Lost in the shuffle of prominent Democrats announcing that they will be skipping the Democratic National Convention is the fact that the Republicans have neglected to invite Sarah Palin to their convention in Tampa.
It’s hard to remember a more precipitous decline in political fortunes than the crash Sarah Palin has endured since resigning as Governor of Alaska in 2009. The one-time GOP darling and reality TV star is now waiting by her phone to be asked to the Republican Prom while Mitt Romney and his staff seem reluctant to let her anywhere near a camera.
Sarah Palin is
accepting the decision of her party and respectfully staying away in the name of party unity openly renting space in Tampa and threatening to hold a counter convention, presumably bashing Romney as a RINO and calling upon her remaining political capital with the Tea Party to turn on Romney for his betrayal.
The question is whether or not Romney and his strategists are worried about Palin having an open mike in Tampa. While the bulk of media attention will focus on events inside the Convention, a few choice sound bites, amplified by an opportunistic media smelling a “trouble in paradise” storyline could overshadow the convention. If Ron Paul delegates also openly clash with the mainstream Republicans in meetings forging the national platform, the Tampa convention could rival the 1968 Democratic convention in showing America a fractured, rudderless political party — except with less rioting in the streets.
On the flip side, Romney may believe that the Sarah Palin star has fallen so far that her empty counter convention will prove that there is no grassroots opposition to his candidacy. It’s an interesting game of messaging chicken that will play out between now and the convention. And if Romney ultimately invites Palin to the convention, it shows that he has concluded that he has serious trouble with his base.