Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sarah Palin: Pathway to Presidency

Sarah Palin and her husband Todd with Ina Boucher, Alaska's "Teacher of the Year."

There are many Americans (and I'm one) who think that Gov. Sarah Palin, who recently announced that she's seven months pregnant, needs to do to win the presidency in 2012 or 2016. Of course, one thing she could "do" is to get the Republican nomination for the vice-presidency, but that's beyond her capacity to control. Does she want to become President? You betcha! The following are my thoughts on the steps she should take.

Realizing that we Republicans are underdogs in 2008 and that Sarah Palin would dearly love to be President of these United States . . .

There are many things Sarah (and backers) need to do, including her establishing a Political Action Committee (PAC) designed to help Republican candidates in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Learing how to raise large sums of money will be beneficial when she wages a national campaign.
She also needs to do what is necessary to make the Keynote Speech at the Republican Convention in Minneapolis -- remembering that Obama's address in 2004 was his launching pad for his presidential campaign. The Keynote Speech is essential, and she must make it a barn-burner, perhaps with a theme like the following: "Stand Up America for all that's good and right about our country."

If possible, her son, Track, a U.S. Army Infantry Soldier, should be there in uniform. At the conclusion of the remarks, her entire family should be on the stage. Track is part of the "Sarah Narrative," because he joined the Army on 9/11/2007.

She also needs to do a book (one with lots of pics of Todd, Track, Baby Palin, little Piper, Bristol, and Willow ). It could/should be an "as told to" kind of book with a professional writer, perhaps someone a lot like super-blogger S J Reidhead or even yours truly. The book would be one of many ways she can introduce herself to the American people. It could be reissued in 2011, with new chapters.

Sarah likes to play a coy role when it comes to national office, but she must shed that tendency. The way to win the presidential nomination is to seize it with both hands. Thus, she has to decide this year if she wants the presidency enough to go after it with every fiber of her being.

She should talk to a diverse group of people who can provide good advice about what's necessary for her to wage a winning campaign. Some of those individuals should be significant Republicans including pollster Frank Luntz, Charlie Black (veteran of many campaigns and now working with Senator McCain), and Karl Rove. The latter can tell her what elements of his strategy (heavy on bringing out evangelicals) work and which need modification.

She also has to reach out to some people who are not yet household names but know a lot about contemporary political realities. One of those people should be Adam Brickley, from Colorado Springs, who launched the amazing Draft Sarah Palin Movement. Adam is a fount of good sense when it comes to practical politics. Sarah also could benefit from a discussion with Sharon Caliendo of Norman, Oklahoma, a woman who's a marvellous organizer and knows everything about Oklahoma and Texas politics.

Cindy Reidhead, mentioned above, is a person who can tell Sarah all there is to know about online politics. People with high-traffic blogs, and that includes Cindy, know the other high-traffic blogs, which are very helpful in launching viral marketing efforts.

People like Sharon, Adam, and Cindy are critical because Sarah is going to need a massive volunteer effort. Alaska is not the greatest place to raise big money.

In that regard, I hope Sarah and Carly Fiorina (Republican fundraiser and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard), who can raise lots of cash, become "new best friends." Conducting a national campaign is a lot like running a big business, and Carly knows all about that.

There are many factors in American politics, including the increased importance of Independents, that are working in Sarah's favor. She has none of the negatives associated with someone like Hillary Clinton. She has all the positives -- and more -- of someone like Ronald Reagan. She could be a big winner in a national election.

Sarah, please begin the quest today. When your son and his friend left for infantry training, you told them, "We have your backs." In the case of your run for the presidency, we have yours.

Why Obama Should Make You Fearful

(Beginning of Tomorrow's Column)

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . nameless, unreasoning fear." (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

"Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience. I will bring a lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002 [against the federal legislation authorizing the use of force in Iraq]." Recent statement by Senator Clinton

As you may have noticed, Barack Obama likes to criticize his rivals -- Hillary Clinton and John McCain -- for supposedly using the "fear card." In fact, Obama makes me fearful because of his unwillingness to comprehend the world in which we live -- one where a certain amount of fear is justified.

As FDR suggested long ago, the kind of fear we can do without is the "nameless, unreasoning" kind -- not the type that has a name and a clear rationale. (More to come)

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