Is RedState waving the white flag? Kind of. Well, maybe. Possibly not. Here’s what we know.
The man in charge at RedState has issued a mea culpa to Sarah Palin and her family. Some question the sincerity of the apparent apology. There’s no way to know what’s truly in a man’s heart, so many are scratching their heads on this one. Some are giving Erickson the benefit of the doubt while others are sensing this one screams of a guy desperately making a last ditch effort to change the prevailing narrative.
That narrative paints Erickson as a misogynistic opportunist. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol drove that point home heavily in recent days. The Palins called out Erickson after he disinvited Donald Trump from a RedState event. Erickson’s reasoning was that Trump’s comments about Fox News’ Megyn Kelly were sexist. The Palins called shenanigans, pointing to prior comments, actions, and editorial decisions by Erickson that were much worse than anything uttered by The Donald.
Now Erickson has written an “I’m sorry” piece. He apologizes profusely for a fake photo of Sarah Palin that RedState ran in a story over two years ago. The timing of the apology is questionable at best. Erickson had years to speak up. Not until the Palins called him out did he break his silence on the matter. He claims he didn’t realize he needed to apologize. In his entry on the subject, Erickson writes “It happened in 2013. I wish I had known from the Palin camp before now that this was a lingering issue.”
Erickson also provides an excuse for the photo flap. “Unfortunately, going back into my calendar, I know why I was slow to respond,” he wrote. “I was in the hospital on July 1, 2013, with my wife. I had to rush her to the emergency room that day and was out of pocket that day and the next, though even while attending to my wife made sure to mount a defense of Governor Palin. I was the only paid employee at RedState at the time and one of the only Palin supporters on the front page of RedState by 2013. The contributors were telling me the picture was real, I was in the hospital, and I went with trusting the guys I’m surrounded with every day and who I’d empowered to decide these things while I was tied up. I am sorry the Palin family has held on to this for so long. I certainly meant no offense and tried to respond as quickly as I could to it, but was limited at the time due to my own family circumstances.”
This explanation is interesting on a couple of levels. Introducing a sick wife to the saga could soften some opinions about a man who has been called a hypocrite by the Palins when it comes to women. Also, if you read closely, some of the apology could be taken as more digs at the Palins. Erickson’s line, “I was the only paid employee at RedState at the time and one of the only Palin supporters on the front page of RedState by 2013,” suggests Governor Palin is not a popular conservative leader. His comment, “I am sorry the Palin family has held on to this for so long,” tells us this is all somehow the Palins’ fault. Instead of the phony picture and constant barbs at Palin from RedState being the focus, Erickson’s words shift attention to a family that apparently didn’t get over something in a suitable time frame.
Erickson also writes, “I really am sorry that they did not know the reason it took so long to respond and I am really am sorry that hurt feelings have lingered on for more than two years.” Implying what? It suggests the Palins are again at fault for the actions of the RedState staff.
I’ve heard several opinions on this back and forth between the Palins and Erickson. Let’s assume for a moment that the apology and apparent ‘No Mas’ cry from Erickson is heartfelt and genuine. Fantastic. But while Erickson is issuing an apology, RedState continues to blast the Palins. To summarize, a man is apologizing to a family while people working for that same man are ripping the same family again and again.
After a Breitbart piece highlighting Bristol Palin’s confrontation with Erickson included reference to a RedState hit piece on the Palins, the author of the RedState article, Leon H. Wolf, flexed his Twitter muscles at the Palins.
The Palins are like the Dave Matthews Band of the conservative movement: No one likes them anymore except the five worst people you know.
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) August 13, 2015
I'm just out there every day, bullying poor pregnant Palins around. https://t.co/Z4TmdPorYw
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) August 13, 2015
Someday the Palins are going to look around at the ever-shrinking circle of their defenders and wonder why there's no one left.
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) August 12, 2015
Wolf’s tweets take shots at Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, Breitbart News, Palin supporter and writer Gary Jackson, and even me. Erickson is apologizing while one of his writers is firing away. You can understand why Erickson’s motives and sincerity are being questioned.
The Palins are not alone in their take on Erickson. Even the Washington Post smells a rat.
In Erickson’s apology he brags about defending Governor Palin in the past, particularly against the treatment she received from McCain staffers Nicole Wallace and and Steve Schmidt. What conservative didn’t defend Palin on that one? The actions of Erickson and crew were far from extraordinary. It’s like saying John Wayne Gacy wasn’t the best clown. You’re not really going out on a limb. There’s no downside in the stance. To steal a line from Darius Rucker in his Hootie & the Blowfish days, RedState and Erickson have proven to be “Fairweather Johnsons” at best when it comes to Sarah Palin. Groveling at this point probably can’t change that.
Plus, just because you may have said nice things in the past doesn’t excuse later actions.
Only Mr. Erickson knows what’s in his heart but at the very least you can understand those who are less than impressed with his sudden act of contrition. Some of his latest words sound good on paper, for sure. But, because of a long trail of inconsistencies and outright attacks on the Palins there is also plenty of things that make you go hmmm. It’s just not the C+C Music Factory rendition we’re talking about this time. Instead it’s all compliments of the E+E Damage Control Group.