The practical, calculating side of Sarah Palin

 Karen Handel preps for this morning's interview with Channel 2 Action News anchors Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Karen Handel preps for this morning's interview with Channel 2 Action News anchors Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

You and I have just become eyewitnesses to the practical side of Sarah Palin.

With a simple Facebook posting nine days ago, and a 30-second message sent to telephones in 400,000 Republican households, Palin served as both sword and shield for Karen Handel — boosting the former secretary of state to the top rung in a GOP runoff for governor.

It may have been the most efficient and impressive use of political celebrity this state has ever seen, made on behalf of a woman whose views sometimes mirror those of the former Alaskan governor – but not always.

Which is where Palin’s practical side asserted itself.

Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. Associated Press

Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. Associated Press

Some people would rather be right than be president. Tuesday’s vote in Georgia proved that Sarah Palin isn’t one of them.

We are excessively familiar with the slightly ditzy, I-can-see-Russia-from-my-house caricature of Palin on network TV. And Fox News makes sure we never miss the wise-cracking, line-in-the-sand ideologue.

So the concept of a calculating, distant Palin tipping the balance in Georgia politics will take some getting used to. Chances are good that we’ll have that opportunity over the next three weeks.

As was Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Handel was already on an upward trend before Palin named her as one of her “mama grizzlies.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, whose stand on illegal immigration has made her perhaps the second most popular woman in the GOP, had already sided with Handel.

“Sarah Palin just lit the after-burners,” said Handel spokesman Dan McLagan on Tuesday.

Two opponents, former congressman Nathan Deal and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, had no choice but to launch attacks that otherwise might have waited until the runoff that begins today.

Handel had waffled on gay rights issues – and even misdirected voters on her positions, they charged. As chairman of the Fulton County Commission, she had directed funds to Planned Parenthood, the incorporated but non-profit face of evil within the pro-life world.

None of it stuck. Palin’s endorsement of Handel came so late that her backing never appeared in a single TV or radio ad. Not one mailer from the Handel campaign mentioned the former Alaskan governor.

Word-of-mouth, newscasts and newspaper articles, and a single round of robo-calls from Palin last week – “Karen’s opponents are kind of saying those crazy things about her” — were enough. That’s the power of celebrity.

Palin’s endorsement helped Handel thwart nearly $1 million in advertised attacks, McLagan said. “Our question is, what are they going to do for an encore?”

Anti-abortion advocates have extolled Palin, her Down syndrome child, her pregnant teenager, and her uncompromising position on abortion. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Republican party’s vice presidential nominee made no bones about her opposition to abortion – except when the life of the mother is at stake.

So the most fervent pro-life forces in Georgia were puzzled by Palin’s choice of Handel, who believes women should have the option of abortion in cases of rape and incest.

To those who live outside GOP circles, that may sound like a minor difference. But among Georgia Republicans, where candidates live and die by the “pro-life” label, it is no small thing.

Georgia Right to Life, which has spent the last several years persuading many GOP candidates to adopt the tougher definition, on Monday launched a late robo-call attack on Handel and her “extremely liberal record on abortion.”

The recording made no mention of Palin.

Because we treat our celebrities like royalty, her public has assumed that the Queen of the Tea Party simply didn’t have the facts. Others were less generous.

“If someone from out of Georgia is going to step into our races, then I believe that that person needs to be familiar with all the players. And I do not think in this instance, that former Governor Palin did her homework,” said Sadie Fields, the longtime conservative Christian activist.

We aren’t permitted to question Palin on her endorsement of Handel. But a pattern of conduct is evidence of premeditation.

On Monday, Palin endorsed Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s attorney general, in that state’s U.S. Senate race. Ayotte, like Handel, supports a woman’s right to abortion in cases of rape and incest.

But Ayotte, Palin said in her Facebook endorsement “is the strongest common-sense conservative who can win in the fall.”

One presumes that the former Alaskan governor has made a similar judgment when it comes to Handel.

Her army of mama grizzlies may have several things in common – gender, an outsider’s image and a message of reform.

But Palin, often dismissed as an unsubtle advocate of Republican orthodoxy, has calculated that while conservative purity tests might win a primary, they aren’t necessarily a formula for victory in November.

