You weren't alone in thinking Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel" was anti-Semitic — or perhaps just a sign that she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. It turns out Fox News Presidnet Roger Ailes wasn't happy about it either, and this time "going rogue" may have put her at odds with a powerful ally.
In January, with allegations flying that her use of violent imagery was in some way linked with the Arizona shooting, Palin defended herself in a seven minute video. She included this line, which quickly obscured whatever point she was trying to make:
"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
Now New York magazine reports that Palin was advised by most people in her camp that entering the debate would be a huge mistake. She even called Ailes, and a source says he told her, "Lie low ... There's no need to inject yourself into the story." But as Palin said when explaining why it was important to note that she doesn't feast on the blood of Christian babies, she won't "sit down and shut up." Sarah Palin will not be silenced by the liberals! (Or her closest Republican allies.)
Ailes didn't find her defiance that endearing. From New York:
"The Tucson thing was horrible," said a person familiar with Ailes's thinking. "Before she responded, she was making herself look like a victim. She was winning. She went out and did the blood libel thing, and Roger is thinking, 'Why did you call me for advice?'"
Evidently Ailes wasn't angry enough to boot Palin from the network and take away her $1 million salary, but showing her willingness to oppose him may have been a bad call. Earlier this month, Fox let go Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, saying it can't keep presidential candidates on the payroll as pundits. Since Palin hasn't officially declared she's running, the network can still employ her and use her celebrity to pull in higher ratings.
However, if she signals that she's running for the presidency, she'll have to leave the network, because it would be totally inappropriate for the "fair and balanced" news network to show favoritism to Palin. While right now it seems she can still expect plenty of political and financial benefits from her ties to the network after she announces a run, she should take the leak of this information about Ailes as a warning that his support for her isn't absolute.
For those who aren't looking forward to the possibility of a Palin White House, the story shows that in the past few years, her operation hasn't become as sophisticated as you might think. In addition to defying John McCain's team, she's still stubborn enough to cross her own advisors and powerful figures in the Republican party. A willingness to stand up to those around you is a good quality when you're savvy enough to make the right call. As for Sarah Palin, it just means we can expect her to continue defying smart political advice and sticking her foot in her mouth.