Did Palin Mislead With Fiorina Endorsement, Or Was She Misled?

May 8, 2010

Chuck DeVore has responded at RedState to Sarah Palin's endorsement of Carly Fiorina.

I like Sarah Palin. I think highly of her. But she got this dead wrong.

Unfortunately, there's a nagging question given Palin's endorsement that deserves an answer, though I won't be surprised if it doesn't get one. Palin wrote of Carly:

She grew up in a modest home with a school teacher dad….

Well, that's all down home and folksy enough. The problem is, it simply isn't true. It creates a problem of authenticity. At least, I believe it should. But the question is, for whom?

Fiorina was born as Cara Carleton Sneed in Austin, Texas, the daughter of Joseph Tyree Sneed III, a law school professor, dean, and federal judge, and Madelon Montross (née Juergens), a portrait and abstract artist.

That's not really school teacher dad-ish, in my opinion. It's terribly imprecise, at best. So, did Carly's people write the endorsement to try and capture some of Palin's down home cred, in essence misleading her? Or, does Palin believe she can simply confer it upon whomever she wishes when it suits? Or, did she simply not do her homework? I can't honestly say.

No doubt many of her fans might argue, well, professor, dean, judge, teacher Dad, what's the big deal? As a writer/blogger words mean things to me. And when people throw them around incorrectly, or carelessly, especially when trying to evoke a certain emotional response on an important matter, it gives me pause as to how much stock I can put in their words in the future.

As Palin has mainly relied upon her emotional appeal up to this point, I believe her authenticity matters, perhaps even more so than with some others. The fact is, neither Palin's use of Commonsense Conservative, nor school teacher dad are authentic as applied to Carly. So, even if I was willing to accept her Fiorina endorsement as a pragmatic, or perhaps prudent choice, it's lack of authenticity troubles me a great deal in terms of how I now view her.

As for DeVore, who, full disclosure, I previously interviewed and endorsed -  again, you can read his response here.

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  1. Sissy Willis says:

    Authenticity was always the big one for me. Loved her from Day One, but now there’s the overexposure thing. The squeaky voice begins to wear on the nerves. Plus. I found myself “bone-tired” listening to her maunder on about the Establishment Clause the other night on Hannity.

  2. Fuzzy says:

    I’m of two minds on this Palin endorsement (and agree that it raises some questions about her). On the one hand, it’s simply not true that DeVore “can’t win” the primary, of course he can. If Scott Brown can win against an even less conservative opponent in the MA republican primary, so can DeVore (though I hear his campaign may be flailing a little?). Second, if Palin’s logic holds (that there is simply not a large enough true conservative base for DeVore to win the primary) then her endorsement is meaningless. She’s still seen by most as a “hard core” conservative, so her endorsement would actually undermine her endorsement.

  3. Neo says:

    I’ve watched Carly Fiorina since we both worked at Lucent Technologies; mind you at different ends of the company.
    While I can’t say any really bad things about her, I have always had an uneasy feeling. She was at Lucent when the “management,” that she was part of, sucked in future sales until they created a vacuum that became part of the “dot com bust.” Repeated again with “Cash for Clunkers” last year & the “First Home Tax Credit” this year, which did the much the same thing to auto & home sales.

  4. section9 says:

    I will say this about DeVore, which I suspect is why Palin moved her chips to Fiorina.
    Nice guy, never stole a freight train, but after a year on the trail, he can’t break 15%. That should tell you that the California primary electorate wants Campbell or Fiorina.
    Sorry kids. Palin is right on this one. DeVore is the Second Coming of Tom McClintock. You just don’t want to see that. Palin has the gift of refusing to let sentiment get in the way of good sense.

  5. jane says:

    Sheesh Dan, nitpick much? At what level does one become an academic and stop being a teacher? Are you only a teacher if your students are in grade school? What about high school? Community college? University? Or did the man leap from student directly to Dean?

  6. KingShamus says:

    No, Riehl is right.
    “School teacher dad” is a little different than college professor.
    It’s not a huge deal, but it is something to note.

