One Democrat realist gets it about Sarah Palin

A shocking dissent from the party line on Sarah from one of the wiliest, most experienced wielders of power that the Democratic Party has ever fielded, a man who also knows a thing or two about charisma. A senior statesman warns his compatriots to stop dreaming about the woman from Wasilla, and wise up.

Willie Brown, who essentially ran the state government of California as (sequentially) head of both houses of the legislature, and then went on to run the city of San Francisco as mayor, writes about Sarah Palin's "brilliant move" in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The pundits are wrong. Conventional wisdom is wrong. Sarah Palin's decision to step down as Alaska governor was a brilliant move.

Palin has some of the best political instincts I have ever seen. She became a pop-culture superstar overnight when John McCain made her his veep pick, and she's still second only to President Obama among politicians the public is interested in. Even in liberal San Francisco, she'd be front-page news if she ever came to town.

But that kind of celebrity comes at a high price. What a lot of people don't know is that Palin entered Alaska politics as a reformer attacking the corruption of the state's Republican establishment. As such, she was the darling of the Democrats - until she hooked up with McCain.

After the election, with Palin back home but positioning herself for a 2012 presidential run, it was clear she would catch nothing but ridicule from Alaska's Democrats. It was not going to be pretty.

In my decades watching politics in California, I came to have a grudging respect for Willlie Brown. The man absolutely takes over a room when he enters it. The magnitude of his charisma is stunning, and he knows how to use it. He is also crafty and ruthless, and was properly feared when he held political power, by friend and enemy alike. I have seen implacable foes fold their cards after a private meeting with the man.

If I were a Democrat, I would pay close attention to the lesson he is trying to teach. At this point in his life, Willie Brown can tell the truth as he sees it, and the man knows as much about the fundamentals of politics as anyone alive.

Hat tip: Jack Kemp
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