The big news this week wasn't that Bernie Sanders has opened up a 27-point lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. The big news was that Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump. Sarah Palin? Yes. That Sarah Palin.
I was at CNN watching her remarks at an event in Ames, Iowa and it seemed to me that (a) the woman who, in 2008, was the perky, intelligent, and exuberant Governor of Alaska who had been tapped by the campaign of John McCain to be his vice-presidential running mate.
In 2016, she is a depressing combination of Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond and Tanya Tucker's Delta Dawn: Where she was perky, she is now pale. Where she was intelligent, she is now doctrinaire. Where she was exuberant, she is now plodding, shouting, relying on tired bromides and worn out applause lines.
I suspect Donald Trump wanted Sarah Palin's endorsement, not because it would do much to help him, but because he wanted to keep her from endorsing Ted Cruz.
After it became clear she was endorsing Trump, the Cruz campaign sent a Tweet from Sen. Cruz saying:
"I love @SarahPalinUSA Without her support, I wouldn't be in the Senate. Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan."
Sarah Palin, according to an accounting in the Washington Post, has been barely a .500 endorser. In 2010, 51.6% of her endorsed candidates won. In 2012, 56.3% won. In 2014, (through September of that year) she was 4 for 19 about 21%.
The day after her Coming-Out-For-Donald party, it was made public that her 26-year-old son, Track, had been arrested and charged with domestic abuse.
The Wasilla, Alaska police issued the following statement;
"An investigation revealed Track Palin had committed a domestic violence assault on a female, interfered with her ability to report a crime of domestic violence and possessed a firearm while intoxicated."
Yahoo! News reported, "his girlfriend told police he punched and kicked her before threatening to kill himself with an AR-15 rifle."
Sarah Palin responded by alluding to the fact that Track had served in Iraq in 2008, suffered from PTSD and, she said, "it makes me realize more than ever, it is now or never for the sake of America's finest that we'll have that commander in chief who will respect them and honor them," effectively blaming President Obama. Obama, remember, did not become President until 2009.
The reason I don't think the Palin endorsement will do anything to help Donald Trump is because they attract the same non-establishment people. Trump and Palin are not complimentary, they are duplicative.
Further, it is not at all clear to me that the astonishing lack of criticism that attaches to Trump for the things he says will transfer to Palin. It is more likely that she will attempt to mimic Trump's approach, but will find, as most stand-ins do, that the best she can hope for is polite applause from the audience; the worst, a steady stream to the exits.
It would not surprise me if she quickly fades from the main stage and is sent off to places like Pella, Iowa while Donald is holding court in Iowa City; or she is trundled off to visit the senior center in Claremont, New Hampshire while Trump does an arena event in Manchester.
Donald Trump has proven he does not need an opening act and having her with him on stage is fraught with risk he doesn't want or need.
As for Sarah Palin, she is what was.
As Gloria Swanson's character, Norma Desmond, said when told she used to be big, "I am big. It's the pictures that got small."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Wikipedia page for Sunset Boulevard, to a YouTube rendition of Delta Dawn to the Washington Post's summary of Palin's endorsement successes, and to the Yahoo! News coverage of Track Palin's arrest.
Also, a soothing Mullfoto of the snowfall in Old Town, Alexandria last night - a preview of the blizzard expected Friday night.