WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newt Gingrich was the keynote speaker at Monday night's fundraising dinner for the Senate and House Republican campaign committees, but it was Sarah Palin who stole the show.
The Alaska governor's last-minute appearance at the GOP's biggest fundraiser of the year ended 24 hours of speculation that the she might skip the event. A late attempt to have her speak at the dinner fell through when organizers feared she might upstage Gingrich, the onetime House speaker.
Hours before the event was slated to begin, an aide to Palin would not confirm that she would be attending. But when Palin and her husband, Todd, sauntered across the stage with Gingrich and his wife, Callista, shortly before the program commenced, their appearance was met with cheers from the audience of 2,000 party loyalists.
OK, on the face of it, not so bad, right? Even digging just a little bit further and realizing that Gingrich was the febrile ground in which the so-called "Permanent Republican Majority" withered and died, so why in the hell should he be anywhere near a podium speaking to Congressional candidates, yields little to mock.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin attended a monster Republican fundraiser after all, despite floating the possibility she wouldn't because she was uninvited to speak.
Which she didn't, it should be noted.
So you have the heir apparent to the conservative wing of the Republican party, Sarah Palin, who has enormous appeal in the more conservative and more economically predatory wing of the party, thrown under the bus to give a man who has no ideas, no vision, and no real power in the party.
You have the presumptive nominee for 2012, certainly the frontrunner, being pushed off the biggest fundraising stage in her brief national career for someone who is irrelevant and immaterial. Denied access to the networks that create a national candidacy, the ground troops and connections with local officials and fundraisers, she decided to show up anyway.
So the question is, is this her Scarlett O'Hara moment or her Donna Reed moment? That is, did she get all gussied up in her $1500 dress from Neiman-Marcus and make a spectacle of herself, or was this Palin getting back into the kitchen for the good of the patriarchy?
Given what we learned about her during the McCain campaign, my gut tells me she took Gingrich to the mess he left and stuffed his nose in it:
[Palin's] was the only table in the vast ballroom that had a crowd gathered around it -- and despite their distance from Palin's table, multiple television cameras kept their lenses trained on the governor for much of the night.
I think we have our answer.
(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)
Labels: Newt Gingrich, Republican Party, Sarah Palin