Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Can Palin Still Do Retail?

Can Palin Still Do Retail?

There is so much Palin commentary out there from so many angles that the mind boggles, and I wan't planning on piling on even more. But this comment from Walter Shapiro stands out:
White House dreamers whom nobody has ever heard of like, say, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, need years to build a national fundraising network and to visit all of Iowa's 99 counties. But the joy of being Sarah Palin is that she never has to feign enthusiasm while talking to 14 elderly Iowa Republicans in a cafe in Sac City. When you are the celebrity candidate, you do not deign to speak in a venue smaller than a high-school gymnasium unless it is a real-people photo op.

Ah yes, the strategy that worked so well for Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

I remain absolutely convinced that the resignation is a 2012 move and that Palin is not only a significant contender, she's a plausible nominee. (Not a plausible president or an electable general election candidate, but it's not my job to save the GOP from its mistakes.)

What else have they got? Huckabee and Romney are undamaged, but my Grand Unifying Theory remains: The Money Republicans veto economic populist Huckabee and the Jesus Republicans veto "cult member" Romney.

So scratch them (Jindal does a second term and runs in `16) and all the Republicans have left is anti-Obama. And Palin, the second top tier national figure to emerge from my generation (she may yet prove to be a Ferraro-esque footnote) is a virtual antithesis of Obama: Rural where he is urban, state college vs. Ivy League, Wal-Mart vs. Whole Foods... I could go on, but if anti-Obama is what they want, well, there she is.

So Sarah -- can I call ya Sarah? Good, because I practiced some zingers where I call ya Sarah -- we'll be seeing you in Iowa. We've seen you here before, but that was rallies at airport hangars. That's not Iowa. Iowa is that Pizza Ranch in Pole Bean or Courthouse Center where people actually expect to meet you and talk with you at length. They have questions and expect specific, detailed answers, and they grumble if the event was scheduled at 5:30 and you aren't there at 6:20.

Parachuting in as a regal celebrity candidate won't work. It didn't work for Hillary, it didn't work for Fred or Rudy on your side (and speaking of Rudy, remember that farm family in Anamosa that he stood up? No? Well, they remember in Anamosa.) No, it was Mike Huckabee, the little engine who could, and Barack Obama, who drew the crowds as a rock star but won the thing as the ultimate community organizer, who prevailed.

We know you can do retail. You wouldn't have gotten to be a small-town mayor or a small-state governor if you couldn't. But if you want to get past Iowa, you have to do it all over again. Question is, after this ten month sled ride, can you still do it? Do you still want to do it? If you don't want to do it, can you force yourself to anyway?

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