Opinion: Sarah Palin and her ‘One Nation’ bus tour, coming to a town near voters soon


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Sarah Palin, who admitted recently that she had the fire in the belly to run for president, now has a bus tour to go with it.

The Republican former governor, who wandered all over Alaska in a motorhome last year for her Discovery Channel reality series, will do the same starting Sunday at a biker rally in Washington.


According to Scott Conroy at, an essential daily read for politics fans, the tour will, of course, involve members of the Palin family and first focus on the Northeast. That’s a seemingly unlikely place for Republican political kickoffs, unless you can say ‘the first primary state of New Hampshire is a whole lot nicer in June than January.’

The trips could last for weeks and are guaranteed to attract many media trailing along in the bus exhaust fumes. Like the NASCAR race she attended last year, Sunday’s annual ...

... Memorial Day Rolling Thunder biker rally at the Pentagon and down the National Mall offers an ideal opportunity for the kind of handshaking, picture-posing, you-betcha retail politicking that Palin loves and is so good at. Among folks who like her. Remember, her last best-selling book was ‘America By Heart,’ not ‘A Blueprint With Diagrams and Fiscal Charts to Put America Back on the Road to Fiscal Responsibility and Into a Deep Sleep.’

As with her frequent statements on Facebook and Twitter, a bus tour also provides a direct route to the public free of ‘lamestream media’ filters that have been less than friendly to the unorthodox politician. And if that frustrates or annoys some of them accustomed to being catered to by pols, so much the better, in her eyes.

‘We’ll celebrate the good things that bring Americans together,’ Palin explains in a letter on her website (scroll down for full text).

‘I’ve said many times that America doesn’t need a ‘fundamental transformation,’ instead we need a restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America!’


Gee, who could she be referring to there?

You’ll never guess the colors of the Palin bus. In huge letters it has the closing Pledge of Allegiance line: ‘One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.’ Plus an image of the Declaration of Independence with the words ‘We the people.’

The tour obviously has two purposes: One, to get her name and image back on the scene as grumbling grows about the bland Republican field of candidates for 2012.

And two, to provide a kind of unofficial and unorthodoz exploratory tour, instead of exploratory committee, for a possible candidacy.

And if she decides to forgo a White House bid, she will have helped drive the debate issues toward her conservative values. And, oh look, fanned the flames of fame for the next book or speaking engagement. Win-win.

Because of her virtually unanimous name recognition (as opposed to favorability), Palin could start an actual campaign later than some GOP wannabes who need to rehab their image (Newt Gingrich) or create an image (Tim Pawlenty).

A distinct minority of Americans currently say they’d vote for Palin. But those who would, love her. And who do you think will show up at her stops and, thus, on the ensuing media coverage?

A fresh Gallup Poll finds Mitt Romney’s support among Republicans spans a range of issues, while Palin’s strength lies among those concerned over social and moral issues.


Noticeably absent from the tour material is any mention of an actual candidacy, which might endanger her lucrative commentating contract with Fox News, which has terminated contracts of other active GOP candidates, like the guy from Pennsylvania who got destroyed in his Senate reelect. So far so good, a Fox News spokesman says, no suspension for Palin.

Such a presentation can also, not coincidentally, seem to position Palin as speaking more for the majority of Americans concerned over the country’s direction, not a self-interested personal political campaign. Which it could become instantly if things jell by August.

As the always astute Chris Cillizza notes, Palin or her operatives have done virtually nothing detectable in key states to construct anything resembling a traditional primary campaign operation. Key word there: traditional.

Which Palin is not.

Something to remember too: The last three U.S. presidents have all been elected on their first try for the top job.

Here’s the full Palin letter:

Our nation is at a critical turning point. As we look to the future, we are propelled by America’s past. It’s imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward. A good way to do this is to appreciate the significance of our nation’s historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures, which we’ll do in the coming weeks on our ‘One Nation’ tour. We’ll celebrate the good things that bring Americans together; those things that will give us the needed strength to meet the heady challenges ahead. I’ve said many times that America doesn’t need a ‘fundamental transformation,’ instead we need a restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America! So, together let’s prepare ourselves for the days ahead by reminding ourselves who we are and what Americans stand for. We’ll celebrate the meaning of our nation’s blueprints, our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, which are the threads that weave our past into the fabric necessary for the survival of American exceptionalism. Our founders declared ‘we were born the heirs of freedom’, and despite our difficulties and disagreements, we remain one nation under God in freedom, indivisible. Through visits to historical sites and patriotic events, we’ll share the importance of America’s foundation. We encourage you to support the pro-America events we’ll be privileged to participate in during these coming weeks. Discover the ties that bind Americans, our history, our traditions, and the exceptional nature of our country!

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos, from top: Sarah Palin, ready to roll; Palin; Palin’s bus; Palin greets a fan in Carson City, Nev.; Palin thanks Denver police at a rally. Credits: Palin family friend; Joe Burbank/ Pool;; Associated Press; Jack Dempsey / Associated Press.