Friedersdorf, addressing the Sage of Wasilla directly:
Do you think the money of rank and file conservatives is well spent building your personal brand? Why should anyone trust you as a steward of their money again? Did you think you'd get away with this just because the conservative media is curiously silent when popular movement figures shamelessly fleece the rank and file?It's that last one that's the key, isn't it? Palin is only perhaps the most obvious, and perhaps the most shameless, of a long series of people who treat conservatives as easy marks. Yes, there's some of that on the other side, but really there's just not much. Well -- someone, perhaps it's my brother but I don't really remember, makes the case that it's just a matter of people serving different markets, with liberals very willing to fork money over to those who make them feel good about Taking the Issues Seriously and other highfalutin things. In other words, that people on both sides are easy marks, but just that they demand different things. Perhaps so, but if what you demand of snake oil is that it looks and feels and works like real medicine, then I'm not sure you're really buying snake oil. Unless you're able to persuade me that all liberals care about is the "looks and feels" part of it.
Still, it certainly does seem to me that there's just an enormous market out there willing to be exploited by fraudulent "conservative" hucksters, and as Friedersdorf says essentially no effort from anyone within the Republican network to do anything about it.
And: nice catch!