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Crime Pays for Palin Clan

December 30, 2008

Sarah Palin is once again proving that nothing succeeds like failure. Within days of the overwhelming defeat of the McCain/Palin ticket came rumors that the Alaska Governor could reap a $7 million windfall for a book deal. Now just 24 hours after the birth of her son, MSNBC is reporting that the daughter of the abstinence-only sex education Governor stands to earn $300,000 for pictures of her baby. And as it turns out, Bristol Palin can thank the drug arrest of her future mother-in-law for driving up the price of those photos.
That crime pays is the apparently the moral of the MSNBC story. Interest in the snapshots of the Palin progeny was limited until father Levi Johnston's mother Sherry was handcuffed on charges of possession and distribution of OxyContin. Bidding had topped out at $100,000 because "Sarah Palin stories just didn't sell all that well for the weeklies on newsstands." Then came what turned out to be an extremely profitable drug bust:

The drug-related arrest of Johnston's mother, however, caused the price tag for the photos to go up.
"The bidding started well before the baby was born, but once Levi's mom was arrested - well, then you had a story," says one editor.
As for how much teen parents Bristol and Levi made from the deal - most estimates hover around the $300,000 range (none of the magazines would confirm the exact figure in the end, which is standard).

(In a further ironic gift to Sarah Palin, Alaska police delayed the arrest of Sherry Johnston until after the election, when she was "no longer under the protection or surveillance of the Secret Service.")
The estimated $300,000 People pay day is just the latest for the clan McCain campaign staffers deemed "Wasilla hillbillies." As mayor and governor, Sarah Palin emerged as a Republican welfare queen, pocketing per diems, inflating travel expenses for family, extracting gifts and receiving zoning assistance to aid the sale of her home. And that was before her $150,000 shopping spree, courtesy of the Republican National Committee.
Back in September, Barack Obama reacted to news of Bristol Palin's pregnancy by rushing to support her mother. "I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits," he said, adding, "This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president."
Apparently, someone forgot to tell Sarah Palin. Next week, Americans will peruse pictures of the 44 year old Governor's grandchild. Meanwhile, polls suggest that Governor Palin remains the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. The crises of the Palin clan, it would seem, are good for business and even better for politics.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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