Sarah Palin roars off into mysterious bus tour
By admin - Mon May 30, 1:11 pm
Palin, the former governor of Alaska, let the anticipation build for hours Sunday in the Pentagon’s North Parking Lot, where thousands of bikers (and their rumbling Harleys) had gathered for the annual Rolling Thunder rally ahead of Memorial Day.
And then, suddenly, there she was: Palin, with her husband, Todd, and the rest of the family. Wearing matching black Harley-Davidson helmets, they rode motorcycles toward the front of the procession through a crush of cameramen, photographers, reporters and leather-clad bikers, all jostling for a peek at the woman who might run for president.
A traditional political appearance it was not. She did not make any public remarks or shake hands with dignitaries. There was no news release accompanying her visit. And after the short ride to the National Mall – she rode on the back of a volunteer’s bike – she sped off in a black sport utility vehicle to points unknown to anyone outside her small circle.
Palin’s Washington visit – to start her still-mysterious One Nation bus tour along the East Coast – provided no clarity about whether she will run for the Republican presidential nomination this year. But it did reinforce the idea that if she does, her campaign will not be conducted in the usual way.
Indeed, the appearance offered a study in contrasts between Palin and her would-be Republican rivals, who, as she rumbled through Washington clad in black leather, did the things that candidates for president usually do.
Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, appeared on the ABC program “This Week,” dressed for the part: navy suit, pressed white shirt, light-blue tie. He said the usual things about policies and positions, praising the House Republican budget.
The multistate tour Palin announced with fanfare on the website of her political action committee last week remains obscure to most. Her aides refused to say where she was going or when. Her brief statement about the tour on the site is filled only with gauzy imagery about the “patriotic sites” she will visit in the days ahead.
The first of those stops, the biker rally, was mostly friendly territory, though some in the crowd said they wondered whether she was there to support their causes or to further her own celebrity-driven political career. Many said they would welcome a presidential campaign by Palin.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Richard Oldham, 71, who had ridden his motorcycle from Battle Creek, Mich. “She’s a supporter of the armed forces. She’s a patriot.”
But others said they did not believe she would run for president, and some said they did not want her to run. Ron Kubowicz, 61, who rode from Scranton, Pa., said he would not vote for her.
“I don’t think she’s qualified,” he said. “And that’s from a gun-toting, motorcycle-riding veteran from Pennsylvania.”