Although she lost the election, Sarah Palin has certainly come out ahead. ABC News reported Tuesday that the governor turned media star had raked in more than $12 million since July from various speaking engagements, television contracts, and her book, Going Rogue. Several hours later, California state Sen. Leland Yee revealed pages believed to be from Palin’s speech contract with the California State University’s Stanislaus Foundation (where Palin will speak at a gala this summer) that were found in a Dumpster by several students. Palin’s high cost, and her high demands, have concerned lawmakers in a state struggling with sweeping budget cuts.
Among Palin’s requests: business or first-class commercial airfare or a private plane (a Lear 60 jet, or bigger), and “two unopened bottles of still water and ‘bendable straws’ must be waiting on a wooden lectern.” Palin’s speech is reported to cost the foundation about $75,000—less than her usual reported $100,000 fee.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin portrayed herself as the Everywoman, "an average hockey mom." She was just like us, she told her growing supporters, and she—not elitist, celebrity, Washington-insider Barack Obama—understood our daily struggles. Her new Fox News show, Real American Stories, continues this act, as will her upcoming TLC show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, for which she is reported to earn about $250,000 an episode.
As everyday Americans struggle to make payments on their mortgage and unemployment hovers at 9.7 percent, Palin is looking an awful lot like the elitists she’s built her brand railing against. She even quit her $125,000 public-servant position as governor to bring in more cash. That move paid off, but if she’s seriously considering a presidential bid, she’ll have to come up with some new talking points to use against an incumbent president.
With more than $12 million in the bank and a slew of speaking engagements, and more speculation than ever, she’s become more of a celebrity than Obama. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if she runs, she’ll have a hard time selling herself again as just another middle-class hockey mom.