John Ziegler Turns On Sarah Palin

John Ziegler Turns On Sarah Palin

John Ziegler has spent the last few years acting as an unappointed Sarah Palin spokesman/fan boy. Apparently, he’s decided that there’s more profit to be made as an ex-unappointed Sarah Palin spokesman/fan boy because he wrote a negative piece about her for the Daily Caller.

Last night, someone asked me if it was a “hatchet job” on Palin. Although it’s not positive overall, it doesn’t quite reach that level in my opinion. Ziegler does say some nice things, he really doesn’t add much new information, and the big bombshell is…..he doesn’t think she could win in 2012.

Here are a few relevant excerpts.

At this point, Sarah and I had met only once, but we were already developing a bizarre relationship. Over the almost three years that followed, we would often act like friends–while at other times she would act like she barely knew me.

…Now, with Sarah’s bus tour of historic sites seemingly completed, and the biggest decision of her life directly in front of her, I wish her the best–I genuinely do. Without a doubt, she’s been subjected to the most biased media coverage in modern political history; enough to leave even the most thick-skinned of candidates shivering in the fetal position on the side of the road. Instead, she’s survived and, in many ways, prospered. For that, I will always respect and admire her. Everyone should.

…But in spite of being approached by Sarah’s husband Todd only a month ago and specifically discussing the possibility, I won’t be working on any Palin presidential campaign (Hawkins note: Color me dubious on this). Why? Well, first of all, contrary to what geniuses like Andrew Sullivan and Howard Dean may want you to believe, there is absolutely no way that she can be elected. I’ve told this to her directly; more than once. While many pundits mistakenly think what she is doing is some Trump-like PR stunt, I’m pretty convinced she is running and in doing so will damage the prospects of any conservative defeating Barack Obama in 2012.

These aren’t my only concerns.

There’s also the fact that Sarah’s entire operation is increasingly managed like a CIA field office; that she’s adopted a bunker mentality; that she’s trusting the wrong people, some of whom I know are simply exploiting her. As a result, even those most loyal to her get tossed under the bus, with little or no effort to avoid the collateral damage. Which raises the question: if people like me who would once have taken a bullet for Sarah (and at least figuratively I did many times) can’t get behind her any more, what the hell happened?

…From then on, our strange relationship took many twists and turns. I screened my film up in Anchorage (Todd showed up, along with Sarah’s father and brother). I became easily her most visible defender in the national press. I even staged a one-man “protest” at the University of Southern California, where the CBS anchor Katie Couric was being given the Walter Cronkite Journalism award for ‘National Impact on the 2008 presidential campaign.’ She received the honor seemingly for the feat of asking Sarah, ‘Which newspapers do you read?’ (Sarah thought she was being trapped, but was too polite to say so, so she dodged the question, and was crucified for it.) While Couric got the award inside, I was being physically restrained and handcuffed outside for supposedly trespassing on an open campus.

In fact, I was simply attempting to give away copies of my own, far more truthful Palin interview to audience members–which may have created a brand new level in the definition of irony. The LAPD gave me the option of leaving or being charged, so I left.

Todd called me later to ask if I was okay, which I thought was nice of him. He’s clearly a tough guy, someone you’d definitely want with you if you got lost in the Alaskan wilderness, but underneath that, he seems like a gentle soul and a great husband. In fact, when we last spoke, he was asking me how I was paying the bills while going out to bat for Sarah, and I told him that I was lucky to have a wife who worked as a school teacher. “So… you’re just like me,” he said. He was joking–I think. Whatever, it takes balls to admit you’re a kept man.

…My relationship with Sarah hit another pothole early in 2010 when I advised her via e-mail that her upcoming speech to the Tea Party Convention in Nashville was creating controversy because the event was both expensive and for-profit.

She forwarded my message to her team, apparently forgetting to delete my address, with the comment, “If I have to suffer thru Ziegler’s e-mails, we ALL have to suffer thru.” Wow, that was a punch in the gut. Less than four minutes later, a panicked follow-up pinged into my Blackberry’s inbox: “John–pls [sic] know that was a joke! . . . you’re [sic] advice is very good, we have announced I will not be financially gaining from the speech, we need to get that word out there.” In other words, she’d acted on the message, but also made sure to take a pot shot at the messenger of bad news.

…Exasperated by the whole sorry situation, I sent Sarah and Todd an e-mail (which in retrospect was overly dramatic and really kind of silly) telling them that they obviously didn’t value my participation, so maybe it was best if we went our separate ways. Predictably, I got no response and we stopped all communication for several months.

