I understand why BuzzFeed’s trying to turn this into a Rove/Palin war — the RINO/true conservative conflict is irresistible traffic bait — but I don’t see this as a shot aimed specifically at her so much as a statement of simple fact. Simple fact: Most endorsements don’t mean snot. Ask Romney fan Nikki Haley about that.
Karl Rove mockingly dismissed the value of Sarah and Todd Palin’s endorsements on a private conference call today, noting that their backing of Newt Gingrich in Alaska “demonstrated that endorsements don’t mean snot.”
BuzzFeed obtained the dial-in information for the conference call with Barclays Capital clients and employees, in which Rove outlined the state of the Republican race for the presidency and the path forward for the candidates…
Rove also said on the call that he expects Democrats to hold the Senate, and that Newt Gingrich is on the brink of becoming “irrelevant” to the presidential race.
Hard to judge without an exact quote but he’s probably citing her because she does, in fact, have more influence with grassroots righties than most big-name conservatives. I.e. if even Palin’s stamp of approval can’t rescue Gingrich in her home state then endorsements simply don’t matter much. Seriously, how many over the entire span of this deathless campaign have made a difference? Haley and Pawlenty, a current and former governor, respectively, couldn’t save their home states for Romney. Mike DeWine, a former senator from Ohio, flipped from Romney to Santorum but that wasn’t enough to hand the state to Team Sweater Vest. Mitt did win Arizona after McCain backed him, but according to a PPP poll taken a week before the vote, twice as many voters cited that as a negative than as a positive. (Jan Brewer’s support may have been more significant.) The only endorsement I can think of that likely did tilt an election was Rob Portman’s, partly because he campaigned hard for Romney in Ohio over the last month and a half and partly because he happens to have influence in a specific part of the state that ended up being crucial to Mitt’s win. Apart from him, who else?
Via Mediaite, here’s Steve Doocy wondering on Fox this morning why, if Palin was willing to admit that she voted for Newt in Alaska, she didn’t go ahead and formally endorse him a week ago. The answer, I think, is because she’s savvy enough to know that Rove is right. Newt’s in too deep of a hole up north and nationally for anyone to dig him out, so why should she spend valuable political capital to try? (In fact, Gingrich finished fourth in Alaska’s “presidential preference poll,” 10 points behind third-place Ron Paul.) The last time she endorsed in a major Alaska race, it didn’t end well. Go figure that she didn’t want to make the Haley/Pawlenty/DeWine mistake this time.