PALIN: The Reagan Effect?

Reagan may have been an actor but Palin at least did some sportscasting. She can learn her lines pretty well and I really do not think she is stupid. Ignorant and incurious, yes, but not stupid. She was thrust not only into a national scene without any previous thought or preparation about national and international issues, and held to knowing and suporting a list of positions held by the top of the ticket that she didn’t necessarily agree with. Very few would fail to burn in that crucible.

Next time up she has a chance to get more fully prepped on issues. And to call them her own.

Step one is winning a primary - having the support of the social conservatives is always a good way to start on that path. She’ll have to compete with Huckabee, and Jindal - both pretty solid with the social conservative crowd too - and Romney will likely be the poster boy for the forces who want to go more moderate and emphasize fiscal restraint.

If she gets over that hurdle then maybe she’ll be able to play culture wars effectively enough to be a threat in a general.

The odds of her success depend more on who decides to manage her, and how they decide to do it, more than on her, herself. And what happens under Obama’s turn up. As Sam points out. If the bus isn’t adequately pushed out of the ditch it has been driven into by then a new “throw the bums out” mindset may come right up. And we are in a pretty deep and muddy ditch.

It’s an interesting question. Will Pain somehow manage to screw us all over? I remember being most afraid of McCain as GOP nominee, yet he seems to be pretty weak. We feel that Palin would be weak, but really who the hell knows.

I was too young to remember Reagan’s general effect on the electorate, but I feel that he wasn’t so mean-spirited and catty like Palin is. I associate Reagan with a guy who is very folksy and almost disarming with his demeanor. He could kill you with kindness I guess is the way it has always been presented to me.

Palin couldn’t be further from that, I believe. Palin only seems effective within her base of support. Her body-language an mannerisms seem aggressive. I just don’t see it.

Also I don’t think Reagan was ever so roundly ridiculed as Palin was. Palin has consistently flopped on interviews. Every week she’s the center of some kind of bad news for the campaign. How long would her campaign last? Discussing Alaskan politics is a lot easier than discussing politics in Iowa, New Hampshire, etc… If she wants to run, she better head to Iowa and NH on 11/5 to hopefully get a grasp of the stuff she needs to know.

She’s also a terrible bullshitter, meaning when she doesn’t know an answer she’s a deer in the headlights. Okay, maybe not a deer in the headlights, but she sounds like I used to write in high school when I tried to bullshit my way through a history test I hadn’t studied for. I knew all the key words, but never really knew how to put them together. That’s what she sounds like talking to Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, etc…

Obama is a connoisseur of bullshit. He’s even better than Bill Clinton, in my opinion. He can turn a question around so quickly that you even forget that he’s full of shit sometimes.

All I know is that I bet McCain is pissed he didn’t pick Huckabee. Huckabee would probably energize the base as much, but would be exponentially better than Palin with regards to the media. I disagree with everything that Huckabee is about, but I can’t help but like the guy. McCain was a fool to not pick him. He was never reputed to be on the shortlist, so maybe it was his choice to not be VP. I can’t imagine that though. He’s not too old to wait for 2016 though…

The point is though that Palin will need to do a lot of repair-work to undo the damage done to her name this election. If Huckabee runs it’ll give her problems. People love Palin for who she is. She’s a hot, conservative, assertive, up and coming politician. But what are her politics? What would her national politics look like? This is important. Huckabee could take it away from her because he seems like a better politician

That’s actually a pretty good point - I hadn’t considered her role in the campaign. On the other hand, a lot of pundits are suggesting that she’s doing this shit-stirring stuff in spite of McCain, rather than at his behest- that he created a monster he can no longer control. In other words, she’s already “her own woman”.

Whether that’s the librul media seeing what they want to see, or what’s really going on is another question entirely.

I think the most interesting aspect of the point you raised is what Reagan would have been like if he’d ever run for Vice President - how he’d be perceived had he ever had to play the attack-dog role himself.

That’s an excellent point: why wasn’t Huckabee touted more as a VP pick? In retrospect, it does seem that he would have appealed to some of Palin’s strengths–the religious right, the executive experience (both more than Palin, IMO)–plus he had been vetted by the public thoroughly in the primaries. All we heard was Romney or Pawlenty or the other usual suspects, but why didn’t McCain consider Huckabee for his running mate more? I wonder if he wouldn;t be doing much better right now.

I lived through the Reagan era, and he often came off as belligerent and mean, almost on a McCain-like grumpiness scale, though he did have a way of presenting his more mean-spirited policies in a folksy and charming way. Essentially, his charm was in being the Great Simplifier–he always had a straightforward, common sense solution to every problem, which is what many voters will go for, because they can understand it, even if it doesn’t take into account about 99% of the available data. A magical shield against Soviet missiles, millionaires sprinkling their wealth on down to the poor–his ideas were remarkably simple-minded, but he was able to act as if he believed in them and was able to sell them to the voters. I think Palin can learn to pull that off as well.

