Sarah Palin: now a credible threat?

Financial disclosure report reveals Republican ex-candidate is now supported by a well-financed poli

Sarah Palin's team filed its Federal Election Commission disclosure report last night, and it makes for very interesting reading.

It shows that her political action committee (known as SarahPAC) has know become a sophisticated and well-funded operation. The committee, which was founded in January 2009, raised $866,000 in the last quarter, more than it has ever raised before. Its expenditure is also greater, with $742,000 going out over the same period on activities such as list-building and travel.

The most striking figure in the report is "Cash on Hand at Close of Reporting Period", which stands at a little over $1m. She also made significant contributions ($82,500) to other political candidates, contributing no doubt to the success of anti-incumbent and Tea Party candidates.

The details of her expenditure are intriguing -- for instance, she spend $1,500 on dinner at Mother's Restaurant in New Orleans, an eatery where the online menu shows the most expensive dish to cost about $23. Another $3,800 reportedly went on caribou jerky from Alaska for the delegates at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

Thousands of dollars at a time are spent on consultants and speechwriters, and $11,000 went on scheduling assistance, indicating that a real strategy is emerging, replacing her rather ad hoc communications through Facebook and Twitter.

The net operating costs for SarahPAC for these three months were $65,4584, a bill that clearly denotes a professional operation, rather than the piecemeal outfit that previously followed her around the country. Together with the launch of her "Mama Grizzlies" video last week, what these figures make clear is that Palin is gearing up for a tilt at the presidency, and she's getting started early.

Subscription offer: Get 12 issues for just £12 PLUS a free copy of "The Idea of Justice" by Amartya Sen.

Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.

Getty
Show Hide image

Rarely has it mattered so little if Manchester United won; rarely has it been so special they did

Team's Europa League victory offers chance for sorely needed celebration of a city's spirit.

Carlo Ancelotti, the Bayern Munich manager, memorably once said that football is “the most important of the least important things”, but he was only partly right. While it is absolutely the case that a bunch of people chasing around a field is insignificant, a bunch of people chasing around a field is not really what football is about.

At a football match can you set aside the strictures that govern real life and freely scream, shout and cuddle strangers. Football tracks life with such unfailing omnipresence, garnishing the mundane with regular doses of drama and suspense; football is amazing, and even when it isn’t there’s always the possibility that it’s about to be.

Football bestows primal paroxysms of intense, transcendent ecstasy, shared both with people who mean everything and people who mean nothing. Football carves out time for people it's important to see and delivers people it becomes important to see. Football is a structure with folklore, mythology, language and symbols; being part of football is being part of something big, special, and eternal. Football is the best thing in the world when things go well, and still the best thing in the world when they don’t. There is nothing remotely like it. Nothing.

Football is about community and identity, friends and family; football is about expression and abandon, laughter and song; football is about love and pride. Football is about all the beauty in the world.

And the world is a beautiful place, even though it doesn’t always seem that way – now especially. But in the horror of terror we’ve seen amazing kindness, uplifting unity and awesome dignity which is the absolute point of everything.

In Stockholm last night, 50,000 or so people gathered for a football match, trying to find a way of celebrating all of these things. Around town before the game the atmosphere was not as boisterous as usual, but in the ground the old conviction gradually returned. The PA played Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, an Ajax staple with lyrics not entirely appropriate: there is plenty about which to worry, and for some every little thing is never going to be alright.

But somehow the sentiment felt right and the Mancunian contingent joined in with gusto, following it up with “We’ll never die,” – a song of defiance born from the ashes of the Munich air disaster and generally aired at the end of games, often when defeat is imminent. Last night it was needed from the outset, though this time its final line – “we’ll keep the red flag flying high, coz Man United will never die" – was not about a football team but a city, a spirit, and a way of life. 

Over the course of the night, every burst of song and even the minute's silence chorused with that theme: “Manchester, Manchester, Manchester”; “Manchester la la la”; “Oh Manchester is wonderful”. Sparse and simple words, layered and complex meanings.

The match itself was a curious affair. Rarely has it mattered so little whether or not United won; rarely has it been so special that they did. Manchester United do not represent or appeal to everyone in Manchester but they epitomise a similar brilliance to Manchester, brilliance which they take to the world. Brilliance like youthfulness, toughness, swagger and zest; brilliance which has been to the fore these last three days, despite it all.

Last night they drew upon their most prosaic aspects, outfighting and outrunning a willing but callow opponent to win the only trophy to have eluded them. They did not make things better, but they did bring happiness and positivity at a time when happiness and positivity needed to be brought; football is not “the most important of the least important things,” it is the least important of the most important things.

0800 7318496