Sarah Palin didn't take my advice, and today she's paying the price. Yesterday, she was the keynote speaker at the annual convention of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Inc. in Las Vegas. This morning, however, not a word of her talk was to be found in my usual sources of news, which routinely include the New York Times and the Sacramento Bee. I couldn't even find a clue to what she said at the Web sites of the two daily Las Vegas newspapers. Not even the Web site of the wine wholesalers is reporting on whatever she had to say of alcoholic beverages. If she was hoping to raise her already high profile by addressing such a formidable group, she clearly miscalculated. If only she'd listened to me she could have rattled her audience, stirred some debate, and perhaps attracted a whole new wing of fans. Instead, she settled for tea, nothing as bracing as zinfandel.
Tom Wark of the blog Fermentations may have been the only other wine scribe to look forward to her presentation as eagerly as I was, and to judge from his report she really didn't say anything about wine and spirits. She talked up entrepreneurship and deregulation, but only in vague terms, stopping far short of urging distributors to quit relying on outdated regulations to thwart the efforts of entrepreneurs to market their products. Earlier this year, when her appearance before the distributors was announced, I mused about how she could use this platform to try to persuade wholesalers to stop leaning on the quaint and cumbersome three-tier system of distributing alcoholic beverages and instead come up with more equitable and efficient ways to help the family farmer secure footing in the market. But she didn't do it, preferring to rehash safe bromides about innovation, discipline, patriotism and the like, without apparently coming up with a single concrete suggestion for enhancing any of her familiar themes.
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