The fact that the question is even being asked at this point means that Romney’s campaign has committed a serious — indeed, unforgivable — gaffe.
With six weeks to go before the kickoff of the GOP convention, no invitation to speak has been extended to the GOP’s most visible, and arguably their most bankable, name. Sarah Palin may have high negatives with independents. She may be seen as something of a lightweight by the national press and the inside the beltway GOP. And she may engender controversy for any number of gaffes and misstatements she’s made since the 2008 campaign.
But she is pure gold to the base of party activists for whom the convention is ostensibly being put on. And this unnecessary slight only reinforces the notion among those activists that Mitt Romney doesn’t care much about them and will sideline them in his administration if elected.
Sarah Palin has not yet received an invitation to speak at or attend the Republican National Convention this August in Tampa, Newsweek reported.
“What can I say?” Palin told Newsweek in an email. “I’m sure I’m not the only one accepting consequences for calling out both sides of the aisle for spending too much money, putting us on the road to bankruptcy, and engaging in crony capitalism.”
“In accepting those consequences,” she added, “one must remember this isn’t Sadie Hawkins and you don’t invite yourself and a date to the Big Dance.”
The magazine said the Romney campaign did not respond to a question about Palin’s role at the convention, but one adviser associated with Team Romney indicated that she may be prohibited from speaking under her contract with FOX News.
Palin appeared dubious, however, about that reasoning.
“It’s true I’m prohibited from doing some things,” Palin told Newsweek, “but this is the first I’ve heard anyone suggest that as an excuse, er, reason to stay away from engaging in the presidential race. I’m quite confident Fox’s top brass would never strip anyone of their First Amendment rights in this regard.”
Palin has not been one of Romney’s boosters. After appearing to favor some of Romney’s more conservative rivals during the Republican primary, she has since only offered him only tepid endorsements.
Last week, Palin said on FOX News that Romney should do more to energize the conservative base, advising him to “light our hair on fire.”
The possible sidelining of Palin is reportedly frustrating Tea Party activists, who have also been slow to accept the former Massachusetts governor as the Republican nominee.
There is no doubt that Palin made life difficult for Romney during the primary campaign. So did a lot of other Republicans, and I imagine some of them will be on the dais getting their 15 minutes in the spotlight. This smacks of pettiness, and perhaps a little jealousy. It could be that Palin will get a larger ovation than Romney and Mitt doesn’t want to suffer by comparison.
Regardless, it’s an unnecessary and ill-planned snub to both Palin and her supporters.