Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is the Left Beginning to Take Sarah Palin Seriously?

Or, perhaps, they ALWAYS took her seriously, which is why they took it upon themselves to destroy her from Day 1.

At any rate, some on the left now appear willing to openly discuss taking her seriously. For example, the so-called "Dean of the Washington press corps", David Broder, admonishes "Take Sarah Palin seriously" in today's Washington Post column:
... Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.

This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.

Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.

Her invocation of "conservative principles and common-sense solutions" was perfectly conventional. What stood out in the eyes of TV-watching pols of both parties was the skill with which she drew a self-portrait that fit not just the wishes of the immediate audience but the mood of a significant slice of the broader electorate...

And talk about an unlikely source of praise, at The Huffington Post (of all places), we read this glowing piece by Joan Williams:
Addressing the Tea Party, Sarah Palin wrote three notes on her hand: "Energy, Taxes, Lift American Spirits." Why? She already had notes in front of her on the podium. Surely she could remember three simple themes. Why write notes on her hand?

Here's my take on why: she knew that they would be visible when she gave the speech. And she knew that she would be made fun of -- as so stupid that she needs to write notes on her hand. And that's one of her most effective tactics -- to be made fun of. It's an integral part of her strategy of standing in for hardworking, Middle Americans, derided by the condescending, know-it-all liberal elites.

So what does the Obama administration do? Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had a great idea: he made fun of her. He wrote a grocery list on his hand at a White House briefing, and belittled Palin for not being able to remember her message. Thus the White House became a vehicle for Palin's narrative of the snooty elites who think they're better than average Americans.

Palin is a brilliant strategist. First, note that I just repeated Palin's key talking points: Palin has even us fellow travelers at The Huffington Post repeating, "Energy, Taxes, Lift American Spirits." Talk about earned media.

Palin's ploy also spoke directly to ordinary Joe and Jane. By writing her script on her palm, she got to identify with the unscripted real folks, heightening the contrast with the golden-tongued Obama and his reliance on the teleprompter. Hasn't everyone sometimes written a note on her hand? Doesn't putting your message on your palm literally define the common touch? The elites were clueless.

Sarah Palin is playing chess. I don't know what game the Administration is playing, but they just walked right into her carefully laid trap. Palin, the strategist, is amazing to watch. Her brilliance is her ability to tap in to the class conflicts that drive American politics these days. Obama, whom I have supported since Iowa, just doesn't get it.

Here's what he doesn't get: He believes in the American dream. He believes that if you work hard, even if you come from a modest, single-mother family, you can make it. You can even become President.

For him that's true. In fact, it's true for everyone in the White House. They're all there based on merit and hard work.

But there are millions and millions of Americans are out there, working as hard as they can, some just as smart as Obama, who never get anywhere. They clean your shirts, mop your floor, fix your TIVO, sell your computer service contracts. They work hard their whole lives, and they feel left out, disrespected, undervalued -- treated as if they are stupid.

So there's the Obama Administration's spokesman reinforcing Palin's narrative, showing that the elites think that average people who write notes on their palms are stupid...
And yet, from certain quarters of the right, Palin is trashed relentlessly by those who claim to be "mystified" that otherwise intelligent people might admire her political skills in addition to her policy preferences.

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