.

Brian1972 on July 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM

I’m still not sure Palin is running for POTUS in 2012. NPR has an article in which they don’t think she’ll run:

In April, May and June, SarahPAC raised $866,000. Most of the money paid for consultants, travel and organization. But SarahPAC also gave out $87,500 to Republican candidates.

In Iowa, a state where Republicans will start winnowing presidential candidates as early as next summer, she sent $5,000 to Sen. Chuck Grassley and another $5,000 to former Gov. Terry Branstad, who is running for his old job with Palin’s endorsement.

SarahPAC even steered $2,500 to California Senate contender Carly Fiorina, who doesn’t exactly need it. Fiorina is a millionaire and has put more than $3 million into the race so far.

Political scientist Anthony Corrado of Colby College in Maine says Palin’s strategy seems to be about building a Sarah network within the GOP — not about targeting presidential primary states.

“What we are seeing is the PAC making contributions that focus not just on giving to Republicans, but more ideological contributions, focusing on those candidates who tend to share many of her political views,” he says.

So SarahPAC’s activity doesn’t necessarily mean that Sarah 2012 is right around the corner.

“I don’t think that Palin is really looking at a 2012 bid,” says Andrew Langer, a longtime conservative activist and president of the advocacy group Institute For Liberty. He says Palin has a longer timeline than some of the other possible contenders.

“I think she recognizes that if she wants to be president of the United States someday, it will take a considerable amount of effort to really work on building from a base of strength, and not just the 18 months that we’re sort of looking at right now.”

Source.

Conservative Samizdat on July 13, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Conservative Samizdat on July 13, 2010 at 2:50 PM

To put it mildly, NPR is behind the curve.
They are still trying to figure out the TeaParty movement, when if you are not a liberal it is pretty obvious.

Opinions vary, but there is just as strong an argument that she will run. No one knows right now, I don’t think she herself has fully decided one way or the other just yet.

She is definitely laying the groundwork for a decision after the midterms, that is without question.

Brian1972 on July 13, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Despite Palin’s frank manner admitting her collaborations, not all her fans note that she uses consultant writers for her book, for her speeches, national newspaper article, etc.

maverick muse on July 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

If you’ve read her book and/or listened to her speeches, it’s quite obviously her “voice” and no-one else’s.
I’m quite sure that she has “consultants” to fact-check and check her grammar and syntax for anything she might have missed but she is unmistakably doing the lion’s share of the book and speech writing.

Interesting that the American public doesn’t find out until now that Mort Zuckerman admits to writing at least one of NObama’s sucktastic campaign speeches.

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Like I said, opinions vary. This from TIME.com’s swampland blog, emphasis mine:

Palin’s Haul

Washington is expressing collective shock – shock, I tell you – this morning over Sarah Palin’s second quarter 2010 FEC report. Might she be running for president in 2012??

I’ve always through Palin would run – though it flies in the face of the MSM group think inside the Beltway. How could she run without the staff? The advisors and pollsters? The PAC money? She hasn’t been manically courting Iowa and New Hampshire county officials since resigning as governor of Alaska last summer!

Well, she now has the money and her string of endorsements, including a prominent one in Iowa, could set her up nicely for the 2012 primary season. Her staff remains small, but have been effective, witness her video last week. And, frankly, in an anti-incumbent year there’s no incentive for Palin to be seen courting establishment types in DC. Instead, she’s been using her celebrity to court the Tea Party and they love her for it. As the Washington Republican establishment is learning the hard way this cycle: it takes Republican base voters to win GOP primaries (hello Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Sharron Angle).

In many ways, Palin’s moves mirror her run for governor. She came from the outside, taking down the GOP establishment, including the formidable Governor Frank Murkowski. She stayed on the outside for months, not bothering to build a campaign but delivering key speeches across the state attacking “the old boys club” that raised speculation she’d potentially run. And, finally, when she did announce her campaign burst into life fully formed.

Brian1972 on July 13, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I’m still not sure Palin is running for POTUS in 2012. NPR has an article in which they don’t think she’ll run:
Conservative Samizdat on July 13, 2010 at 2:50 PM

NPR…LOL! (Insert Bevis laugh here, too!)
As if Sarah will notify NPR when or if she’s running…!
Too funny!

BTW, we know you’re a shill for Flip Flopney, but disinformation about Sarah isn’t going to help him.

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Notice in that post from TIME that they have dropped the ridicule/smear Alinsky strategy, at least this writer has, and it is a fair piece, without the crazy attacks dispersed throughout to make her into a circus act to be gawked at.

