The news that Sarah Palin will no longer be a paid contributor to Fox News puts an exclamation point on the end of an era, or at least a chapter, in U.S. political history. She could land somewhere else, and she still has her Facebook friends, but it’s hard to imagine she’ll find a more visible or influential platform than Fox.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee has been fading from the scene for some time, as she inadvertently highlighted when she complained on Facebook during the Republican convention in August that the network had canceled her scheduled interviews that night. Her brother, Chuck Heath Jr., told Alan Colmes last week on Fox Radio that his sister is “kind of laying low right now,” though he wouldn’t or couldn’t say when asked why.
Once the face of an energetic and politically potent Tea Party movement, Palin is leaving Fox at a time when polls show the Tea Party at an all-time low in both membership and favorability. Her departure also coincides with calls by some leading Republicans for their party to stop saying things that erode the GOP brand and turn off voters in droves.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said bluntly this week at a Republican National Committee meeting in Charlotte that the GOP needs to stop being “the stupid party,” and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he agreed. The two were talking in particular about losing Senate candidates Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana, both of whom made inflammatory (and in Akin’s case, flagrantly ignorant) comments about rape.