For Palin, Fewer Rallies, More Retail

After Senator McCain lifts his campaign suspension, it's time for him to unshackle Sarah Palin.  In a close presidential election, giving Palin the green light to meet people where they live and work every day may prove to be the edge that bumps Senator McCain over the finish line.

The Alaska governor and former Mayor of Wasilla is darn good from a podium in front of a big crowd, but her greater strength lies in her untapped gift for connecting with voters one-on-one and in small groups.  The pros call it "retailing."       

The best hunch is that the McCain campaign is keeping Governor Palin close for a couple of important reasons.  First, it benefits Senator McCain to campaign with Palin.  No need to delve into her popularity with conservatives and the GOP's base.  Or to discuss her appeal to moderate to conservative independents.  

The woman is flat out charismatic, but not in the Obama-from-Olympus style, but in a much more powerful way: she's got the common touch.  She's average folk with an above average talent for politics.  She is performing superbly in an arena that's beyond most pay grades, to borrow from Barack Obama, but is doing so without forgetting where she came from or who she is: a small-town gal, wife, a hockey mom, a friend and a neighbor. 

Her luster shines admirably on Senator McCain, who has every right to be quietly proud of making her his running mate.  But the Senator has plenty of that shine already, enough to last the duration of the campaign.  Palin needs to campaign on her own now.       

The second reason is that the McCain campaign is rightfully concerned about what the establishment media will do if Palin is permitted to stump at the retail level.  For instance, letting Palin loose to sit in living rooms, visit schools and parks, eat at diners, tour shops and factories and speak at Kiwanis Clubs and American Legion Halls means the media is going to get closer.  The campaign can still manage media access, but not as strictly as it does now. 

Toward Palin, the establishment media is about like the Viet Cong: its waiting for any opportunity to lay booby traps and ambush the Governor.  For herd reporters, a Palin walk down Main Street is a fat chance to blow her to kingdom come - politically speaking, of course. 

But here, the McCain campaign's concerns and the establishment media's expectations may be exaggerated.  Frankly, Palin has already passed the toughest test: stepping from the relative obscurity of the Alaska state house into the national spotlight.  Lesser politicians would have melted knowing that tens of millions of curious Americans would be tuning in when Senator McCain announced one of them as his running mate.  Palin not only didn't melt, but excelled, and did so again during her speech at the Republican National Convention. 

Giving Palin a pass to visit with average Americans has some risks, but the rewards are significant.  The very same establishment media that wants to trip up the Governor will have to cover her forays into donut shops and church dinners.  Those pictures broadcast nightly will tell a more compelling story than dozens of speeches.  It gives her the chance to translate Senator McCain's positions into the everyday language that most Americans grasp.  It's a good bet that she'll prove to be far more capable of parrying "gotcha" questions than either the media or, perhaps, the McCain campaign appreciates. 

Palin may have been born in Idaho and raised in Alaska, but she's possesses all the characteristics and centeredness of a good Midwesterner.  Anyone who lives in the Midwest -- say, from western Pennsylvania clear across to the Corn Belt - knows a Sarah Palin.  

She's a teacher or principal at a local school; she's an insurance agent; she runs her own shop; or she's leading the PTA or active in her church.  She has strong values, focused on family, neighborhood and community.  Letting Palin roll up her sleeves and go to work in the pivotal states of Missouri and Ohio, for example, isn't a masterstroke but pure, simple common sense. 

Keep in mind that the cool and aloof Barack Obama is about as comfortable at a Friday night high school football game as a pro wrestler is at the ballet.  Messy hotdogs require a bib for the Illinois Senator.  Meanwhile, Joe Biden's gaffes and ham-handedness as he travels America are great comic relief.  His buffoonishness may make him more human, but most people don't identify with buffoons.  Strip off the grease paint and funny red nose and what do you find about Biden?   He's a Washington insider.  Biden was elected to the United States Senate at twenty-nine.  He may commute back and forth between Delaware and Washington, but with those many years inside the Beltway, he's got a "DC Sort of Mind."

Sarah Palin won't flub and stumble around America as Joe Biden is doing.  She won't have to stretch to "connect" with voters in the way Obama and Biden do. 

Senator McCain is connecting with average voters, too.  But he connects from his military service and having gone through the crucible of imprisonment and torture during the Vietnam War.  Sarah Palin compliments and completes the Arizona Senator's picture.  She relates to, and is appreciated by, everyday Americans not because of extraordinary sacrifice, but because of the daily small sacrifices and struggles -and triumphs - that make up most lives.  She's one of us.        

Senator McCain showed his mettle by picking Sarah Palin to be his running mate and by suspending his campaign to deal with the financial crisis.  In giving Sarah Palin the freedom to go where Americans live and work, he might think he's taking another risk, but at campaign's end, he'll see that he simply did the smartest and surest thing.
After Senator McCain lifts his campaign suspension, it's time for him to unshackle Sarah Palin.  In a close presidential election, giving Palin the green light to meet people where they live and work every day may prove to be the edge that bumps Senator McCain over the finish line.

