At moments — that is how the talking head circles preface comments on Palin’s sit down with Gibson. At moments she was on her game, upbeat, on point. Even repeating her theme song on the ‘bridge to nowhere’.
Other moments? We are told she stumbled. Why, she could not even name
the new President of Pakistan the so-called Bush Doctrine. Although, as our friend Anon noted under the earlier Brooks post, oddly most foreign policy professionals themselves all give different descriptions. (Even Krauthammer can be right by sheer accident).
One Palin interview does not a political phenomenon neutralize. Yet is it really about her? Or is Palin herself a surrogate for internal Democrat deflation. When they know this one should be an Adelman-esque ‘cake walk’. Even E.J. Dionne realizes that something else is at work:
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Obama has lost control of this campaign. And he will not seize back the initiative with the sometimes halting, conversational and sadly reluctant sound bites he has been producing. The excitement Obama created at the beginning of the year has vanished, perhaps because his campaign (and, yes, many columnists) bought into the McCain campaign’s demonization of the big rallies. Absurdly, McCain is now contesting the terrain of change — and doing so at celebrity rallies of his own.
This moment eerily resembles the situation in 1988 when George H.W. Bush used his convention to define the campaign and never again ceded the agenda to Democrat Michael Dukakis.
No argument here that the Boy King needs to get his smackdown going. We’ve said as much.
Doing it smart is another matter. The new McCain age commercials (although updated from the primaries) *at this time* exude more than a whiff of desperation and panic.
To create a new equilibrium, the Boy King needs fresh compelling visuals of his own to re-charge his narrative. We’re still with Mike Deaver when he was Reagan’s image czar.
He told an exasperated Leslie Stahl back in the day (paraphrasing) – “Leslie, no one is going to care about your vocal/reporting voiceovers [criticizing Reagan]. We want and you give us the visuals. That’s all that matters.” So, too, with Palin. Troops to Iraq to fight those who attacked us? Ultra Neocon on Georgia? Details lost in the white noise.
Her visual narrative (beyond the personal phenotype) are intimate, relatable and simply overwhelm the Boy King’s mass adulatory persona. It is the perfect corrisve acid — for the moment. Small town in Alaska? Her large family she raised from a young age? Hockey games? Putting things on eBay? Happily hunting? A childhood sweet heart husband who loves to snowmobile?
How many Americans have any idea what Harvard is like? Let alone being on a silly law review (we say that being ‘not unfamiliar’ with ‘helping to run’ a peer law review)? Forget the Rightist ‘Muslim’ and ‘Hussein’ innuendo. Or the Kenyan or Indonesia biographical details. Let’s assume Axelrod et a. did well countering with Kansas, etc.
Almost every Boy King visual and accompanying narrative since Iowa is a crescendo of mass. Mass crowds. Presumptuous foreign trips with network anchors in tow. Visuals of thousands of Germans, etc. (which if one thinks about can cut a couple of different ways in the subconscious). Mega rock star appearances in a 75,000 seat stadium with Flavian adornments, fireworks, etc. (Sadly, Pink Floyd’s laser show must have been on the road elsewhere).
How many Americans can relate to that? And isn’t that quasi imperial mass scale exactly what the Wardlord gave us for eight years? By contrast, storms in the Gulf aside, the Republican unwitting and improvised simplicity in St. Paul created intimacy. Antidote to the Boy King’s balloon.
Palin herself we think is just a stand in. We suspect there are those who disagree with Palin on this or that. Or are appalled she was chosen at all. We believe these same people ironically also feel good about her. Why? She smiles in the arena, happily sharing her new and fresh visuals like someone-they-know, cheerfully dissolving mass foundations of Boy King inevitability.
In the end, we do agree with Bubba. Dionne is wrong. It is 1980, not 1988. Americans are trying to make up their minds. Choose an unknown (and because of the mass visuals) with little feel? Or go with the familiar, likely disappointing, but predictable warhorse. Palin’s visual narrative will not determine this ultimate choice. But she has thrown the Boy King off his game. And erased ‘Dole’ from the ticket — as of now.