Over the next few years, she became a political force of nature – stirring a tea party base that thronged to her appearances, scaring GOP incumbents deemed too willing to find common ground with Democrats, and building a very lucrative business that included (for one season, at least) her own “reality” TV show while launching one of her five children – daughter Bristol – on her own entertainment career.
Meanwhile, as with some other conservative ex-elected officials like Mike Huckabee, Palin was given a sinecure of sorts as a commentator for Fox News, which built a studio in her home in Wasilla, Alaska, from which she railed against the “lamestream media” and anything Obama proposed or did as president.
No matter that Palin became the butt of liberal jokes, driving left-leaning bloviators nuts, and giving a huge boost to the acting career of Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey. Her “Grizzly Mama” persona – a sharp-edged folksiness with the occasional rhetorical stumble – attracted at least as many people as it turned off. “Run, Sarah, Run!” echoed among adoring throngs urging her to run for the White House.
Although not every candidate she endorsed in 2010 won, her record was respectable.