  7. brooklyn says:

    Mrs. Palin expressed a focus of concern, playing the image game which is far from reality. It is apart of the Palin Celebrity, which is largely based on image, and placating what she feels American Conservatives find attractive. The class warfare is not overt, but the attempt to portray a working class, middle class background is apparent. It reflects the current fashion of those who are thrilled with Mrs. Palin because of accent, geography, religious, etc., aspects which create “identity”.
    In this case, Mrs. Palin reveals again a bit of the swindle. She is not corrupt, but clearly leans on these image aspects to sell politics. It is fashion. Like Fred Thompson driving a truck during a campaign. The Fred Head devotion grew out of image, had actually ignored the record, basis, reality.
    We see a lot of fashion sadly amongst the best – who used to be about the basis. WFB had it right, and this game of ‘we the regular people’ vs. the ‘blue bloods’ is ugly – far from sound conservatism, which embraces all, including the successful.
    Chris Christie is a prime example of where the fashion is lost. An East Coast Blue State Republican that was not the favored in the Primary by the ‘pure conservative fashion’. He proves he is the most outstanding conservative leader in a Democratic Partisan disaster State. But he doesn’t fit the image many seek in finding the ‘ideal’ conservative. It is all about appearance unfortunately, and many Conservative Pundits on the sidelines have aided to the growing fashion.
    No doubt RINOS are a disaster, but we will always have opportunists and fashion followers in any Political Party. The reality is however, the failure to stick to the record, basis, etc., the blowing with the winds, has hurt our own interests. We even see today, many Conservative Pundits are stuck on a fashionable negative conception about the prior Republican Effort – including the Bush Administration. They failed to be objective about the positives. They grew reactionary and actually weakened their own interests, all of our interests, and what is best for this Nation. They actually encouraged the very worst, taking about “laying down” for the disastrous likes of Pelosi and Reid. Thus giving rise to the mindless Maverick offering.
    But the facts never change. In reality, the fine Mrs. Palin grew in politics as a moderate reformer, much like the Maverick, providing tax increases on Oil Companies and Climate Panel bureaucracy in Alaska. The conservative ‘superhero’ is image. And the endless hype and over inflation, was predictably going to let many down in the long run.

  8. Blown Up Bomb says:

    Well, when Palin is proven right, will you and brooklyn get behind her, or will you snipe from the rooftops?
    DeVore is a nice guy, but he cannot and will not win. He’s too much of a idiot to win. He can’t even break 15%. That’s a problem. BIG time.
    Palin is looking at numbers. And “school teacher” does include professors. I should know, I am one.

  9. Dave in Alaska says:

    Blown Up Bomb…I do not think you will see any movement by the “snipers”, they like to shoot from concealment..no danger there..just keep firing, hoping to inflict a grievous wound and take none of the blame…

  10. leilani says:

    Section9 is right – Chuck’s wonderful but even though he’s enjoyed a nice long reign as the huckleberry for conservatives all these many months, he still hasn’t managed to draw in much money at all, he’s burned through what little he’s got (last I read he was 100k in the hole) and now we’ve got the very scary spectre of Tom Campbell looming down upon us all.
    Worried about getting saddled with a RINO, people? There’s the guy you’re going to end up with if Fiorina & DeVore split the conservative vote. And while it’s true that anybody is better than Boxer, even Chuck’s hardest core, most vehemently RINO-reviling fans have to admit Fiorina would offer a better net return to conservatism than Campbell in that seat.
    Remember, this is the same electorate which has delivered Boxer & DiFi to the Senate for decades and has grown progressively more liberal since the glory days of Ronald Reagan. We’ve got to at least TRY to be halfway realistic about the most rightward candidate who has the better odds of squeaking across the final finish line in that race and I think, at this point, whatever any of these candidates’ Dads did for their respective livings is probably not the most salient criterion California Republicans should be contemplating when they vote in their primary.

