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Sarah Palin, Inc.

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  July 17, 2009

Other Massachusetts residents who contribute to right-wing groups, in interviews with the Phoenix following Palin's resignation announcement, agreed with that sentiment. Palin has many options for channeling that following into a quite-profitable enterprise built around her brand.

If she plays it right (and finds trustworthy people to manage her affairs), she can make a lot of money, from a lot of different sources. And there's more than just dollars. Nonprofit organizations will pay for her and her fisherman-husband, Todd, to cash in on their notoriety and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous: travel, well-appointed offices, and other lifestyle accouterments. She will be paid to take part in luxury "conference" cruises, like one hosted by Oliver North's organization in June, or National Review's this month.

(Palin knows all about that world: her path to the V-P nod actually began when she visited with groups from National Review and Weekly Standard cruises during their stops in Juneau.)

And if she's looking for a model of success, she would do well to study at the feet of the master: former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich's large and growing empire illustrates the scope of the conservative marketplace. In 2007, Gingrich launched American Solutions for Winning the Future, a "527" organization that can raise and spend unlimited amounts — more than $14 million last year, almost all from small-dollar donors. He also created the for-profit American Solutions, which does the nonprofit's telemarketing. The Gingrich Group offers consulting. There is also the for-profit Center for Health Transformation, funded largely by pharmaceutical companies, and CHT Press, which thus far has published three books, including two by Gingrich. Gingrich Productions creates multimedia products. Most recently, he formed an umbrella group of religious conservative organizations.

He also has a deal with, a top right-wing portal Web site (and part of another multifaceted player in this marketplace, Eagle Publishing), to distribute a twice-weekly e-mail newsletter. Largely as a result of all this activity, he has one of the most coveted mailing lists in the business, which commands one of the highest premiums around (starting at $125 per 1000 names). Such lists of proven conservative contributors — who skew heavily toward white, suburban retirees with disposable income — are attractive not only to other conservative groups, but to companies selling financial services, health products, and other wares.

And all of these ventures — plus his contract as an FNC commentator, his highly lucrative speaking engagements, and his paid fellowships with prestigious conservative think-tanks — not only make money off the Gingrich name but promote it, placing him and his products in ever-greater demand.

Whatever Gingrich can do, Palin can likely do better. All of the above, and more, is open to her.

Like Gingrich, who has made an art of it, Palin boosts her visibility, and status, by coquettishly stoking the rumors of a presidential candidacy.

Whether Palin intends to seek the nation's highest office in 2012 or not, she certainly won't say for the next 18 months. If she isn't planning to run, saying so would remove some of her cachet, media attention, and influence. And if she is running, she won't say so — because federal-election laws would then prohibit her from involvement in any political-action committees.


Who's Worth What
When lists of Sarah Palin's contributors inevitably hit the market, how much will they be worth?? Here are the going rates, per 1000 names, of lists associated with various name brands in the right-wing world. *

Rush Limbaugh $135
Bob Barr $130
Newt Gingrich $125
Tom Tancredo $125
Fred Thompson $125
Alan Keyes $120
J.C. Watts $105
Tom DeLay $100
Linda Chavez $95
Randall Terry $90
Pat Buchanan $85
Mike Huckabee $85
Oliver North $85
Mitt Romney $85
Michael Reagan $75

*Figures culled from marketing material of Atlantic List Company, Omega List, Response Unlimited, and Robertson Mailing List Company

Shell games
Gingrich is one of the most profitable brand names in the industry, but he's hardly alone. Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer, Oliver North, and Linda Chavez are among the many competing for conservative donors. (For a comparison of their value in the marketplace, see "Who's Worth What.")

Alan Keyes has parlayed his quixotic 2000 presidential campaign into a veritable conservative kingdom.

Keyes and his loyalists now operate a for-profit Web site; a number of PACs and not-for-profit organizations focused on abortion (Life and Liberty PAC), immigration (Minuteman Civil Defense Corps), and economic populism (Declaration Alliance); a consulting firm (Politechs); a political-research firm (Primer Research); a political Web consultancy (Strategic Internet Campaign Management); a political media firm (Mountaintop Media); a mailing-list provider (Response Unlimited); an online-fundraising site (; and a media-relations company (Diener Consulting) — many of which operate out of the same address.

If Palin doesn't want to invest in that kind of operation, she could choose to lend her name to those who have the expertise. There are plenty of operatives around who already have the infrastructure and organizations, but who lack a big-name celebrity with drawing power in the conservative arena.

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Related: Rise of the political bogeyman, Night of the living dead, Travels with Sarah, More more >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh,  More more >
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Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
Interesting article. There is however 1 thing missing: could it be possible that Palin is doing this out of belief, fight against corruption, conservatism and that this is her goal? Her belief that this is her calling, not the money (hmm, did she not also say something like that?) And now flip the coin to the other political spectrum. Is this not exactly what the elite-left is doing? Look at Al-Hypocrite Gore with his insane amount of money he is making out of the global-warming hoax. Or at Micheal Moore, jetting around as well and making gazillions. Or how did Obama get his money --from all those leftist suckers sending him money. It looks more like this article was written to describe the hypocrite left. With Ralph Nader as the only bright and honest exception  
By huntingmoose on 07/16/2009 at 3:57:19
Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
 huntingmoose: B-I-N-G-O! This writer just did describe the hypocritical Left to an absolute Tee (except there is nothing attractive or sexy on that side).  It also shows the public two things they do have (among a thousand other negatives); projection and petty jealously...
By Fuzzlenutter on 07/16/2009 at 7:05:27
Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
 The Dems won 53% with everything breaking their way.  With Sarah's help the Republicans will retake the Congress in 2010 and the WH in 2012. 
By JAY123 on 07/16/2009 at 8:01:00
Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
 The Dems won 53% with everything breaking their way.  With Sarah's help the Republicans will retake the Congress in 2010 and the WH in 2012. 
By JAY123 on 07/16/2009 at 8:01:19
Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
Good informative article.   I agree with most of what was written.  However, Sarah will offset the appearance of making millions, by going into large cities and with her religious background begin to connect with conservatives of African Americans and Latinos.  Many of their cutural issues are similar to hers and the Republican base is no where to be found on these issues and their communities.  Her life experience and her most cherished issues clearly cross boundries, it just cannot be seen right now with Obama having recently grabbed that vote.  This will change as Obama continues to reveal himself as a radical socialist.  They will be willing to give her a listen to. She will continue to draw ever larger more exciteable crowds in Urban settings. This is her path to the Presidency.  If she is seen skimming off votes from the recently voted Left, the Republican base will fall in line.  They want victory in November 2012.  Whoever will give them that they'll follow.  If anyone is looking for the key moment of whether Sarah Palin will have a successful run for the Repulican nomination, look for the large overnight Republican registrations just before the primaries.  There are many Conservatives out there not registered Republican.  If this happens within weeks of the primaries that is a sign they are all going to vote for Sarah Palin.  If they are not registered she can't win.
By DMac8889 on 07/25/2009 at 2:26:42
Re: Sarah Palin, Inc.
By DMac8889 on 07/25/2009 at 2:31:35

Share this entry with Delicious
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    The biggest brand name in conservative politics is about to enter the burgeoning right-wing marketplace — and she's perfect for it. Ka-ching!
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 See all articles by: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN

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