Quiz: What do these struggling or failed political aspirants all have in common?
- Vaughn Ward, a GOP candidate for Idaho's 1st congressional district who plagiarized Barack Obama's famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech and thought Puerto Rico was a separate country;
- Nikki Haley, the South Carolina gubernatorial candidate embroiled in controversy with a political blogger who claims he had an affair with Haley, who is married with two children;
- Doug Hoffman, the conservative candidate in last fall's special House election in upstate New York's 23rd district who ultimately lost in an upset to Democrat Bill Owens;
- Tim Burns, the Republican candidate to fill the late Pennsylvania Democratic congressman John Murtha's 12th district who lost to Democrat Mark Critz;
- Clint Didier, the Republican candidate for Senate in Washington state trailing incumbent Democrat Patty Murray by anywhere from 15 to 26 percentage points; and
- John McCain, the Republican loser in the 2008 presidential election
They're all the (un)lucky recipients of campaign endorsements from the Tea Party darling herself, Sarah Palin! Of course, there's no doubt Palin remains a superstar in conservative circles, her every tweet and Facebook message treated as conservative scripture these days. And she has been right on a few occasions—notably, Rand Paul in the recent Kentucky GOP Senate primary. But overall, her political seal of approval may be losing some of its luster.
And some of her fellow Republicans have noticed. In early May, Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the California Republican Senate primary. Later that month, Matt Rexroad, a director for political strategy group Meridian Pacific, which is employed by Fiorina's campaign, posted on Facebook that "if Sarah Palin endorsed me I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone. [F]rom my point of view, I don't know how you quit as the governor of your state and get taken seriously." Ouch.
I guess we'll have to wait and see how the remaining candidates that Palin has blessed with her endorsement—Fiorina, Wisconsin House candidate Sean Duffy, et al—fare before deciding whether Palin's support amounts to a golden touch or the kiss of death.