What Mike Deaver And Sarah Palin Might Have In Common

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.

Palin Into The Ring

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.


  1. Comment says

    Pat employs ‘the Schlafly denial’ as plot point – but it’s rather underwhelming. The dagger does not rise.

  2. Comment says

    Look how Pat sets up a Grimms fairy tale construct for Fair Sarah:

    “Will the neocons who tutored George W. Bush in the ideology he pursued to the ruin of his presidency do the same for Sarah Palin?

    Should they succeed, they will destroy her. Yet, they are moving even now to capture this princess of the right and hope of the party.

    In St. Paul, Palin was told to cancel a meeting with Phyllis Schlafly and pro-life conservatives. McCain’s operatives said Palin had to rest for her Wednesday convention speech.

    Yet, on Tuesday, Palin was behind closed doors with Joe Lieberman and officials of the Israeli lobby AIPAC. There, according to the Washington Post, Palin took and passed her oral exams.”

  3. DrLeoStrauss says

    re Palin sports tape — almost seemed like it should be a VH1 pop up video. It would have been perfect if someone in the background had a mullet. And maybe a Bangles t shirt . . .

  4. Comment says

    Just a side note – Carly Fiorina is really a clown. Thank God for that – Recall, she also brought up birth control a while back.

    A puzzle – Fiorina defenders always stressed her sense of PR and design being important as HP’s future (rather than R & D) – Alas, she has become a liability for McCain.

  5. Comment says

    We find a lot of these tabloid stories about the Palin’s regretable – But so far the tabs have just scratched the surface of the Alaska social scene. ANyway – it is very true that Obama’s family seeming to be pretty clean has led to one of these interesting culture war swaps wherein clean living becomes elite and the right has embraced the hard partying Alaskans. The ironies of American life are endless – One wrinkle has been the undo attention Todd Palins two decade old run in with the law – while Cheney’s was ignored. There is some sort of insider DC dynamic at work in how these things are evaluated. Some sort of formula that involves Cokie Roberts and Sally Quinn deciding who they like and don’t like and why.

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