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Response to Nate Silver’s Take on Palin

John on February 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Nate Silver thinks Sarah Palin needs help:

Is it a big deal that Palin wrote some notes on her hand? No, not really. Lots of politicians carry notes with them (if not, as in Palin’s case, literally on them). If this were Mitt Romney, it wouldn’t have been a particularly big story. Nevertheless, politics is inherently contextual, and this was something that was bound to play into every negative caricature of Mrs. Palin. Somebody needed to take Palin aside and tell her: Honey, this is going to make you look ridiculous. Can’t you write on a notecard instead?

I suppose he has a point, but it’s a pretty thin one. There are really two Sarah Palin’s out there. There’s the one that her supporters see: Gutsy hockey mom willing to take on the world for everyday folks. And then there’s the one the media both revealed and created in the last election: Underprepared student boxing out of her weight class.

Of course the fact is that Palin is a bit of both. She really was underprepared. She also really is gutsy and tough in a way that is admirable and even enviable. But few people are apparently capable of seeing both sides of Sarah Palin. Her friends see her one way, her enemies the other and never the twain shall meet.

Two questions for Nate Silver:

  1. Do you think the ink on her hand helps or hurts with her friends?
  2. Do you think wiping the ink off would have helped her with her critics?

On #1, I say it helps. One more example of her being a regular person. One more example of liberal media over-reach in an attempt to bring her down (one that will fail like all the others, btw).

On #2, I’m going to say no. They will inevitably find something to complain bitterly about. If she looks great it’ll be “I wonder what her wardrobe cost?” If she’s slick and polished “Doesn’t really fit her image as an outsider.” If she’s real and raw: “She’s not ready for the big stage.”

The point is, this is a game she can not win. So there’s really no point in trying and Nate’s apparently well-meaning advice is really just wishful thinking. The basher won’t go away. They will always, always find a new excuse.

Briefly, a few thoughts on the rest of Nate’s list:

Somebody needed to tell Palin that, you know what, it’s OK to criticize Rush Limbaugh once in a while.

She did, albeit mildly. She suggested that his language was immature and unnecessary.

Somebody needed to tell Palin that, if she were hellbent on quitting as Alaska’s governor, she at least needed to take the time to develop a competent exit strategy and a coherent farewell speech.

Can’t argue with that one in principle. It was impulsive, though ultimately, not the strike out her opponents hoped for. So far, her plan seems to be working out rather well.

Somebody needed to tell Palin that it wasn’t going to do any good to get into a he-said, she-said with an attention-starved 19-year-old who was getting ready to pose nude for Playgirl.

The 19 year old only had a voice because the media was intent on giving him one. Why? To bash Palin of course. They don’t need an excuse. Given that it wasn’t going to stop regardless, Palin was right to fight back. That’s how I see it. That’s how a lot of people see it.

Somebody needed to sit down with Palin and consider whether, for a candidate who gets significant leverage out of the sense that she’s been persecuted by the mainstream media, becoming a correspondent for one of the mainstream media networks was going to be helpful to her in the long run.

I don’t know where Nate Silver is on the whole “war on Fox News” but I think most people see a bright line between working for Fox and joining the MSM. I actually think Nate sees that line too. There’s no downside for her joining Fox. In fact, this seems like an attempt to pad the list.

Somebody needed to make sure that Sarah Palin was ready for the Katie Couric interview, or needed to find some excuse to cancel it.

Agreed. But that decision was not made by Palin but by her paid advisers, the ones Nate says she needs more of around her. The same ones who have been hounding her ever since, writing stories about her being a prima donna, etc. Could it be that the “managed Palin” experience during and since the campaign is precisely why she is intent on going it alone? I think so. I think she’s made that pretty clear actually, hence the book titled Going Rogue.

Nate left out a bunch more examples. Being filmed in front of the turkey slaughterhouse is an obvious one. But again…does this hurt her with her friends? Would not doing it help with her enemies?

What I saw in her Fox News Sunday appearance was a woman who has become far more competent in the last 18 months. She’s much better at talking the talk now. She’s much better at expressing herself without the awkward pauses and lapses in sentence structure. At this rate of growth, I expect Palin is going to be a formidable campaigner by 2012. By then, all of this garbage about writing on her palm is going to be old news with little traction. Honestly, I think she has a real chance to be Vice President in a few years if Barack Obama continues to implode. In fact, I predict a rematch with Katie Couric about two years from now. And I further predict Palin will kick her ass.

Addendum: I love Palin’s response to this latest media assault:

From a photo today. It reads “Hi Mom!”

[HT: Hot Air headlines]

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