After Wednesday's all-day drama surrounding Saturday's Tea Party rally in Indianola, Iowa -- with headliner Sarah Palin reportedly ready to cancel her scheduled appearance -- Palin's fans were understandably perplexed.
It appeared that the event's organizers, a new group called Tea Party of America founded by Ken Crow, had provoked an unnecessary controversy by a last-minute decision to add former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell to the rally schedule. Tuesday, O'Donnell was disinvited and then re-invited, and by Wednesday morning, Palin's participation in the event was reported to be "on hold." Then O'Donnell was finally disinvited and, at last word, Palin had agreed to go on with Saturday's show.
Tea Party of America President Ken Crow told NBC News, "I had to cancel Ms. O'Donnell" after a conversation with Sarah Palin aides - and is now hopeful Palin will attend the Saturday rally in Indianola.
He was told by Palin's team that he'd have a final answer shortly.
This comes after failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell was in, then out, then back in, and now indefinitely out. And Palin was in, then "on hold."
An organizer of the much-publicized tea party rally in Iowa this weekend says Sarah Palin would not be doing herself any favors if she drops out of the event.
"I hope that isn't so...It would hurt her more than hurt us," event organizer Ken Crow, the co-founder and president of the Tea Party of America, told TheDC.
While it is clear that O'Donnell's proposed speaking slot was not acceptable to Palin's camp, the Palin aide denied that anyone on the Palin team had explicitly demanded that O'Donnell be removed from the speaker's list.
Palin's concern arose, the aide said, when an O'Donnell aide suggested to event organizers that Palin wanted the Delawarean to share the stage with her.
"They haven't spoken in over a year," the aide said of the two women.
Someone unearthed a quote from event organizer Crow saying of Palin's presidential prospects: "I know for a fact she ain't gonna run." The quote prompted Dave Weigel of Slate to exclaim: "That's the guy bringing Palin to Iowa for an event that reporters are attending because they wonder whether Palin will run!"
Palin supporters wondered why Crow was publicly expressing such derogatory opinions about his own rally's headliner. And then one e-mailed me a photo showing Crow talking to Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a recent Des Moines GOP event. The Palin supporter speculated:
This guy Crow has to be doing this all on purpose, for one reason: to make Palin look bad, for the benefit of someone who wants to make Palin look bad.
Remember: if they can make the narrative "Tea Party Woman=Christine O'Donnell=Sarah Palin" stick, then who wins? Rick Perry.
That speculation may seem far-fetched, but Stacy Drake of Conservatives for Palin writes: "I do know that Ken Crow is a Rick Perry supporter who has managed to make a mess out of a highly publicized event that Governor Palin will be headlining on Saturday. I also know that he has been trashing Governor Palin to the press."
Is this paranoia? Or are Palin's supporters belatedly learning why I described Perry's campaign as "The Phantom Menace" of Iowa?