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91 comments Add your comment

Glowing Republican

July 21st, 2010
12:10 am

Karen’s a great gal, and we can only hope she is half as great as Sarah is for Alaska!

[...] Insider Jim Galloway says Sarah Palin’s efforts to boost the political fortunes of Karen Handel may have been the most efficient and impressive use of political celebrity this state has ever [...]

TJAtl

July 21st, 2010
12:21 am

What does it take to get a Palin endorsement? Answer: Vagina (R)

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 21st, 2010
12:24 am

Fronting for Rockefellers’ Big Oil and the Roman Catholic Church, Palin’s a bigger threat to America than Barnes is to Georgia. She needs to be “refudiated” with a straight Democrat vote in November.

atlmom

July 21st, 2010
12:35 am

All the republicans have to do is stop the idiocy of requiring people to be anti choice (i.e., thinking abortion should be illegal). Most women believe it should be legal, as do most men. if the republicans could stick to the (supposed) conservative values for the economy and government, they could do really well…but they seem to want to live and die on these issues. They should be much more inclusive, and everyone wouldn’t be running to be independents.

hjkhjk

July 21st, 2010
12:36 am

Handel will NOT get my vote in November. Palin’s endorsement sealed that deal.

Michael

July 21st, 2010
12:37 am

If Handel is the best the republican pary has to offer in November I will reluctantly join the “Republicans for Barnes” I just can’t bring myself to vote for someone with Handel’s record. If she is the nominee she will still be the most liberal candidate on the ballot in November.

TK421

July 21st, 2010
12:50 am

@Glowing Republican. You meant “as great as Palin WAS for Alaska,” right? She quit, remember?

DawgDad

July 21st, 2010
12:56 am

Nice try, Jim. Didn’t work on me in regards to Handel.

“But Palin, often dismissed as an unsubtle advocate of Republican orthodoxy” — what planet are you on? She ran on a ticket with McCain. She came back to endorse McCain. About the only thing they have in common is the R behind their names.

Mark

July 21st, 2010
12:57 am

Karen did an exceptional job in getting her message out. She is our best choice to beat King Roy in November. Now let’s focus on winning this runoff in August and show the Republican Establishment that GA does not need a “Raw DEAL”. Then on to victory in November. The citizens of GA know that Ethics and Integrity matter.

Go Karen Go!!!

GI Dolly...Henry Hates McBerry

July 21st, 2010
1:13 am

Handel can be a dishwasher, what she is qualified for. Hate this drop out and her comments on legit parents…from a barren woman. If Roy is smart he will say that handel is SONNY 2. King Roy will get the last laugh.

Bear

July 21st, 2010
1:17 am

Georgians haven’t forgotten about what Roy Barnes did in his last term as Gov. and Republicans like me always vote pro life except in cases of incest or rape. Roy Barnes cares more about what the rest of the country thinks than what Georgians think and thats what got him into trouble the last time!!! And he wasn’t so good to teachers last time either! I find it interesting that he spends a lot of time inside the perimeter,bowing to all those O’Bama supporters who have a socialist agenda. Any Republican we have will be better than that!!!

the palin factor

July 21st, 2010
1:23 am

“We are excessively familiar with the slightly ditzy, I-can-see-Russia-from-my-house caricature of Palin on network TV. ”
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-===-=-=
how many of you out there know that this statement was never issued by Sarah Palin. Just goes to show you how obama got elected; lazy voters take whatever is tossed their way and digest it and act accordingly. thankfully, many of those same voters now have ears up like a doberman’s and eyes focused on every move the media makes. media fooled them once!!!

Palin remains continues to poll in whatever the top three candidates are for president while all others shift from first place to 13th to 4th, to 2nd, etc…. she remains the single constant. while many hope they can continue to get away with dismissing her as not as good as because of the school she graduated from, she is dictating an education never seen before. continue to rule her out at your own demise.

my 2-cents

July 21st, 2010
1:28 am

As chairman of the Fulton County Commission, she had directed funds to Planned Parenthood, the incorporated but non-profit face of evil within the pro-life world.

