Every morning she hears it as soon as she wakes up, tick-tock, tick-tock. It follows her wherever she goes. It is the sound of Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes almost being up. Another sign that the end is near for Palinmania came in Jacksonville, FL where her fundraiser for Heroic Media was moved from a 2,936 seat theatre to a 609 seat venue due to poor ticket sales.
As Sarah Jones reported on Sunday, Palin was set to be the big draw and the headliner for a fundraiser benefiting the conservative anti-abortion organization Heroic Media, and as will all organizations that get conned into paying Palin to show up and babble with promises of filled coffers in return, Heroic Media is finding out that Palin is not quite the draw that they thought she was, or to put it another way, she isn’t much of a draw at all.
According to the Florida Times-Union, organizers of the event were very upfront and honest about why they decided to move, “An Evening With Sarah Palin” from the 2,936 seat Moran Theatre, to the 609 seat Terry Theatre, Florida Director for Heroic Media Mark Nelson admitted that there weren’t enough tickets sold to hold the event in the bigger building, “We would rather have a packed theater than a theater that’s not so packed.”
Not so packed, is a very polite way of saying, “Palin isn’t selling any tickets and if we hold this thing in the big building, we are going to look like idiots because it will be less than a quarter full.” How many tickets have been sold to the Jacksonville fundraiser? Considering that the venue holds 609 people and there are still some $50 tickets for sale on Ticketmaster, a generous sales estimate is probably somewhere in the 400-500 range, which means that the event organizers were expecting about 3,000 people, and instead will be lucky to get 20% of that total. (The Palin popularity myth has claimed another victim).
Heroic Media has a generic sounding name, but the group was founded by Swift Boater Brian R. Follett, so the curse of the Palin Money Pit could not happen to a more deserving person or organization. Heroic Media was really hoping to rake in the bucks with Palin. They are also offering a special $500 package, where the sucker, I mean lucky audience member gets, “2 reserved seating tickets, 2 tickets to private reception with Gov. Palin, recognition in event program, memento photo with Gov. Palin.” In case anyone wanted to part with even more money, for $1,500 you could have, “10 reserved seating tickets, 2 tickets to private reception with Gov. Palin, special recognition in event program and on web site, memento photo with Gov. Palin special gift bag with copy of Gov. Palin’s book Going Rogue, pennant flag with your logo and name displayed and/or event signage.”
Like any good grifter, Sarah Palin has managed to gain the confidence of her marks by selling them on the notion that she is a marketable commodity. She isn’t. Mother Jones reported on the disaster that was the Sarah Palin Tea Party Convention Banquet. There was the fiasco in Atlanta where a religious benefit for special needs kids was booked for a 13,000 seat arena, but only sold 1,000 tickets, via The Immoral Minority and now the Jacksonville debacle.
Sarah Palin can’t sell tickets, and she can’t draw a paying crowd. Few people will want to pay for the privilege of seeing someone who will not go away. Palin is divisive and at best will only be able to draw from a niche audience. If an organization wants to hold a fundraiser, don’t waste your time and money on Sarah Palin, instead, book the most popular professional athlete in your community. They probably won’t cost $100,000 plus expenses, and some of them may even appear for free, if you still find yourself needing to have Sarah Palin appear at your event, in the words of Thomas Tusser, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association