Friday, March 6, 2009

Sarah Palin: Political Strategy 2009

Most hilarious opinion survey in history: Opinion Research did a survey for FOX, and here's one of thigh-slappers it produced. When asked where the government gets its money, 65% said it got it from taxes on wage-earners and businesses. Twenty-four percent affirmed (I love this) "The government has its own money." Eleven percent said either that it got it from some other source (aliens? payoffs from lobbyists?) or that they just didn't know. I wonder whether to worry more about the 24% that think the government has a night job or the 11% who are totally clueless.

Just before the last election, the BBC in London had me on their early morning radio show and the subject was "low-knowledge voters." These are people who arent's knowledgable about politics, candidates, the issues -- or, in fact, anything of importance. The Opinion Research survey shows us exactly what the lowest of low-knowledge voters don't know.

At some point, and I don't think that time is now, Sarah should be speaking out on Obama-nomics, his disastrous economic policies. She's wise with her approach of being in the limelight occasionally (interviews once or twice a month with conservative or centrist national media) and being out of it most of the time. Throughout much of 2009, third-parties (us on the blogosphere, FOX news, other conservative outlets) should carry much of the load of criticizing Obama.

Talk radio people (Rush, Glenn, Sean, Laura, and their local counterparts) should keep up a constant drumbeat of criticism, although their focus should always be Obama's policies and his associates, not the man himself. (More advice next week for talk-radio people.)

Practically speaking, Sarah must let the "Obama honeymoon" continue to unfold (and, eventually, unravel). The election didn't occur that long ago, and she doesn't want to be seen as a sore loser. Any criticisms she makes of Obama -- and this doesn't hold for people like me -- should be in tone of "helpfulness." Actually, of course, she wants to "help" Obama fail -- as he is, as he will continue to do. She wants to position herself as an attractive alternative to BHO, as the angel of real, effective change.

In terms of specifics, Obama's approval rating (about 60%) is still too high for sharp criticism to be effective. Most Americans want to "give him a chance," mainly because they can't see any alternatives. They know he's going to be around for four more years. They mistakenly confuse his success with America's. Limbaugh needs to continue simplifying his point on hoping Obama fails. The way I've put it is, "If Obama succeeds, America fails." Or, "If Obama's extreme agenda succeeds, Americans lose freedom and opportunity." She should not into detail.

When he goes below 50% in approval rating -- and that sould happen late this year -- Sarah's criticism should be sharper and relatively continual. Until then, she should be proposing constructive alternatives to Obama's "Socialism Lite." She needs to stay away from abstractions, such as "he wants to redistribute the wealth," and personalize it, "He wants to take your money and your children's money and give it to other people." She needs one-syllable words and short sentences -- "zingers."

Most of all, she doesn't want to suffer from over-exposure. Remember, part of Sarah's charm is her role as "the Mystery Lady from the Northland."

Gov. Ed Rendell of PA is admittedly, a vote-buying, semi-socialist type who never saw a tax increase he didn't like. However, he's also a very savvy politician, and he said of Sarah, "She has great political instincts." He's absolutely correct. Lately, Sarah's instincts have been telling her to take a lower profile -- not to be invisible, but to be less visible. That will also help strengthen her situation in Alaska, where the people -- some of whom act like little more than children -- can get the idea that Sarah is paying sufficient attention to them.

Those of in the "Sarah Movement" never tire of her. We may wish we had "all Sarah all the time." But she needs to be very calculating about media appearances. My view is that never again -- even if she ends up getting electing President -- should she waste her time with people like Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson. CBS. for example, is in nearly as bad shape as Ciitigroup and GM. There's no reason to prop up Katie or other Obama shills.

Right now, the most important thing she can do is to raise money for SarahPac -- lots of money. She needs to determine exactly which candidates she wants to help. A good "first candidate" would be Jim Tedisco, the Republican state assembly leader in New York who's running for the vacant congressional seat in New York's 20th District. It's an important race (for a seat perviously held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand). Also, it's in an area of New York (Albany, Saratoga Springs, Hudson Valley) that's friend to Sarah and her views. Sarah has a great chance to carry New York in the 2012 "Super Tuesday" primary.

She should concentrate appearances (over the next three years) in states she must win, including FL (crucial), VA, NC, NM, CO, NV, OH (crucial), and perhaps PA.

Why am I concerned about over-exposure for Sarah? Consider what happened to Hillary Clinton, who had certainly been around -- and in the news for a long time. By 2007, the media was tired of her. She was old news. Some journalists speculated that the nation was suffering from "Clinton fatigue." In contrast, Obama was "the new guy in town," someone who was "bold and fresh," to steal Bill O'Reilly's phrase.

Sarah doesn't want to become old news. When a conservative journalist wants to interview her -- and go to Alaska to do so -- she should cooperate if it's in her interest to do so. When a left-wing journalist (or someone like Oprah, wants to chat, Sarah should find some an excuse to say no.

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