She is not only a staunch foe of abortion but also the mother of a boy, Trig, who was born with Down syndrome just a few months before John Mc Cain chose Palin as his running mate.
The souvenir program for this evening’s dinner is full of displays for local politicians and businesses, attesting to their pro-life bona fides.
She passes the press pen, where at least eight television cameras and a passel of reporters and photographers are corralled, and spots a reporter for a local community newspaper getting ready to take a happy snap with his pocket camera.
For a split second she stops, pauses, turns her head and shoulders just so, and smiles.
She holds the pose until she’s sure the man has his shot and then moves on.
A few minutes later, the evening’s nominal keynote speaker, the Republican Party’s national chairman, Michael Steele, who has been reduced to a footnote in the proceedings, introduces the special guest speaker as “the storm that is the honorable governor of the great state of Alaska, Sarah Palin!
As John Mc Cain’s top campaign officials talk more candidly than ever before about the meltdown of his vice-presidential pick, the author tracks the signs—political and personal—that Palin was big trouble, and checks the forecast for her future.
The crowds begin streaming into the Evansville Auditorium and Convention Centre a couple of hours before the arrival of the “special guest speaker” at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner on a soft Indiana spring evening—nearly 2,200 people in the banquet hall, 800 more in an adjacent auditorium watching the proceedings on a live video feed.
Despite her disastrous performance in the 2008 election, Sarah Palin is still the sexiest brand in Republican politics, with a lucrative book contract for her story.
But what Alaska’s charismatic governor wants the public to know about herself doesn’t always jibe with reality.
An ad for Hahn Realty Corporation reads, “If you need commercial real estate, call Joe Kiefer!
Joe is pro-life and a proud supporter of the Vanderburgh County Right to Life.”As Palin makes her way slowly across the crowded ballroom—dressed all in black; no red Naughty Monkey Double Dare pumps tonight—she is stopped every few inches by adoring fans.
The menu is thick slices of roast pork and red velvet cake, washed down with pitchers of iced tea, and when Sarah Palin finally enters, escorted by a phalanx of sheriff’s deputies and local police, she is mobbed.
The organizers of the dinner, billed as “the largest pro-life banquet in the world,” have courted Palin for weeks with care packages of locally made chocolates, doughnuts, barbecue, and pastries, and she has requited by choosing Evansville, a conservative stronghold in southern Indiana, as the site of her first public speech outside Alaska in 2009. Nixon, who chose the coalfield town of Hyden, Kentucky, for his first post-resignation public appearance, Palin has come to a place where she is guaranteed a hero’s reception.