Former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been invited to keynote the annual convention of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America which 330 member companies through whom 70% of the wines in America are distributed. This is the first time that the convention has chosen someone outside of the wine industry to keynote. Could you imagine Narendra Modi keynoting one of our Indian wine conferences?
What makes the choice all the more surprising is that the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America supports the governments highly regulated alcohol distribution system in America. Palin supposedly stands for free enterprise and limited government involvement in business and limited tax too.
When announcing the selection of Ms. Palin, Craig Wolf, the president and chief executive of the wholesalers association, explained it in this way,
“Governor Palin is a great supporter of America’s free enterprise system and understands that industries like the beverage alcohol industry play a key role in driving our national economy,” he said. “We’re proud and honored to welcome her as a speaker. We expect she will share with the convention attendees her analysis of the current political environment and her vision for America’s future.”
Few attendees expect her to spend much time discuss the wine business. And while the convention will probably see a spike in ticket sales with her as a keynote, it’ll probably upset a lot of people who lean left too. During the 2008 election many derided her for her lack of foreign policy experience and the fact that she didn’t know why North and South Korea were divided.
Arguably, she doesn’t have much to contribute to the wine discourse (other than through this) and the speaking engagement may invariably bring unwanted extra attention to the association. But you never know.