She says she’s interested in running for president, but Sarah Palin is not backing that interest up with action…

“I see no activity, no hires, no grassroots, and there is no structure to the volunteer organization for Palin that existed four years ago,” said Craig Bergman, a Republican consultant who worked with the Organize4Palin group in Iowa in 2011.

Myrna Beeber, who oversaw 11 counties as a regional coordinator for the group in 2011, attended Palin’s speech in Des Moines on Saturday and said she still counts herself among Palin’s supporters. But she hasn’t been in touch with anyone about a bid for president and isn’t holding out hope that the colorful Going Rogue author is serious about running…

“Sarah Palin is like Tim Tebow,” Bergman mused, referring to the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy playing for the University of Florida but fizzled in the NFL. “Her fans love her, her critics hate her, she can win a national championship in college. But to play in the NFL is a whole different level of talent.”

***

By the time Palin finished speaking, it was hard for anyone to believe she truly is “seriously interested” in running for president. Palin followed former executive Carly Fiorina, who gave a well-received speech that left many in the audience wanting to hear more. Like any serious would-be candidate, Fiorina had obviously taken care to prepare the best speech she could. The contrast with Palin could not have been clearer.

The experience leaves Iowa Republicans with a lot to think about. Yes, Palin is still a draw. Yes, conservatives still empathize with her over the beating she took from the media in 2008. But if there is indeed nothing behind her “seriously interested” talk — and it appears there is not — should she be included in events leading up to the 2016 caucuses? A lot of GOP activists may come to agree with one of those well-connected Iowa Republicans quoted above, who remarked, “The sooner these forums in Iowa focus on those actually running, the better.”

***

“Frankly, I don’t think that she’s going to be much of an issue in this cycle,” Ed Morrissey, senior editor at the conservative Hot Air blog, told the Washington Examiner media desk. He said Palin doesn’t appear to have made any concrete steps toward declaring a candidacy and that she’s “mostly just a speaker.” He said her speech in Iowa “wasn’t well prepared.”…

“The grassroots and the conservative media that may still have a soft spot for Palin has generally moved on,” [Ben] Domenech said. “Maybe they’re a little tired of having to defend her. Maybe they’re a little tired of her kind of approach to speechmaking and that could end up putting her in a position where even if she has a lot of sympathy, they really don’t view that support as transitioning to a presidential run.”…

“If she’s got the fire in her belly and believes she’s got a shot, she should go on stage and make her argument,” said Ben Howe, a blogger for RedState. “I’m just not sure her argument will be all that compelling and the cynical side of me worries that being in the ‘maybe I’ll run for president’ camp is just the business she’s chosen.”

Leon Wolf, another RedState blogger, shared the sentiment. “I lost a ton of respect for her in the run up to 2012 as she clearly, deliberately drew out an announcement about whether the was going to run or not so as to maximize her exposure with the press,” he said. “I think at this point she is going to attempt the same thing in 2016 but she will likely find that she has burned her bridges with all but her most committed followers such that she won’t be treated seriously by a critical enough mass of actual Republican primary voters that it will matter.”

***

Palin was once a reform-minded governor who enjoyed an 88 percent approval rating. But something happened on the way to Des Moines. I suspect the most vicious attacks (especially the “Trig Truther” stuff) radicalized her and embittered her, but I also suspect she also took the easy way out. Instead of going back to Alaska after the 2008 defeat, boning up on the issues, continuing her work as governor, and forging a national political comeback, she cashed in with reality-TV shows and paid speaking gigs…

Palin has also been harmed by virtue of having created a generation of competitors and replacements. Some of the candidates she endorsed—take Sen. Ted Cruz, for example—are smarter, more relevant versions of her. Why book Palin when you can get Cruz or Paul or Michele Bachmann or… Ben Carson? What is her competitive advantage or unique selling proposition?…

I still say she was an incredibly talented political force, but she squandered her opportunity for greatness, and instead became a fad. And it’s worth considering that maybe her early critics saw some fundamental character flaw—some harbinger of things to come—that escaped me.

It’s probably time to concede that the early critics of Sarah Palin had a point, and that they shouldn’t have been tarred and feathered and (in some cases) nearly purged from the conservative movement. I’m not excusing the vilest attacks, of course, but for a long time, there was close to zero tolerance of anything remotely critical of Palin (or, at least, even mild criticism would evoke stern rebukes), and that was wrong. And, as evidenced by the spate of articles coming from conservative venues this week, it’s also over.

***

Some people contain within them a magical quality that leads their fans toward idol worship, and, for whatever reason, Palin appears to have it in spades. But, as she has discovered for herself of late, this can be a decidedly mixed blessing. On the upside, cults provide their beneficiaries with a ready-made army of apologists and sponsors — people, that is, who have primed themselves to push back hard against the most modest of slights and to exact a price from anyone who exhibits the temerity to criticize their focus. On the downside, cults can serve to inoculate their subjects from legitimate judgment and to ease their descent into inadvertent self-parody. Partly because the media has been reflexively unfair to her, and partly because they feel generally put upon by the culture at large, Palin’s fans have of late provided her mostly with the latter service. Last weekend’s speech was the direct result of that tendency…

The Right will likely never agree on how best it should move forward, but we might at least unite against the belief that there exist superheroes who are able to save the country from itself; against the idea that any one person can be the official standard bearer of a whole ideological or demographic group; and against the presumption that conservatism will gain anything much at all from the promotion and advancement of its most erratic champions. Further still, we might refrain from attempting to immunize our friends from the consequences of their actions. Having been mercilessly and unjustly pilloried by the media throughout the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin had a clear choice in its aftermath: She could sober up and prove the buggers wrong, or she could collapse into ignominious pasquinade. Sadly, she chose the latter. The rest of us should choose to move on.

