My mom and a few others I know who remain dumbfounded by Sarah Palin's appeal have voiced concerns to me that Palin may have presidential ambitions, and scarily enough, succeed. To be honest, I've never felt that was a serious concern, because Palin has never appeared interested in doing actual work--just look at her bailing out on the Alaskan governorship--more than exposure and fame and the riches associated with that. Guess what, Mom? Looks like I was right:
Pundits can debate the political costs and benefits of Sarah Palin's decision to step down as Alaska governor, but the monetary advantages of leaving her $125,000-a-year public service post are beyond dispute.
Since leaving office at the end of July 2009, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has brought in at least 100 times her old salary – a haul now estimated at more than $12 million -- through television and book deals and a heavy schedule of speaking appearances worth five and six figures.
But you don't get to that income level without expecting some serious accomodations for your work. Palin's demands--uncovered by some enterprising students at CSU* Stanislaus, who found part of her speaking contract riders in the garbage, awaiting shredding--are perhaps not ludicrous as removing all the brown M&Ms but certainly do indicate a tendency towards the diva.
1) Sarah Palin is scared of real questions from real America. Audience questions must be pre-screened: ""For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative... shall ask questions directly of the Speaker."
2) Palin needs two bottles of water near her lectern. And "bendable straws are to be placed in or near the wooden lectern." Presumably for drinking the water, but they could also be used to illustrate vividly the horns of the devil as he congratulates Obama on Obamacare.
3) Like much of America, Palin likes to be transported in large vehicles: If she's not being flown first class commercial from Anchorage, "the private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger." As for ground transportation: "transportation will be by SUV(s) from a professionally licensed and insured car service. If SUV(s) are not available, black town cars may be substituted"
4) Sarah Palin needs three hotel rooms: "A pre-registered one-bedroom suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel." One of those hotel rooms is just for her folksy sayings. Another is for if she needs to personally apply advanced interrogation techniques to any terrorists she comes across.
The mainstream media is focusing on her bendy straw fetish, because it's the most innocuous. I wear lipstick too. I get the straw thing, and bendy straws prevent the straw from falling too far into the water bottle. Whatever. What gets me is that they don't blink an eye over the folksy hockey mom demanding Lear jets and first class accommodations for her and whatever entourage with whom she travels. Nor do they mind her insistence on pre-screened questions. All that elitism from the pitbull with lipstick and they focus on her not wanting to smudge it.
However, there are some who find her speaking demands some cause for concern. California Attorney General Jerry Brown wants to make sure that California taxpayers aren't ponying up for Palin's lavish lifestyle:
California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Tuesday his office had launched an investigation into the finances of a state university foundation and the alleged dumping of documents related to Sarah Palin's upcoming speech at the school.
Brown also intends to look into whether the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation violated public disclosure laws. "This is not about Sarah Palin," Brown said in a prepared statement. "The issues are public disclosure and financial accountability in organizations embedded in state-run universities."
Matt Swanson, president of the foundation board, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment about the investigation. [..]
The document, dated March 16, does not include compensation details for Palin, who commands speaking fees as high as $100,000. Her appearance at the university gala is expected to draw a large crowd, with tickets selling for $500 each. Palin's fee and accommodations will be covered entirely by private donations, not state funds, Swanson said earlier in the day.
The students who found the document said they acted on a tip that documents were being shredded when campus staff members were supposed to be on furlough.
*corrected (h/t acoustichobo)