Innocent conjecture about her schedule or calculated insinuation about a 2012 rival’s greed? The definitive post on this dust up (as well as the clip below) comes from Sheya, who breaks down a rare split among Palinistas about whether Santorum was defending her or trying to take her down. The man himself insists that he meant no harm. I’m inclined to believe him, partly because his tone is so mild, partly because he mentions non-financial motives too (family obligations, travel logistics), and partly because Palin does have a lot going on. Why is it nasty to suggest that some of her contractual obligations may have her tied up this weekend so that she can’t attend? Frankly, if there’s any ulterior motive here, it’s probably her wanting to wait until next year to make her CPAC debut. If she gives the keynote this year, it might make the organizers look elsewhere in 2012 in order to avoid repetition/ Whereas if she holds off for now and then makes herself available next February, a big splash at CPAC in the middle of the early primaries will give her some extra juice. Or at least, that’s what I’d be thinking if I was one of her strategists. Shrewd political calculation, not greed.

Tags: Sarah Palin