Sarah Palin may not be running for anything, and she hasn’t been invited (yet) to speak at the Republican National Convention, but she still managed to generate political headlines this weekend.
With Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection announcement just around the corner, former Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News in an interview excerpted Sunday on “This Week” that John McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate in 2008 was “a mistake.”
That critique set off an instant spasm of counter-critiques among Palinistas, many of whom had worked hard to persuade her to run for the GOP presidential nomination this year.
Palin’s supporters were further inflamed when the piece of music that CNN used Sunday to introduce its segment on Cheney’s remarks was the Pink song “Stupid Girls.”
Usually, Palin needs no assistance when it comes to capturing the political spotlight. She demonstrated this Friday, wading into a controversy du jour with an ad-libbed line at the end of a speech in Texas in support of U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz, the insurgent candidate who is taking on state Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in what has become a nasty run-off election.
At the end of her remarks in The Woodlands, an upscale suburb of Houston, the former Alaska governor and reality show matriarch alluded to a controversy over gay marriage that has enveloped the Chick-fil-A fast food chain. “Jason, you’re going to have to take me on our way back to the airport later,” she told her longtime aide, Jason Recher, according to Politico.
“We drive by a Chick-fil-A. We don’t have that in Alaska. Love me some Chick-fil-A. So we’ll go there, Jason, on the way, OK?” The crowd erupted in cheers.
Palin was referring not so subtly to the political fallout after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said his chain was “guilty as charged” of supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.” (In mid-July, according to a CNN chronology of the controversy, Cathy gave an interview to an online Baptist journal in North Carolina that was picked up by the Baptist Press. “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy told the publication. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”)
As word spread, mostly on social media, protests began.
The Jim Henson Co., creator of the Muppets, announced it would sever a deal it had with Chick-fil-A to make toys for children’s meals. Local politicians in a few blue-state cities said Chick-fil-A was not welcome. Nearly 6,000 people signed an online petition vowing to boycott Chick-fil-A for its stance on gay marriage (and its financial support of some groups opposed to the practice). The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has urged its supporters to make their feelings known in a same-sex kiss-in at Chick-fil-A’s across the country on Friday.
A counter-protest took shape: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has urged people to make Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who held many events at Chick-fil-A locations during his presidential campaign, urged his Facebook followers to patronize the chain: “Help us fight for traditional families and eat chicken at the same time.”
And Palin did end up getting some of that chicken on her way out of Texas.
On Friday, she tweeted a photo of herself with her husband, Todd, in a Chick-fil-A, holding bags of food and making a thumbs-up gesture.