After skipping the popular Conservative Political Action Conference for the past three years, Sarah Palin has once again turned down the invitation of CPAC officials to address the conference this year.Officially, a "scheduling issue" prevents Palin from attending this year's conference.
CPAC organizers invited Palin to deliver the closing-night keynote speech on Saturday Feb. 12, immediately following the announcement of the results of CPAC’s annual presidential straw poll, but after several days of negotiations, she declined. ...
2011 will mark the fourth year that Palin hasn't appeared. Last year, Palin stayed away from the conference, citing what she considered inappropriate business dealings between the American Conservative Union (ACU) and David Keene. (CPAC is a project of the ACU's foundation (the American Conservative Union Foundation) and is its largest annual conference. David Keene is Chairman of the ACU.) In 2009, Palin accepted an invitation to speak, but dropped out. In 2008, Palin dropped out at "the last minute."
This year, the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation are boycotting the conference, because GOProud, a gay conservative organization, is participating.
Why won't Sarah Palin go to CPAC? Perhaps there isn't a speaking fee. Or, perhaps she's not ready to face the fact that she's like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in some respects; Beck delievered CPAC's keynote last year; Limbaugh delivered 2009's. Perhaps Palin's failure to appear is an expression of solidarity with the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation. Whatever the reason, she's missing the party: Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and John Thune, all of whom are being talked about as the Republican nominee in 2012, will be there.
Update: Politico's Ben Smith noted that SarahPAC will have a presence at the conference, so, he thinks, Palin isn't aligning herself with those boycotting because GOProud is participating; rather, Smith cites Palin's past feuding with David Keene.
Politico's Andy Barr wrote a story last year, about last year's CPAC, "Palin rebuffs CPAC, Keene," which may provide some more insight about the feud between Palin and Keene:
... Keene has criticized Palin in the conservative press, telling Newsmax in July that she was "whining" about her press coverage and was not yet ready for primetime.
"Conservatives like her, but you've got to have more than that," Keene told the outlet. "You've got to be more than a rock star. If in fact she's interested in the presidency, she has got to establish herself as someone you can envision in the Oval Office. And it's become more difficult to envision than it was at the time of the election." ...
Update: CNN's Political Ticker noted: "Palin declined similar invitations from the group in 2010 and 2009. But the decision to skip the event this year will be treated with fresh scrutiny in light of the fact she has expressed interest in running for president and nearly every other likely 2012 candidate will be there ... ."
Update: NY Times' The Caucus blog has a post, here.
Update: In "Why Palin snubbed CPAC," Politico's Andy Barr adds the boycott to Palin's feud with Keene to explain why Palin is a no-show.
Update: The Washington Post's Right Turn column is becoming skeptical about Palin.