Friday, July 9, 2010

Sarah Palin's First Ad

For someone who is commonly derided as a moron Sarah Palin has just launched a political ad that just about everyone agrees is very smart indeed. Link here.

From having been dismissed and written off as a one-hit wonder, Sarah Palin has maintained her image, her brand, and her political influence.

One can sense, among Democratic and liberal women, a new respect for a woman who has developed a strong and loyal following.

It all means that Sarah Palin, who seemed to have relegated herself to premature obsolescence by resigning from the governorship of Alaska, has now arrived in her own person as a presence in American politics and as a potential presidential candidate.

For many people this is a nightmare come true. For other, more rational souls, it has offered an opportunity to reconsider Sarah Palin.

Among those who offer the best and most reasoned analysis of the Palin ad are writers at the DoubleX blog: Dahlia Lithwick, Emily Bazelon, and Emily Yoffe. Link here.

Take Emily Yoffe's analysis of a point that I have been at pains to make on numerous occasions. Link here for my own posts about Palin.

In Yoffe's words: "What's startling is how Palin fully embraces her femaleness-- her beauty, her sexuality, her Mama Grizzly-ness. We're used to female politicians playing up their gender-neutral competence. But there is Palin making a direct appeal to women, confident that the men who love her won't be turned off by this. I also agree, Abby, that her message that Democrats want to try to run your lives and saddle your kids with crushing debt comes through very clearly without having to say it. And Democrats who dismiss her do so at their peril."

Yoffe is quite correct, but why are we surprised that a political candidate or even a political energizer should find success in being who she is, rather than in pretending to be something she is not?

Yoffe understands that the simplicity of Palin's message is correct for a political ad. After all, the nation just elected a president who ran on hope and change... and what could be more vaporous than that.

For now, Sarah Palin is trying to organize a female voting block, not only based on fierce independence, but on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

Clearly, Palin's ad is directed to a woman's sensibility. But it does not address a woman's issue. It does not try to scare women into voting one way or the other. It empowers women as Mama Grizzlies rather than as chronic complainers. It raises a political issue and offers a policy prescription.

You may believe that the country needs fiscal responsibility, or you may believe that it needs more stimulus spending. Either way, Palin's is a respectable policy position.

That is why men will not feel that they have been excluded from the conversation. Nor will they feel that their opinion does not count because they have never had a woman's experiences.

Clearly, the Palin story has not yet played itself out. If Palin's candidates do well in the November elections, she will be in a very strong position to compete for the presidential nomination in 2012.

But if her candidates do not do so well, then some of her luster will be tarnished. If Rand Paul cannot keep the Kentucky senate seat in the Republican column, Sarah Palin will certainly suffer. And if Sharron Angle loses to Harry Reid in Nevada many people will conclude that Sarah Palin cannot turn out the vote.

If untested and inexperienced politicians in Kentucky and Nevada lose their races, many people will think that it is too risky to vote for a relatively inexperienced former politician from Alaska.


By The Sword said...

Sarah Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska. She quit, Q-U-I-T, as in walked off the job, gave up and bailed out. If she gets elected or appointed to any position of leadership, what will stop her from crumbling under the pressure again?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I agree completely that her political future was seriously, if not fatally, compromised when she quit her job as Governor of Alaska.

All the more reason that we should take notice of the fact that she has never gone away, and that she can still influence elections, and that she has earned some grudging respect from liberals.