June 15, 2009
Sarah Palin, the 21st Century 'It' Girl
The best and the brightest on the left go into politics. The best on the right run their own businesses. So it is no surprise that the left is far more adept, even expert at the art of hardball politics. And they are telling us something profound.
The left is telling us something many feel, many find as a hunch, that Sarah Palin is the most dangerous threat to the Obama administration with no close second. The left is telling us this by their "over the top" attacks. Not just the Letterman assaults, but the constant barrage of grievances filed against her in Alaska. The attacks every day on Palin for no apparent reason -- except that the left seems to see her quite differently from any Republican candidate. A difference of kind, not of degree.
They would never do this to Romney, Huckabee or Newt, at least not to this level. There is a clear reason -- these guys couldn't fill up a high school stadium unless they were giving out free beer.
What is the Sarah difference? Well, it's not the issues, at least that is not all of it. It is the charisma factor. Charisma is not learned, it is innate. One is born with it and no amount of training can inject it. Jack Kennedy had it. So did Reagan. Now Obama. Out of the thousands of politicians who have come and gone over the last generation, not one other person has shown "it."
Money is no longer the life blood of politics. Charisma is. Charisma can raise money overnight; money far beyond what a tired, inarticulate incumbent can raise from rich donors.
When you have "it," the conventional rules no longer apply. Reagan was vilified in 1976 and few thought he could ever be president. No matter how the liberals berated him as a "dumb actor" who made chimp movies and the actor who never got the girl, he just looked the American people in the eye, gave them a dose of common sense and it was over. Carter went on to build low income houses and a life of obscurity punctuated by mischief.
The street fighting, world class, lifelong political experts of the left see "it" and it makes them crazy. They went crazy for Obama; they are going crazy for Palin, although in the other direction.
Palin could fill a stadium if she were reciting a cookbook. But she isn't. She is delivering common sense to an electorate that is becoming ever more jaded every day with the Obama nonsense. Miranda rights for terrorists? $4 trillion deficit?
Look at the blow she delivered with one phrase about "styrofoam columns" and imagine what she can do with the material Obama has recently given her.
Opposing Palin's values has no payoff for the left. They oppose those values for any conservative. They have to destroy her. And that is her power because they can't destroy her.
Whenever she chooses, she will take her first trip to Iowa to campaign for some obscure congressional candidate, and when she does, the liberal media cannot ignore the screaming crowds. And they will not be crowds manufactured by an advance team. They will be fired up mothers, working people who do not want to pay for deadbeats' mortgages, people who are now going to grass roots tea parties.
The television age gives "it," charisma, more power than ever before. Charisma is magnified through television. How else to explain how a 2 year senator few knew could derail Hillary in a few months. How else to explain how an anti-charisma John McCain, someone television does not flatter or magnify, saw his crowds surge when Palin was next to him. Palin, an obscure, unknown governor of our most distant and most unknown state, walked onto the national stage and ignited a burst of energy that may well have taken McCain over the top, until his Queeg-like pausing of his campaign to work on a financial crisis and then vote for a bailout.
The landscape is now quite different. There are tens of millions of people who never voted for Obama, telling their friends "don't blame me." There is a growing number who did vote for Obama who have lost their jobs at car dealerships, who have not found work yet even after the massive spending, and there are those who just say "...this is not the change I had in mind."
Some thought McCain would be the anti-charisma candidate against the charisma candidate and that would work. Now we may be lining up for the common sense charisma campaign against the nonsense charisma.
The left is telling us something and they are the experts. They are telling us not to make Palin the conservative candidate because if we do, it will be humiliating. I agree with them and I take them at their word.
It will be the undoing of Obama, and it may be overwhelming.
Jay Valentine blogs at jayvalentine.com.