  11. Wow… can conservatives asroturf too, BUB?
    If anybody wants to hear the “idiot” talk and decide for themselves, go here:
    and here:

  12. leilani says:

    Blown Up Bomb said: “And “school teacher” does include professors. I should know, I am one.”
    I can provide backup confirmation for that, albeit of the second-hand sort. Before she went into the corporate world, my mom was for many years a university prof (mathematics & physics)and I can vouch for the fact that yes, she was a “teacher” who did indeed go to a “school” every day to do her job when I was growing up.
    There’s really not much of a difference between teaching seventeen year olds in high school and ones who are a bit older,ya know, except for maybe the $amount stamped on each teacher’s respective paycheck & perhaps the amount of ivy he or she is required to dodge in order to get into the classroom building.
    Even after she left academia for the bigger bucks in the software business, I always thought of my mom as a teacher – still do, as a matter of fact, even though she’s essentially retired from everything now except the grandma biz. ;-)

  13. montee says:

    I am more bothered by whether Boxer get another chance to pass burdensome climate change legislation if she is re-elected, than whether dean/professor equates to school teacher or Palin’s authenticity or occassional lack of it. The bigger picture is that come November, we need to get as many seats off the Dems as possible cause it might too late come 2012. Right now so long as Palin, Romney, Gingrich, Barbour, Steele, hell even Scozzafava remain a net positive in the efforts to produce a strong result come November, then I am not going to much time nit-picking minor flaws and differences. The time for that debate can come later.

  14. Log says:

    I think a college professor could be described as a school teacher. I don’t see it as misleading.

  15. Gary says:

    Reading all this I find myself siding with Palin’s decision. But I wonder about the wisdom of her getting into this at all, which I assume was at the behest of, or at least approval of, Carly. Is a Palin endorsement really helpful in generally liberal Calif.? Perhaps in the primary, but what of the general?
    I think most of us Palin supporters here wish she would tone down the down-home a bit and tone-up the substance a lot. Problem is I guess, most of us are also wondering to what degree she’s capable of that. Here’s hoping she surprises us still yet, but it may be that she’s settled on a relatively short-term celebrity stint and that’ll be it.
    She’s still got more common sense in the tip of her little finger than Obama and co. have in their entire body. She’d never in a million years go down the collectivist paths they have. But you have to convince the people you’re substanative; or at least fake it like Obama did.

  16. steve says:

    I’m with Dan on this one. The use of the term “schoolteacher” dad is clearly meant to be convey a sense of modest means, sitting around the kitchen table grading papers, rocking the baby in the cradle in the corner. If you check Fiorina’s bio against her dad’s, you’ll find he was a full professor at U of TX by 1954, when she was born. By the time she was still in high school, he was Dean at the Duke law school. Don’t know the exact pay scale, but pretty sure that law professors get paid on par with regular lawyers (it’s a supply and demand thing), so it doesn’t exactly support the image of a hard-scrabble childhood.

  17. astonerii says:

    Carly Fiorina no matter her circumstances growing up is a progressive liberal who knew the republicans had a chance to win and chose sides accordingly. She believes that that the first and foremost criteria for promotion is is skin color or gender, and that tells you all you need to know about her. It is not something she talks about, but something she acts out about. Thus, she is not a conservative.

  18. leilani says:

    For those who are interested, California ProLife (like the national pro-life group, the Susan B Anthony List before them) just endorsed Fiorina and has posted a great explanation which touches on a lot of the issues mentioned here by commenters & lays out their reasoning for going with her intead of Chuck even though they consider Chuck to be a highly valued friend to their cause too.
    It’s worth a read for those who still might not understand why Palin (& a lot of other conservatives) have chosen to go all-in with Carly at this stage of the game.

  19. BradSchwartze says:

    “Well, that’s all down home and folksy enough. The problem is, it simply isn’t true. It creates a problem of authenticity. At least, I believe it should. But the question is, for whom? ”
    Dan, as long as Sarah Palin is able to CONTROL her media image, and continues to get media coverage as a result, there will not be a problem with “authenticity.” Palin’s whole media empire (if one call call it that) is a result of lessons learned from the experience of being forced to take someone else’s directions on how to handle her image.

  20. unseen says:

    Not true? Is a college professor not a school teacher? It is not untrue. It’s what is called spin. Every politican I guess except Palin is allowed to use spin now. I see. T
    his was the liberal way during the election of 2008. They refused to allow Palin any type of retorical language. This is the same as her “death panel” comment. Yes there was no phase “death panel” in the bill. yet the term was correct.
    Trying to say a college professor is not a school teacher is beyond stupid Dan. everyone of my college professor’s taught class.
    Dan your double standard is plain for all to see when it comes to Palin.

