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November 15th, 2010

Palin Casts A Huge Shadow Over The 2012 Iowa Caucuses

Sarah Palin is scheduled to return to Iowa later this month when she makes stops in West Des Moines and Spirit Lake as part of her book tour. Palin is traveling the country to promote her new book, “America by Heart,” which will be released on November 23rd.

If you can’t wait until November 27th to get your Palin fix, you can tune into TLC on Sunday nights to watch “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” a documentary of life with the Palin family at their home in Alaska.  Palin was reportedly paid $1 million per episode.  Her pervious book, “Going Rogue,” netted her $7 million.

Regardless of your opinion of John McCain’s 2008 running mate and the former governor of Alaska, it’s impossible to escape Sarah Palin’s presence.   She’s a regular on FOX News, her daughter is on “Dancing With the Stars,” she’s got her own TV series, books, and she makes huge political waves whenever she comes to a place like Iowa where the First-in-the-Nation caucus campaigns are about to get underway.

It’s becoming obvious that it’s Sarah Palin’s world, and we are all have to live with it.  While there are a number of people who grouse about everything Palin, it’s the long list of potential Republican presidential candidates who are quietly cursing Palin’s publicity blitzkrieg.

We will not know if Pailin is going to run for president for while yet, but what we do know is that she will cast a large shadow on the caucus process until she ultimately makes her decision.

Pailin’s decision to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Annual Regan Dinner in September, combined with her book tour that will hit western Iowa, which is rich with conservatives who typically vote in the caucuses, seems to indicate that she is at least making an effort to remain in Iowa’s intense political spotlight.

Palin has been routinely criticized and written off by some Republican political operatives.  Yet here she is just 15 months out of the Iowa caucuses with a TV show on cable that will attract a large amount of female views of all political persuasions.  Likewise, her presence on FOX News, which dominates the cable news ratings, boasts a large male audience.

Through her appearances on TLC and FOX News, Palin has done a masterful job of targeting an audience that will help her sell millions of books, and it will also help her if she does run for office.

As someone who has questioned Palin in the past, I have to admit that she’s played her hand beautifully.  Potential Republican presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney have already been all across the Iowa in recent years.  While people will continue to turnout to see them, their familiarity with Iowans means that they will not be able to match the enthusiasm and curiosity that Palin would bring to the campaign trail.  Curiosity is political gold in a state like Iowa where candidates need to make personal connections with voters.

If Palin does run for president, there are two things that she must overcome.  First, she has to convince Iowans and voters all across the country that she has a firm grasp on the complex issues and problems that face our country.  Any further sign of weakness would likely be a costly political blunder.

The second obstacle she must overcome is how she is perceived.  As mentioned above, people need to think of her as a serious thinker, but she also must become more likable.  Poll after poll has shown Palin with relatively high unfavorable ratings.  This is why I think her new cable TV series is a brilliant move as it lets the American public see her in her natural environment instead of being put on the spot by reporters who, at times, seem on the hunt for any opportunity to make her look bad.

Palin’s new book and TV series couldn’t come at a better time for her politically.  Like most of the potential Republican presidential candidates, she doesn’t want to throw her hat in the ring just yet.  While the rest of the candidates in the field scratch their heads to come up with excuses to visit Iowa now that the 2010 elections are over, Palin has invaded our TV sets with her new show as well as the tremendous media coverage she is bound to receive on her book tour.

Well played, Mrs. Palin, well played.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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