Why is Sarah Palin's book tour beginning in Grand Rapids? 

It was announced that the first stop on Sarah Palin's book tour would be in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday. It seems to be an odd choice, but upon closer inspection, it's a decision that could be fraught with significance.

Notably, Grand Rapids is the home town of powerful Michigan political power broker and Republican National Committee member Chuck Yob. When it was a announced that the McCain campaign would be pulling out of Michigan last fall before the election, Yob wrote a public letter begging the McCain campaign not to abandon the state and send Palin to campaign there. Palin twice publicly questioned the McCain campaign's decision to pull out of the state early -- an early sign of tension between her and the campaign.

Further, making things interesting is that Chuck Yob's son -- John Yob -- is a notable political consultant in his own right. John Yob was deputy national political director for McCain 2008 and an early member of the campaign, on board long before Steve Schmidt and the anti-Palin faction were influential the campaign. And if you really want to get into some inside baseball for the 2012 presidential election, it's also worth noting that Chuck Yob once mounted a successful campaign in 1998 to deny Mitt Romney's brother Scott Romney the GOP nomination to be the state Attorney General in Michigan. Being the son of Michigan's former governor, most Michigan political observers agree Scott Romney would have likely trounced a wet-behind-the[ears Democrat named Jennifer Granholm in the State AG race. Instead, Granholm won her race which laid the groundwork for her election as Governor four years later. Suffice to say, the Yobs and the Romney family have not been on the best of terms since then. (To learn more about the Yob vs. Romney fight, see this article I wrote for The Weekly Standard in 2006.) This feud could make the primary dynamics very interesting should Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin both decide to run for president next time around.

Palin beginning her book tour in Grand Rapids could be a symbolic slap at the McCain campaign -- or perhaps Palin is making a major public appearance in an important swing state and talking to the Yobs about putting together an campaign organization...

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Mark Hemingway

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