David Zurawik

Sarah Palin defines being 'for sale' compared to Perry and Romney

As we wheel into a big week TV and politics with the first GOP debate to include Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday and President Obama's long overdue jobs plan on Thursday, a couple of small observations demand to be made.

First of all, I could not let the holiday weekend end without some mention of one of the most outrageous statements of Election 2012: Sarah Palin telling Tea Party members in Iowa Saturday that she is "not for sale."

Parts of her speech about "crony capitalism" were dead on the money.

"So many of them, they arrive in Washington, D.C., of modest means, and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy," she said.

"Well, it's because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money, to taxpayer dollars. They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street. And their corporate cronies. And to reward contributors. And to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this. It's called 'corporate crony capitalism,'" she added.

But, she then told the audience, she wasn't one of those kinds of politicians who could be bought - who went from modest means to being miraculously rich.

"Like you," she shouted to cheers, "I'm not for sale."

I almost drove off the road Saturday when I heard her say it on C-SPAN radio as I was running errands.

Not for sale? Really?

OK, I guess she's not for sale if you ignore the $1 million she gets from Fox News to play political analyst on a race for president of the United States that she might or might not enter.

Oh yeah, and then there's the $1 million from TLC, the sleazeball reality channel that so owned Palin it forced her to have a cooked-up episode on her Alaska series in which she "camped out" with Kate Gosselin and her eight kids.

And to get those paydays Palin ditched her commitment to serve the citizens of Alaska as their governor for four years. No money in that, though, so who can blame her, hey?

This is someone who wants to be taken seriously as a voice of reform, and she's selling herself to any cable channel that write a check for seven figures -- and playing host to Kate Gosselin when she isn't toeing the line for Murdoch and Ailes and their dirty attempts to buy political influence in the United States the way Murdoch did in Britain.

Right, Sarah, you're not for sale.

But there is some good news on the for-sale front and the direction in which the GOP presidential primary season is headed. The consensus front-runners - Rick Perry and Mitt Romney - are the GOP candidates the least under the thumb of Murdoch, Ailes and Fox News.

All of the candidates like Newt Gingrich who were recently on the Fox News payroll are already road kill 14 months out from election day. I wonder if the taint of being owned and operated by Fox played any role in that.

Either way, it is encouraging that the two most formidable candidates seem at this point not to be soiled by Murdoch's money.

Of course, the ultimate GOP candidate is going to need Fox News in the general election against Barack Obama. But Fox News is going to need him or her, too.

And with Romney or Perry, the candidate is NOT going to be someone who has been on the Fox payroll like Palin, Gingrich or Rick Santorum -- and has a history of kowtowing to Murdoch and Ailes.

That's something to think about as we watch Perry's coming-out debate Wednesday night.