The Palin Trap
I haven't been blogging much here for a few reasons. One, I'm job hunting. Two, I'm blogging up a storm at The Detroit News on the premise that I'm reaching the most McCain supporters there. Three, I've been arguing for days with libertarians. And four, I've been doing a lot of research on Sarah Palin, trying to figure out the GOP strategy beyond the obvious ploy of keeping her away from the media in any sort of unscripted format in order to avoid a Fred Thompsonesque crash. I've come to the conclusion that we've walked into an incredibly intricate, Rovian trap that is breathtaking in the scope of its long range planning.
The current, carefully built narrative speaks of a hasty and rash pick, plucking a fragile and shallow neophyte, unprepared to battle with the big guns of the Village out of the wilds of Alaska, who nonetheless is showing her mettle and proving her critics wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, she's been in politics for a long time and from her tiny fiefdom in Wasilla to the statehouse in Juneau, she has demonstrated a strong ability to practice the ruthless politics of personal destruction. She forms alliances of convenience and does not hesitate [sic] to stab her allies in the back to further her own goals.
As McCain might say, she's learned her dirty tricks at the feet of some the most corrupt politicians in the USA. She was cozy with the Murkowskis, bowing out in one state Senate race and working to elect his daughter, ultimately being rewarded for her 'team spirit' with a patronage position as head of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which by the way pays a six figure annual income. Two years later, having gathered her oppo, she quit the commission, charged her enemies, now including Murkowski, with corruption and developed the 'ethical maverick,' corruption buster storyline that ultimately carried her into the governor's office.
Then there's her long association with with the king of corruption, Ted Stevens, including as a founding member of his 527 PAC. She had plenty of national press experience in the long course of Stevens' indictment. Blue NC uncovered a joint press conference she gave with him that appears to have been with local media. But if you watch the whole thing, where they address their ongoing association despite Sarah's public criticism of him, it speaks volumes on how practiced she really is in spinning. She's clearly learned much from him, though you can tell from her body language she doesn't like him a bit. He's just another convenient ally, but he's too big to take down -- yet.
But beyond all that, the GOP has had their eye on her for a very long time. Back in July of 07, Fred Barnes did a gushing profile piece on her, where he was already building the hockey mom meme. The piece reveals, among the endless flattery, that she is no stranger to the politics of personality. Her whole career has been built on it and a key element is avoiding too much exposure to the public and the press.Her campaign for governor was bumpy. She missed enough campaign appearances to be tagged "No Show Sarah" by her opponents. She was criticized for being vague on issues. But she sold voters on the one product that mattered: herself.In other words, (forgive me feminist readers for saying this) she traded on her looks and her personality to get what she wanted. She's not so much an achiever, as I've seen posited elsewhere, as she is a master manipulator. In December of 07, Fred Barnes had this to say about her."What helps her obviously is that she's a woman, she's attractive, she's a conservative, she has a strong record of integrity, she's a spending-cutter, she's not a tax-raiser, and those things obviously would help," Barnes said. "I'm not sure she's ready to be vice president, yet, however."Notice the continued building of the current narrative. But, two days ago, Fred had this to say.Palin shouldn't be shackled by her conservatism. True, she's a committed social conservative strongly opposed to abortion. But the portrait of her as a right-wing zealot painted by the mainstream media isn't accurate. In her short career, Palin has raised taxes, bailed out a failing state-run milk enterprise, and worked to keep federal money flowing to Alaska. She's conservative, but not that conservative. [...]It looks to me like the strategy is to paint her as 'true' bi-partisan, willing to embrace Democratic strategies to get the job done, when they finally unveil her to the media. And Leftopia and the media just spent the last week and a half building that narrative for them. Sure smells like a trap from where I sit and we walked right into it.
So how in the world could this 44-year-old woman with no national political experience handle the whole thing with poise and composure and seeming effortlessness? Simple. She's a natural, gifted with the ability to connect with people in a way that few politicians can and to perform under extreme pressure. She has star quality.
Palin Is A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing!
Over at Newshoggers they are talking about what I mentioned earlier: that Sarah Palin is no neophyte, and we must be cautious!