Last December, after Sarah Palin announced in October she wouldn't run for president, we started to notice she was shrinking. Now, four months ahead of the election, she seems smaller than ever. The latest sign of her diminished political significance is that Palin hasn't even been invited to the Republican National Convention by Mitt Romney, Newsweek's Peter Boyer reports. But it doesn't appear that it's because she's too busy with other things. The chief of staff for her SarahPAC quit, ABC News' Shushannah Walshe reports, because he didn't have enough to do. Palin hasn't totally endorsed Romney and she hasn't done any campaign events for him, and the worst part is, hardly anyone's noticed.
Palin's headlines have all announced a steady decline, even when we couldn't tell that's what was happening. Stories about her staff, for example, show it slowly became less professional. When Palin hired Michael Glassner to be her PAC's chief of staff in February 2011, it was considered a sign she might run for president. Now he's gone. When she fired two neoconservative foreign policy advisers the following May, it was thought to be a sign she might run against the Washington establishment. But it turned out she just wasn't going to be needing any foreign policy advisers. Even though Palin's web guru Rebecca Mansour was still on the SarahPAC payroll at the beginning of the year, she's faded from the news after sending direct messages on Twitter mocking Bristol Palin. Mansour's Twitter account is protected, limiting her ability to defend Palin online. And Palin's public events haven't gotten enough hype to draw wire photographers -- the last Associated Press photos of her are from her day of co-hosting the Today show, while the last ones from Reuters are from her CPAC speech in February. She gave a speech at an Americans for Prosperity-funded event in Michigan this weekend, and only Getty snapped some photos.
Palin turned her gig as a Fox News commentator into an outlet for airing old grievances from the 2008 campaign, taking not-very-relevant shots at Trig Truthers and the McCain campaign. Once Republicans started voting in the primaries, Palin sounded pretty much like any other pundit, and she seemed to know it. When Neil Cavuto asked her who she voted for, Palin said, "It is tough for me to spin out of a question like that when it comes from a Fox reporter."
Even Palin's supporters have lowered their expectations for their hero. "Palin for Energy Secretary!" screamed one fan at the Michigan event, according to the Detroit News.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.