***

The really odd thing is that these same denizens of the media keep advising that Palin is “diminished,” to quote Robert Costa, is ineffectual, and has no chance of getting elected, and yet they turned their entire venom on her (Trump doesn’t count of course, as he just gets a dollop of sarcasm now and then). 
 
It is as if a dam of hatred and resentment cracked and burst, spilling a reservoir of venom from a million rattlesnakes to cascade down a river of leftist and Establishment loathing…

Clearly Palin is an Ebola virus to the left that has crossed their respective blood brain barriers and, along with the Freudian repressed guilt has driven them over the edge. 
 
This is a terrible problem. America needs proper journalistic reporting that can be seen as “fair and balanced” not unfair and unbalanced. It is time for a senior and highly respected journalist, Jake Tapper perhaps, to call his fellow professionals (the bloggers are a hopeless case) to order before they, in their growing and now clearly set loose irrationality, destroy what little credibility the media has left.
 

***

Perhaps Sarah Palin has proven she’s not a major intellectual. But let me assure you that there are lots and lots of dumber politicians that were never attacked in such a vicious and unforgivable manner. They are allowed to hide behind handlers, and in many instances, grow into the job. Frankly, I think Palin had raw political talent and intelligence that had it been properly guided and allowed to develop free from the trauma of having her family being persecuted every five seconds, we’d all be talking about a very different woman. Instead, Andrew Sullivan spun conspiracies that would have made Alex Jones blanche and people such as Bill Maher mocked her developmentally disabled child. Compare how Palin’s family has been attacked by the media with the way the media lost all sense of proportion and propriety going after a lone GOP staffer who made some comparatively mild criticisms of Obama’s daughters. 

Obviously, Lewis isn’t wrong to acknowledge she is not the reincarnated Pericles. And he’s right that the adulation for her from parts of the conservative base was truly excessive for a time. However, Palin has often been far more wily than her critics and vindicating the media even slightly when there’s been no real apology for the inexcusably vicious way they went about making their criticisms seems unneeded. Please do recall that the other option for VP in 2008 was Joe Biden, who after 36 years in the Senate was a well-documented liar of few real accomplishments, not to mention total buffoon. It’s kind of amazing we’re still debating Palin’s merits for public office when Joe Biden’s been VP for 6 years and has done things such as completely blow getting a status of forces agreement in Iraq, thus paving the way for ISIS, and the media shrugs and says, “Crazy Unca’ Joe’s at it again!”…

The real problem lies not with Palin so much as our slanderous media pursued someone they found threatening to their myopic liberal consensus so doggedly and cruelly that they undoubtedly had a hand in creating the problematic, tabloid figure she’s become all these years later. Maybe Palin isn’t entirely a victim, but because she seems to be an unsteady figure in 2015 it is by no means vindication for what her critics said and did to her in 2008. 

***

She needed to do what former Texas governor Rick Perry has done. Recognizing his mistakes in 2012, Perry has spent the past two years meeting with conservative scholars for briefings on economics, health care, budgets, tax policy and so on.

Palin apparently took a different route. She wrote a couple of books, became fluent in Twitter and dropped in and out of campaigns to endorse tea party candidates. Until Saturday, she seemed content to have become an anointer rather than the anointed. Her seriousness as public servant versus public personality, however, was reflected in her rambling, stream-of-consciousness speech…

What she didn’t count on was the stress of constant travel, performance and cramming for speeches — or the pain of separation from her family. Nor could she have anticipated that her own team ultimately would lose faith in her. Imagine being the governor of a frontier state, suddenly being placed before millions of armchair critics and asked to perform without proper preparation, training or support. This is crazy-making on its face; devastating and crushing to the individual who finds herself alone on the ledge.

In the end, the story of Palin’s rise and fall is a tragedy. And the author wasn’t the media as accused but the Grand Old Party itself. Like worshipers of false gods throughout human history, Republicans handpicked the fair maiden Sarah and placed her on the altar of political expedience.

They sacrificed her.

***

Palin knows how to connect on a personal level; she knows how to draw a crowd. Granted, many in the crowd who react to everything she says loathe everything about her. But when the topic of Palin comes up, particularly in the arena of cable news, you feel everyone involved on a set more engaged, more passionate about whenever the debate is around something she said or wrote. If she says something controversial (and that’s often), those statements are hotly discussed, particularly by left-leaning media. In the end, she just knows how to strike a nerve, good or bad.

Now as we come up on seven years since she flew onto the national stage, Palin somehow still has legs (from a media perspective). If this week from Media Buzz to Morning Joe to The Daily Show is any indication, she’s still is a hot topic of conversation across the board. And not because she’s hinted at what would undoubtedly be a disastrous run for President (her negatives are far too high, her baggage from stepping down as governor too much to overcome alone), but because she’s arguably still the most polarizing political figure in the country today…

Time really flies. It’s almost seven years since we met Sarah Palin. She hasn’t held public office since 2009. Losing VP candidates usually fade back into their previous positions or vanish from the public eye (Paul Ryan, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Jack Kemp are the last four besides her to look to as varying examples).

And every time you think you’ve heard the last from the hockey mom…every time you think you’re out…she pulls you back in.

***

Palin appeared on Fox just hours later, chatting with Sean Hannity about her 2016 ambitions. She spoke of conservative unity and admitted the right hasn’t been quite as united as it could be.

And that’s when Palin observed that this is a problem on Fox News, which she described as “a quasi––or assumed––conservative outlet.” She brought up O’Reilly chuckling at her and Trump making things a “reality show” and said he can yuk it up if he wants, but “this is war.”

Palin elaborated, “Hopefully the media, even the quasi-right side of the media, won’t be looking at this as some kind of reality show.”