The Alaska governor and former Mayor of Wasilla is darn good from a podium in front of a big crowd, but her greater strength lies in her untapped gift for connecting with voters one-on-one and in small groups.  The pros call it "retailing."       

The best hunch is that the McCain campaign is keeping Governor Palin close for a couple of important reasons.  First, it benefits Senator McCain to campaign with Palin.  No need to delve into her popularity with conservatives and the GOP's base.  Or to discuss her appeal to moderate to conservative independents.  

The woman is flat out charismatic, but not in the Obama-from-Olympus style, but in a much more powerful way: she's got the common touch.  She's average folk with an above average talent for politics.  She is performing superbly in an arena that's beyond most pay grades, to borrow from Barack Obama, but is doing so without forgetting where she came from or who she is: a small-town gal, wife, a hockey mom, a friend and a neighbor. 

Her luster shines admirably on Senator McCain, who has every right to be quietly proud of making her his running mate.  But the Senator has plenty of that shine already, enough to last the duration of the campaign.  Palin needs to campaign on her own now.       

The second reason is that the McCain campaign is rightfully concerned about what the establishment media will do if Palin is permitted to stump at the retail level.  For instance, letting Palin loose to sit in living rooms, visit schools and parks, eat at diners, tour shops and factories and speak at Kiwanis Clubs and American Legion Halls means the media is going to get closer.  The campaign can still manage media access, but not as strictly as it does now. 

Toward Palin, the establishment media is about like the Viet Cong: its waiting for any opportunity to lay booby traps and ambush the Governor.  For herd reporters, a Palin walk down Main Street is a fat chance to blow her to kingdom come - politically speaking, of course. 

But here, the McCain campaign's concerns and the establishment media's expectations may be exaggerated.  Frankly, Palin has already passed the toughest test: stepping from the relative obscurity of the Alaska state house into the national spotlight.  Lesser politicians would have melted knowing that tens of millions of curious Americans would be tuning in when Senator McCain announced one of them as his running mate.  Palin not only didn't melt, but excelled, and did so again during her speech at the Republican National Convention. 

Giving Palin a pass to visit with average Americans has some risks, but the rewards are significant.  The very same establishment media that wants to trip up the Governor will have to cover her forays into donut shops and church dinners.  Those pictures broadcast nightly will tell a more compelling story than dozens of speeches.  It gives her the chance to translate Senator McCain's positions into the everyday language that most Americans grasp.  It's a good bet that she'll prove to be far more capable of parrying "gotcha" questions than either the media or, perhaps, the McCain campaign appreciates. 

Palin may have been born in Idaho and raised in Alaska, but she's possesses all the characteristics and centeredness of a good Midwesterner.  Anyone who lives in the Midwest -- say, from western Pennsylvania clear across to the Corn Belt - knows a Sarah Palin.  

She's a teacher or principal at a local school; she's an insurance agent; she runs her own shop; or she's leading the PTA or active in her church.  She has strong values, focused on family, neighborhood and community.  Letting Palin roll up her sleeves and go to work in the pivotal states of Missouri and Ohio, for example, isn't a masterstroke but pure, simple common sense. 

Keep in mind that the cool and aloof Barack Obama is about as comfortable at a Friday night high school football game as a pro wrestler is at the ballet.  Messy hotdogs require a bib for the Illinois Senator.  Meanwhile, Joe Biden's gaffes and ham-handedness as he travels America are great comic relief.  His buffoonishness may make him more human, but most people don't identify with buffoons.  Strip off the grease paint and funny red nose and what do you find about Biden?   He's a Washington insider.  Biden was elected to the United States Senate at twenty-nine.  He may commute back and forth between Delaware and Washington, but with those many years inside the Beltway, he's got a "DC Sort of Mind."

Sarah Palin won't flub and stumble around America as Joe Biden is doing.  She won't have to stretch to "connect" with voters in the way Obama and Biden do. 

Senator McCain is connecting with average voters, too.  But he connects from his military service and having gone through the crucible of imprisonment and torture during the Vietnam War.  Sarah Palin compliments and completes the Arizona Senator's picture.  She relates to, and is appreciated by, everyday Americans not because of extraordinary sacrifice, but because of the daily small sacrifices and struggles -and triumphs - that make up most lives.  She's one of us.        

Senator McCain showed his mettle by picking Sarah Palin to be his running mate and by suspending his campaign to deal with the financial crisis.  In giving Sarah Palin the freedom to go where Americans live and work, he might think he's taking another risk, but at campaign's end, he'll see that he simply did the smartest and surest thing.