  21. unseen says:

    Palin does not have a “media empire” She has a politcal organization. this politcal organization does what every other politcal organization does. It promotes the candidate in the best light possible. Schedules her appearances and speeches etc. I suppose that Mitt has a media empire or that Tpaw has a media empire.
    Both appear on FOx, both tour the country giving speeches, both have consultants to craft their public image. Both have advisors.
    Why is Palin’s called a “media empire” and theirs are called a Politcal organization?
    the reason is that people like Dan wants to craft an image of Palin as nonpolitical as possible to get people to believe she is not running for higher office and thus not to invest time and money into her future.
    It is a double standard. One that Palin faces at every turn. And it is begining to get very old.
    Be it using the term quit instead of resign.
    Celeberity instead of Political figure
    media empire instead of politcal organization
    persoanl wealth instead of a politcal warchest
    cult instead of supporters
    whatever the issue her enemies seek to brand her with the most unflattering, nonpolitical term possible . Since Dan does this on a reg basis he has proven he is her enemy. Sure he denies it says he “personally” likes her so that he is not attacked but his choice of words tells the tale.
    As Rush says words mean things. And the words that Palin’s enemies use to describe her and the words and phrases they do not allow her to use to describe stuff mean things also.

  22. Huey says:

    Good gosh, Dan.
    Law School = school.
    Professor = teacher.
    Good gosh almighty.

  23. “As Rush says words mean things. And the words that Palin’s enemies use to describe her and the words and phrases they do not allow her to use to describe stuff mean things also.”
    With all respect, Unseen, I think I have to side with Dan on this one.
    “Modest home with a school teacher dad” appears to be an attempt by Der Sarahcuda to portray Carly Fiorina as a golly-gee-whiz, downhome, grassroots type of candidate. But if Carly’s dad was, indeed, a law school professor, that (to me, anyway) is a step or two about “school teacher dad”. The imagery simply doesn’t fit.
    Which is confusing, because what’s wrong with being the daughter of a law school professor? Unless, of course, it’s the grassroots you’re trying to impress.
    I remain a Sarah Palin fan, but this gets a sideways-look-with-a-raised-eyebrow from me.

  24. Oops.
    “about” s/b “above”.
    And I was wearing my glasses, too. (sigh) Crud.

  25. the405 says:

    I believe her authenticity matters, perhaps even more so than with some others.
    Yes! Over the past 5 months her “authenticity” has taken some pretty hard hits. Just look at what has happened since Jan. 1st 2010.
    – Taking 100K to speak at the NTPC (and event where the orgainzers are now being sued by their investors) and being very evasive about the money.
    – Sunbbing and insulting CPAC attendees
    – Endorsing Rand Paul in the KY senate primary
    – Endorsing John McCain (the ultimate insider) in AZ primary
    – Endorsing a McCain crony in CA senate primary
    Individually these events are do not cause much damage to her “authenticity” but when you add them all up they are very damaging. Even more so when you realize that most of them were avoidable and they have occurred in a span of 5 months.
    I mean there was no reason for her to endorse Carly in the primary unless she realized that Carly is in trouble and might lose to DeVore or Campbell. Not endorsing Carly and then watching her lose would mean Palin would have a hard time luring in a powerful fundraiser for any future campaign run. See even if Carly loses Palin still is on good terms with her (and gets her fund raising apparatus for the future.)
    Even more so there have been numerous times (even as late as 2009) where Carly was not all that supportive of Palin. So it makes this endorsement even more odd.
    But when Palin is willing to put “pocketbook over policy” you’d be amazed were she ends up.

  26. BradSchwartze says:

    One of these days, we’re going to wean you off this hard-wired “double-standard” detector you have. While it’s perfectly understandable, even justifiable, why the double-standard detector exists, it also prevents you from seeing statements that are PRAISING Sarah Palin’s considerable media abilities.
    Trust me; Mitt Romney has NOTHING on the media front that compares to what Sarah has.