Grudging respect. Serious consideration.

My, how things have changed since 12-18 months ago.

The work in progress is progressing, bit by bit.

Brian1972 on July 13, 2010 at 3:06 PM

She needs a campaign manager at this moment she has a bunch of yes man.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Okay…

Can you name Mitt Romney’s “campaign manager?” Mike Huckabee’s? Newt Gingrich’s?

Seriously?

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 4:54 PM

This TimeTraver‘s posts remind me of another poster, but I can’t pin down who? They were always snippy and brief and delivered as if from the voice of God… and more often or not in Palin threads.

Sharr on July 13, 2010 at 5:07 PM

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 4:54 PM

He currently getting advise from his old campaign staff.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 5:08 PM

cs89 on July 13, 2010 at 4:54 PM

He currently getting advise from his old campaign staff.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Please explain with links to back it up, how you know she only has “yes men” around?

Even if that’s the case (and I doubt is) she seems to be failing upward with these so called “yes men”.

Sharr on July 13, 2010 at 5:12 PM

NPR…LOL! (Insert Bevis laugh here, too!)
As if Sarah will notify NPR when or if she’s running…!
Too funny!

BTW, we know you’re a shill for Flip Flopney, but disinformation about Sarah isn’t going to help him.

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I’m just posting what I read. I know that the NPR isn’t conservative but in reading various sources left, right and center…nobody knows if she’s running or not.

Many of you are are dead certain she will run. What will you say if Palin announces she’s not running in 2012?

What makes you sure that she will run when many experts aren’t sure she’s running either? Do you know something they don’t?

Conservative Samizdat on July 13, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Sharr on July 13, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I notice it in her interviews she speaks in abstract terms on purpose. If she were to at least take a little time and review policy items she is talking she won’t have the trouble that she has now. Palin is in the business of making headlines and I actually think that’s a bad approach and it’s why her numbers are low.

She better do it if she plans on running for president because she won’t survive if she doesn’t

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 5:27 PM

What makes you sure that she will run when many experts aren’t sure she’s running either? Do you know something they don’t?

Conservative Samizdat on July 13, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I’m thinking there’s a story in the Bible that illustrates our current national need for Queen Esther (Sarah) to run:”Who knows, but that you are called into the Kingdom for such a time as this?”-Esther 4: 14

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM

What appears “abstract” to you, always appears pretty grounded to me. Certainly more so than the current occupant of the White House ever delivered now or before being elected.

I don’t expect her to be any more definitive than any other politician and only ever see such demanded of her. Her postings are all very solid and defined.

And you have not yet told me why you know, know shes’ surrounded by “yes men”. Speaking of sound bites…

Sharr on July 13, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Sharr on July 13, 2010 at 5:32 PM

You think she will be ready to take off the cuff questions?

A presidential campaign is brutal I really hope she knows what is getting into…

Or maybe she thinks she could run a FOX news/conservative talk radio show campaign by blacking out the rest of the media… If she does think she is sorely mistaken.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 5:46 PM

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Why is the MSM so important to you?

Before the JFK-Nixon election of 1960, Americans did just fine electing their president without the MSM and TV.

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Jenfidel on July 13, 2010 at 6:02 PM

It’s 2010 now that’s why.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 6:25 PM

It’s 2010 now that’s why.

TimeTraveler on July 13, 2010 at 6:25 PM

That doesn’t make them relevant. Only contemporary.

powerpro on July 13, 2010 at 6:29 PM

and I watched at lunch the PALIN-BOR “SMACKDOWN” and Palin did fine in the back and forth with O’Reilly.

She’s getting the tough questions and she handled it well (in the role of a Commentator) and BEST OF ALL…..SHE SAID “WE SHOULD DEPORT ‘EM” if they don’t comply with U.S. laws.

In watching Palin interviews for over 2 years the only time that I thought she didn’t do well was the Couric / Gibson interviews (and we know how that was all chopped up and all the crap she was dealing with at the LOSER MCCAIN Campaign).

The bar is so low (that’s she a complete Hillbilly doofus) that all she has to do is show up and know her stuff….and BBE THE RELAXED and engaging Palin and she’ll do fine against the DOTUS (assuming she even runs or gets the nod).

PappyD61 on July 13, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Sarah Palin is more interested in creating another party, she’s young enough to play kingmaker and then become king. Think Martin Van Buren, not Andrew Jackson.

cpaulus on July 14, 2010 at 12:48 AM

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