The freeze between us didn’t last long, though. That autumn, Media Malpractice was re-released on video-on demand. Sarah and I posed for photographs together in San Diego to use for publicity, she Tweeted/Facebooked about it, and re-endorsed the film on radio. My loyalty to her was largely instantly regenerated.

I returned to writing columns on her behalf, still trying to correct the historical record about what really happened in 2008. In early May, I got the random call from Todd, apparently sounding me out about working on a potential campaign for Sarah (though I rarely knew for sure why Todd was really calling). By then, I’d already become convinced that she was actually going to run in 2012, so the conversation simply removed most of the remaining doubt. I actually considered it for a while as a Barry Goldwater-type campaign seemed fun–until I was reminded of all the frustrations that had been building since I was first jerked around by Sarah’s split-personality advisers back in 2008.

…Finally, as one last straw, Palin’s lawyer kept bugging me about sending him the “release” Sarah had signed for the movie, even though I had faxed it to her people at the time and I told him it was in remote storage because I had just moved. It seemed the only possible reason to even ask more than once about such a trivial issue was if they were somehow contemplating trying to make me the enemy, which was particularly aggravating because at virtually the same time I was going above and beyond the call of duty to help the new Palin film successfully navigate a potentially fatal legal issue. Regardless, it was insulting and clear that my loyalty meant very little to them. I was done. I could not longer work on behalf these people, no matter how good the Palins may be as or how clearly they have been wronged by the media.

First of all, let me just note that I consider John Ziegler to be a bit of a crackpot.

There are two reasons for that. The first is this dating show video that Ziegler appeared in.

Ziegler is insufferable in it and this line really stands out (Who would say this on a date even if he meant it?)

“See, I’ve never been married. One of the many reasons is, I think if we’re going to live in the real world, the marriage contract should be like every other contract, it should have a certain duration and be renewable. The only reason women would never go for it is that, as you get older, you lose power in the relationship because [men] become more distinguished [but women] get older and by the time we’re in our 40s, the power’s completely shifted . . .”

Then there was Ziegler’s debacle at Western CPAC.

The balance of the official interview is comprised of Ziegler trying to get Keene to account for comments that Sarah Palin “whined” about media coverage, and that she “bailed” on her post as Alaska Governor. Keene largely sticks to his guns, saying that he respects Palin, but that she mishandled the press and her resignation.

Then, Ziegler asks Keene who paid him to trash Palin, a reference to the Politico story that detailed the ACU’s solicitation of around $3 million from FedEx to support their position on pending legislation. FedEx didn’t pay, and shortly thereafter, ACU endorsed FedEx rival UPS’s position, creating the strong impression that ACU’s opinion was for sale. Keene says that his position on the legislation was consistent.

After defending the point for a few minutes, Keene gets up and tries to end the interview. Ziegler follows Keene, continuing to question him about the FedEx incident and his support for Arlen Specter. Keene becomes agitated and tries to grab Ziegler’s mic away from him.

Ziegler sticks with him for a good 5 minutes more after that, even as Keene calls him a “scumbag,” tells him “I’m not going to hit you, but I’d like to,” then says, “You’re an @sshole. Got that on the air? @sshole!”

Keene then ducks into a speaking event. leaving Ziegler to heckle him from just outside the room by offering him $20 to write a pro-Palin op-ed.

Ziegler’s speaking spot is then canceled, and he is told he’s being expelled from the conference.

Although I agree that Keene’s behavior in the UPS vs. FedEx issue was VERY shady, Ziegler was such an over-the-top creep at the conference that he came across as mentally ill and nearly got arrested. (I wasn’t there personally, but I was updated soon thereafter, by friends who attended, on his unhinged behavior.)

Setting all that aside, the impression I get from Ziegler’s own column at the Daily Caller is that he has worn out his welcome with the Palins, that the gravy train is about to come to an end, and so he decided to attack her to try to get some more attention for humself. Now, because he wrote this column, he can AT LEAST get a week or two of coverage from liberal mags who want a Palin biographer to say negative things about her. If he’s lucky, maybe even Sarah Palin will tell “her side of the story,” and that’ll give him an excuse to be even nastier. Who knows? Maybe he can even turn this into a long-term gig and guest appearances at MSNBC out of it?

Long story short, even if it isn’t quite a hit piece, writing a column like this for the Daily Caller is still a no-class move from a flake who probably wasn’t motivated by anything more than a desire to keep his name in the news. All in all, a negative article in the Daily Caller is probably a price worth paying for the Palins to get rid of him.

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