Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marc Ambinder: Getting Sarah Palin's Paradigm

Marc Ambinder, a liberal at the Atlantic with whom we seldom agree, has written an article in which he, albeit grudgingly, is beginning to understand Governor Palin's appeal:

"If the primaries were this year, I suspect she'd be nominated," a senior adviser to one of Sarah Palin's potential rivals confides. It's easy to see why: no one who's thinking of running beats the enthusiasm she generates among Republican activists. But there is more to the case for Palin than just the confluence of her personality and a vacuum within the Republican Party: there is a method to her management of her public image. It strongly hints that she has pretty much decided to run for president in 2012, unless something knocks her out of the race; it is more organized and structured that it appears; and it is something that Republican insiders, in particular, will ignore at their peril.

Next week, Palin will be a VIP guest of honor at the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. She'll walk among the campers and RVs set up infield. This summer, she's agreed to speak at an international bowling expo. In April, in Las Vegas, Palin will keynote the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Convention at Caesar's Palace. She will make choices in Republican primaries -- she campaigned Sunday with Rick Perry, bearing a "Hi mom!" on her palm -- more on that in a bit -- and an eloquent jab at the President: "'We will proudly cling to our guns and our religion."


Not a single other Republican presidential candidate can build a crowd like Palin, can run against something like Palin (be it Washington, the media, the McCain campaign or Obama); no one speaks to the resentment/aspirational conservatives like she does; no one's life has better exemplified the way they perceive their struggle against the elite. We like to think about presidential primaries in paradigms, but candidates who fit with the times often find ways to completely subvert established paradigms.

Read the rest here. I have no idea what Ambinder is talking about when he describes Governor Palin as "Nixonian", but his article is nevertheless an interesting take on Governor Palin's "strategery".

(H/T Philip)

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