DID YOU FAIL TO MENTION THIS MONEY WAS DIRECTED LONG BEFORE PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS EXPOSED, intentionally? because i’m sitting here thinking, “if only you journalists/reporters could simply report truth as it is we would all benefit.”

pity the fools

July 21st, 2010
1:29 am

“Hate this drop out and her comments on legit parents…from a barren woman.”
***V ********V

in your opinion are barren women sub-humans in God’s sight or just yours?

pity the fools

July 21st, 2010
1:31 am

If Roy is smart he will say that handel is SONNY 2. King Roy will get the last laugh
***V ********V

we are tired of things being said just to get votes. this time around we are going with only that which is truth. that’s leaving many of you out in the cold.

who's fooling who?

July 21st, 2010
1:35 am

[quote from above] None of it stuck. Palin’s endorsement of Handel came so late that her backing never appeared in a single TV or radio ad. Not one mailer from the Handel campaign mentioned the former Alaskan governor.
================
every local news carried it.
every cable news carried it.
it was not missed on a single person and did far more than any mailer that might have been tossed in the garbage might have done.

IT’S GOING TO BE A HARD THING FOR SOME OF YOU, BUT SARAH PALIN IS THE NEW STANDARD…. ha-ha-ha-ha- it until you stop laughing.

hmm...

July 21st, 2010
1:40 am

“If someone from out of Georgia is going to step into our races, then I believe that that person needs to be familiar with all the players. And I do not think in this instance, that former Governor Palin did her homework,” said Sadie Fields, the longtime conservative Christian activist
………………………… …………………….. ………………. ………………….. isnt this like someone saying after 911 that people in any other state could not possibly feel their pain? isnt this like saying how dare you allow us to vote on someone for president because he’s not from our state and we know nothing about him? do some of you really think because someone is not physically from our State that person has no clue as to the positions of the representatives there? get real, willya?

Brian

July 21st, 2010
1:49 am

New study shows that each Sarah Palin Tweet causes decrease in reader’s IQ.

Read this article, it is HYSTERICAL.

http://www.dailygoat.com/?p=1821

ghostwriter

July 21st, 2010
4:04 am

How many bloggers are going to “refudiate” this criticism of Queen Sarah?

Dirty Dawg

July 21st, 2010
4:20 am

I’m fully convinced that ‘the woman is, indeed, an idiot’…then I have to be a bit more thoughtful and admit that being an idiot doesn’t mean she can’t, at the same time, just be a greedy-a$$ Republican opportunist. Face it, she came to realize that this was her opportunity to ‘cash in’ on the celebrity that her ‘anointment’ to the VP candidacy provided her…quit that job to which she was elected up there…get herself some representation, a publisher and ghost-writer, some ‘talent’ agent and simply find out how may more idiots there are in the Repug/TeaBaggin’ Party to make it pay off. Apparently there are enough to make sled-full of money for the Wasilla Weasel cause she’s cashin’ in big time.

And now that nympho daughter of hers – the one ‘with’ the kid – and the punk boyfriend, who if truth were known probably ‘did’ Sarah too, are ‘getting back together’ for the good of the kid…hell, all they’re doing is angling for a reality TV show. You know, the thing you do when you don’t have enough sense to write a book or haven’t done enough in your life to fill more than a chapter or two, and you still want to do the ‘cashin’ in thing.

Did I mention that you Republicans are everything that Alan Grayson say’s you are, and worse?

A CONSERVATIVE

July 21st, 2010
5:12 am

YES…..BUT CAN EXPECT THE MORON LIBERAL bloggers to keep on sliming her….THAT IS THEIR ONLY WEAPON….SLANDER..

A CONSERVATIVE

July 21st, 2010
5:16 am

EVEN ON THIS BLOG…….LIBERALS KEEP ON UNDERestimating SARAH PALIN….same old liberal “TALKING POINTs”

Rick Patel

July 21st, 2010
5:22 am

Gov. Sarah Palin is bold, brilliant, beautiful, and very discerning in her endorsement of Karen Handel. Wouldn’t it be great to have women Governors in Georgia & South Carolina at the same time? That’s real progress.

