Sarah Palin is not running for president, but she is hijacking Memorial Day.
It was supposed to be a day to highlight the issues important to Rolling Thunder, a biker group that each year rides from the Pentagon, past the Vietnam Memorial, to the National Mall, to highlight the issue of POW/MIA troops from America’s various wars. Instead, Sunday was Sarah Palin Bus Tour day for the crush of media that descended on the National Mall.
In the lead-up to the event, a Rolling Thunder spokesman took pains to point out that Palin had not been invited to headline the event.
That didn’t matter.
The press fussed over Palin’s media plans, and what her camp’s confused press relations said about her ability to run for president (which she isn’t); then they fussed over her, as she and her husband and two of their kids, including “Dancing with the Stars” alum Bristol, jaunted to the front of the line, annoying some Rolling Thunder riders. The Fix documents:
Palin’s arrival at the event around 11:30 a.m. caused a huge commotion that event organizers struggled to contain. Photographers swarmed her; young men in suits hung around the press pack asking Palin to sign copies of her books. Rolling Thunder security yelled at press and fans not to touch the expensive bikes.
“I’m very not appreciative of the way she came in here,” Ted Shpak, Rolling Thunder’s national legislative director, said of Palin’s arrival. The former governor came in the front of the Pentagon’s north parking lot, where event staff and press were assembled. “If she wanted to come on the ride, she should have come in the back.”
The ride goes from the Pentagon, past the Vietnam Memorial, to the National Mall. From there, Palin plans to head to the National Archives to see the Constitution. It’s the beginning of a week-long tour of historic sites in the Northeast.
But many riders said politics has no place in the event.
“It intimidates our people if we’re pro or con any particular candidate,” said Wayne Kirkpatrick, chairman of the board of an Illinois chapter of Rolling Thunder. “And until national says there’s a candidate we’re and supporting them, we don’t want to feel because the president of this chapter is pro-tea party, ‘Gee, I have to be our else I better get out of this organization.”
While many riders said they were fans of Palin, they still did not want her to bring politics to the ride. “Don’t come here and try to make a political point out of it,” said Joe Clark of Pennsylvania. “If she’s just here backing the cause of the entire run, that’s fine. If she’s just trying to get votes, she should just stay out of it.”
But “staying out of it” is just not Sarah’s style. And the “lamestream media,” who in theory, Sarah loathes, is only too happy to accommodate her, as they waste copious amounts of airtime asking John McCain, over and over again, if she could beat Barack Obama. The Sunday headlines were fast and furious:
She caused a stir (CBS)! Cillizza’s wrong, the bikers adored her! (that one from ABC, of course, even though the actual quotes in their article indicate riders were happy for the publicity, from Palin or anyone else, and that they would have been just as happy to see President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden attend their event…) She didn’t say anything about running for president so let’s talk about her running for president (NPR)! She’s a “motorcycle mama” (AFP)!!!
Looks like the myth-making her former aide (and now tell-all author) has been talking about in media interviews, hasn’t watered down a bit. And you can only imagine how the fresh stock of Palin in leather on the back of a motorcycle pictures are gonna restock the the fantasies of lonely wingers over the long holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, she’s still not running for president. Need evidence? Look no further than Fox News’ own website, where they wouldn’t be reporting on media speculation about a possible Sarah Palin run for president, if their co-worker were um … actually running for president. If she was, she would have already been let go by Fox News (as Lawrence O’Donnell has correctly and repeatedly pointed out on his show on MSNBC.)
UPDATE: The photos are out, as is the inevitable caption contest