She already has, as has every other Republican candidate for major office since Reagan. Boiling complex things down to soundbites has been the bread-and-butter of Republican campaigning since Gingrich’s mini-revolution. Democrats try it too, but the truth is Republicans are just vastly superior at this.

See “flip-flopper”, “drill here, drill now”, etc.

Reagan stayed on script. Palin likes to talk too much. It will doom her.

I can’t believe anyone seriously thinks that Palin has anything like the kind of political talent Reagan had. Nothing doing. Palin is way, way out of her league, and I don’t see that changing.

Top 5 choices for Palin’s future

  1. Spokesperson for some cosmetics company (using the Newsweek photo as a “before” pic. “See how our product conceals unsightly wrinkles and facial blemishes!”)
  2. Weather forecaster for Alaska TV.
  3. Lobbyist for Alaska oil companies. Happy endings included.
  4. House wife. She might realize that all those kids need some attention, and grow weary of politics. (This is probably her most honorable choice by far.)
  5. Talking head for Fox News.

One thing that I think is very important about Palin, shallow though it is: She’s not going to be a hottie for much longer. Women in this culture have a pretty short shelf life.

I’m not saying most of her popularity is based on her looks. But I do think that a lot of the really fervent popularity is spurred by the contrast of politics and her looks. In other words, I think she’s seen as very very different because we’re not used to young, female politicians, good-looking or no. She contrasts with all men and most women.

In a few years, that contrast is going to be a lot less.

I think Palin has crossed a line in the popular consciousness that has rendered her a joke. Her infamous interview goof-ups, her accent and the SNL portrayals of her have left her looking like a punch-line to most of America. I think most Americans have reached a point where they would never, ever consider her for President. Outside of evangelical circles it’s hard to see her gaining traction. Nevertheless, those are big circles in the Republican party and her fame should help with fundraising. I just don’t see her being someone who could possibly win the general election.

I really think TV is where she belongs.

Me too, keep her away from politics - I see her in a show that is a mix between “Just the Ten of Us” and “Home Improvement”.

Extreme Governor’s Mansion Makeover!

Reagan was swept into office by the rising tide of an ideological conservative movement, which was a coalition of several different factions burying their differences to acheive common goals. That tide is receding, that coalition is beginning to fragment. The future – at least, the near future – belongs to the liberals – not because of any momentary fashion or pendulum-swing but because of deep-seated and permanent cultural and demographic shifts. Someone like Palin will never be POTUS in our lifetimes.

Palin’s entire foundation is built on sand. She can rail against the Democrat’s “socialist vision” all she wants, but the truth is Alaska is a socialist paradise right now. They tax the oil pumped in their state (a Time magazine op/ed piece described Alaska as “an adjunct member of OPEC”), fleece the rest of us out of our tax dollars, and disburse the windfall to their citizens. Palin is popular mostly because she upped the amount of the annual check they get.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we started suddenly hearing more about Jeb Bush in 2 or 3 years.

She may end up being an effective candidate with the small-town and hard-core conservative base, but I don’t see any way she could win the election. There have been far too many well-connected Republicans who have taken a look at Palin and said she’s not qualified to be President. It’s hard to see that she will gain the stature among the movers and shakers in the next four years to justify her as a serious candidate. For the Republicans to win the presidency, they have to rely on more than just the Palinites out there - they have to bring in the much more moderate pro-business faction, and I doubt that many of that group would give her much support.

Yes, well, there’s a rather insurmountable problem there . . .

I concur. Reagan made some gaffes on a state level, but by the time he hit the big screen had his act together. He was certainly annoying liberals while governor ( Ronald RayGun and his police state) but the public perception of him in 1980 was nothing like Palin currently.

This seems like 20/20 hindsight to me. Before being elected President, or before running in 1976, Reagan was a comical/frightening figure to most leftwingers. He was the voice of discredited Goldwaterism, a shrill, monotonous mouthpiece for right-wing nutter ideas, repealing New Deal “big guvmint,” doing away with Medicare and other attempts to turn our culture socialistic, returning us to a nostalgic time that had been long since dead and buried etc.

Since his election, and his administration, he has acquired retrospective gravitas he simply did not have in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, one of my first published articles in a metropolitan newspaper was entitled “What country are you moving to if Reagan’s elected?” in the fall of 1980, simply because most people I knew couldn’t even get their minds around the notion that such a simple-minded clown could be elected. (The best answer I got was from a poet who claimed he would fly around the world sucking up the lifeblood of all the revolutionary movements. And, yes, he was a Transylvanian.)

Sure, lefties had that caricature of R.Reagan at that time, and he surely has been raised to golden calf levels in recent history. But conservatives didn’t share the perception of him being inept or unqualified…or if they did, never said much about it. Palin is getting slammed by intellectuals in her own party and your silent majority types are listening.

You say that like it’s a bad thing.
*bolding mine