Palin’s cracker-jack operation

PALIN’S CRACKER-JACK OPERATION…. If these circumstances sound familiar, it’s because we’ve heard this story before.

Organizers of an Anchorage event that has been billing Sarah Palin for weeks as a star speaker were left scrambling Wednesday after learning that the former governor won’t be there for tonight’s event and claims to have never been asked.

It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after Palin and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she’d speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer.

This time it’s an event promoting an Alaska ballot measure aimed at making it illegal for teens to get an abortion without telling their parents. The Alaska Family Council has been advertising that Palin would give a speech and become the first official signer of the ballot petition tonight at ChangePoint, the Anchorage megachurch.

Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery and his group have been promoting the event, and Palin’s appearance, after having been in contact with the former governor’s aides. Palin’s spokesperson said yesterday, however, that “this is the first we have ever heard of a speech.”

“All we can do is take people at their word that we’ve worked with in the past,” Minnery said. “We’ve been working for several weeks on the event, promoting it very heavily. It would be a grave disappointment if she doesn’t show up but the show will still go on.”

She’s not showing up. Palin’s spokesperson said Palin will not even be in Alaska when the event is held.

Now, in general, a mix-up between a far-right group and a far-right politician over scheduling issues wouldn’t be especially noteworthy. But what’s interesting about this is that it keeps happening. This is, as the Anchorage Daily News noted, the fourth time some members of Palin’s team committed to an event that other members of Palin’s team never agreed to.

I’m reminded of an item Greg Sargent wrote in June

…Palin almost was a heartbeat away from the presidency last year, and she harbors ambitions to be less than a heartbeat away from it come 2012. If you want to be the most powerful person in the world, your ability to pick and manage a good staff matters a bit.

Yet reporters and Washington Republicans routinely joke about the quality of her staff, lamenting calls that go unreturned for days, mixed signals, and spasms of general incompetence.

That was nearly three months ago. Palin’s operation apparently hasn’t improved.