Palin's the Demagogue

July 21st, 2010
5:48 am

“YES…..BUT CAN EXPECT THE MORON LIBERAL bloggers to keep on sliming her….THAT IS THEIR ONLY WEAPON….SLANDER..”

As opposed to Palin crying Marxist, socialist, and terrorist. Slander is her only weapon. She has no ideas or a plan. Or you name calling. Pot..kettle..black…

Bitter EX democrackkk

July 21st, 2010
6:25 am

We’ve been IMPRESSED by Karen Handel since her work at ultra corrupt Fulton County! Handel is the ONLY sensible choice for Georgia Governor. I cannot believe ANYONE would vote for Royal Barnes…what an OAF.

STRIVE to be SMARTER than the ORIGINAL’party’ of SLAVERY WANTS you to BE ! ! !

Dave

July 21st, 2010
6:37 am

Only a man would think you should be forced to have a baby if you were raped. As a man I kind of wish men had babies that way we could see if they were indeed hypocrites or would have babies forced on them by others. This is kind of like the lords of the manor telling peasants if I rape you peasants you should have my out of wedlock child or an even recent historical example a slave master raping his slave and then having another field hand to work for him or even be sold off for money. The ultimate right is deciding to have a child to raise or not. Forcing a person to have a child from a criminal act is a double punishment for a victim.

Noo Raw Deal, Noooo King Roy

July 21st, 2010
6:39 am

This is the Blogging artist formerly known as No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy. Raw Deal was a crook yesterday and is a crook today.

THE NAME SAYS IT ALL

khc

July 21st, 2010
7:07 am

palin is nothing more than a carny; handel is sonny redux….true barnes mades some mistakes but he has the depth and breadth to be gov. handel will have to rely on many advisors most of them big business(to heck with middle america) and wingnuts on the far right. do we need 8 more years of do nuthin’ (scratch that he did enrich himself) gubernor?

Aquagirl

July 21st, 2010
7:18 am

Sadie Fields sure does have her nose out of joint, doesn’t she? Her Secretary of State candidate (Macginnitie) hired her to get out the local Taliban vote and she failed. The most liberal Republican won the largest share of the vote in the Governors race. Bad day for Sadie = good day for everyone else.

khc

July 21st, 2010
7:22 am

prediction after looking at map of repub votes: handel will beat deal (johnson will endorse sonny2 and needs architectural work); deal and cagle from same area and handel will get woman vote for no other reason than she is a woman. the folks who voted downstate of ox will have high school football to fill their void and will not show up to vote, women excepted.

Tom Ragsadale

July 21st, 2010
7:24 am

Roy Barnes should realize he is in a GOP state trying to be a Dem governor. The Republican vote in the primary was 638,000 voters. The Dems totaled 348,000. Come on Roy!

Harry Reid

July 21st, 2010
7:42 am

Roy had the Confederate flag changed from the battle flag to the national flag and the people in Georgia are so dumb that they didn’t notice! He will do other stuff because y’all don’t get it!

AmyW

July 21st, 2010
7:51 am

Handel is scary. How can you trust a person who never earned a college degree, yet could make the most important educational decisions for our children’s futures?

Rafe Hollister

July 21st, 2010
7:53 am

Love Sarah, but her endorsement carried no weight, just like other endorsements. I voted for who I thought could beat Rerun Roy.

Amazing how this woman, that all the self appointed intelligent folks say is an inbred dufous, is orchastrating a nationwide revolt against the Dems.

Lutie Bascomb

July 21st, 2010
7:57 am

I’m just glad Oxendine did not get into the runoff. He would have been a disaster. That he slid all the way to fourth is just buttercream icing on the cake.

Grandpa Right, formerly of Cochran

July 21st, 2010
7:57 am

The nastiness and immaturity of many of these posts makes me embarassed for my fellow Georgians.

As a UGA grad, I wish “Dirty Dawg” and his juvenile atttackes on Palin’s daughter would find another screen name. Grow up, people.

BABY SAY

July 21st, 2010
7:59 am

BABY SAY YAW BETTR BE LISTNING TOO BABY … BABY SAY ROI BANRS WIND EESLY. HE WIND EEESLY HUH?????/ BABY SAY LADY PORTR DO GUD TO BUT MAN PORTR NOT GO T SNOBALL CHANC IN H–LLL UV WINDING. BABY SAY BARG AN MARTN. IN NOVV ELECKSHON,, BABY SAY BARNS AN BARG WIND.

BABY SAY DILL PICKL MAY TAKE OX IN END… H E DO. HE DO TAKE OX IN END. BABY DONT NEE D NO POLE LIK MATT TTOWELS. BABY BE HIS OWN POLE.

NOVMERBER::: ROI BARNS BE GUVNA AGIN. JOHN BARG BE STATE SUIPER…. KIMP STAY SECRTURY OF STATE. KASEY KAGEL BE LITE GUV AGIN. SPLIT GOUNVERMINT IN GEORGIA. DAT WHUT PEEEPLES WANT NOW. BABY SAY!!!1
YAWS NEEED BE LISTNING TO BABY. BOBBY CON NEED TO LISTI

Al Gore

July 21st, 2010
8:00 am

I look forward to campaigning with Roy Barnes in Georgia, and visiting as many massage parlors as possible.

Grandpa Right, formerly of Cochran

July 21st, 2010
8:00 am

Amy D, if you knew Handel’s story, you would know that her education and training is more impressive than most of us college-degreed people who had our education funded by our parents.

I’m not endorsing Handel, but the attacks on her as “uneducated” are unfair, and push me toward her candidacy.

Grandpa Right, formerly of Cochran

July 21st, 2010
8:02 am

BABY SAYS, I don’t predict thast Barnes will overcomer his 2 great liabilities- his prior term as governor, and the (D) after his name.

frugal voter

July 21st, 2010
8:04 am

I am so very happy that OX, the sleaze, is out of work.
Deal is next! Creative Loafing did a great job in sarcastically endorsing OX.
Too bad CL won’t see Barnes back in office.

mambo

July 21st, 2010
8:07 am

Face it libs! Karen Handel will become governor of Georgia in three and half months and your hatred for Sarah Palin won’t stop that fact.

Rea; Raw Deal Rea; Steal

July 21st, 2010
8:09 am

our choice honest High School Graduate or Corrupt Washington Lawyer.. think I
”ll go with the honest woman.

Real Raw Deal Real Steal

July 21st, 2010
8:10 am

well I voted Ox & mis spelled my name..

lb

July 21st, 2010
8:12 am

I love that Palin is dubbed calculating-as if Hilary has not been for generations. She marries a man who she doesn’t love, who cheats on her, who is a bumbling idiot when it comes to extramarital dealings-but still stands by her man to try to become president.
Palin is just a normal person but has become villified by the liberal press because THEY FEAR HER!!!!!!!!!
BTW-love the pictures in the article on the front -Deal looks crazy, Handel looks super serious and Roy is back on the prozaz apparently. Nice choices.

khc

July 21st, 2010
8:15 am

handel says she is not career pol…… how many years of her adult life has she gotten a govt check….she worked for quayle, sonny, sos, fulton county…..what exactly did she do in private sector…..

ymchoo

July 21st, 2010
8:16 am

Snow White leads The Seven Dwarfs

The GOP will soon be known as the Party of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs with Sarah “Snow White” Palin leading such GOP Dwarfs as Huckabee, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Thune, DeMint, Romney and Ron Paul. When Snow White leads, The Seven Dwarfs follow.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 21st, 2010
8:24 am

Working for the Roman Anti-Christ is always materially rewarding. You think Bush and Cheney have gotten away with 9/11 without Satan’s help? Or his father and Nixon’s killing John Kennedy? Wise up.

Rafe Hollister
July 21st, 2010
7:53 am

…Amazing how this woman, that all the self appointed intelligent folks say is an inbred dufous, is orchastrating a nationwide revolt against the Dems.

grifter

July 21st, 2010
8:31 am

Sarah Palin and “calculating” really shouldn’t go in the same sentence Jim. She couldn’t add 2 + 2 unless she wrote the answer on her hand. She IS an “inbred dufous”. Fo sho.