The Palin bubble is a bad strategy

The McCain campaign has tried to keep Palin from being exposed to most of the press. No press conferences. Very few interviews. Today they are apparently refusing to allow the press into her meetings with various people at the UN.

I think this is a horrible strategy by the campaign and I think it’s already taking its toll. People don’t know much about Palin and the campaign by keeping her incommunicado are allowing or forcing the press to overemphasize and overanalyze what we do know–and that’s not good for the McCain campaign.

If, on the other hand, she were blitzing the press, she would undoubtedly make errors and gaffes. Everyone does. But she would also be establishing her identity. The more someone talks, the less each individual word matters (see: Biden, Joe) and the less each small gaffe would impact the race.

Convince me I’m wrong!

I know I can’t. I won’t say I know a lot about her, but everything I hear about Palin I don’t like. Maybe if she had been out doing interviews I might change my opinion of her to “someone that should never be in the white house”. Thats as good as I can see it getting. Right now I think of her as someone that should just go away and never hold any public office.

Its fairly obvious that McCain and company are sgielding her from scrutiny because of her flaws and baggage. Which of course mean McCain made a bad decision in picking her. If he can’t even pick a running mate that isn’t riddled with problems why does anyone want him in charge of the country?

McCain’s bubble isn’t helping matters much either.

For a campaign touting change and government reform and transparency and a new Maverick attitude, their way of providing limited access sure seems horrifyingly similar the current administration.

The bad strategy was picking her, since the Palin bounce has already vanished and her negatives are increasing. People are making the correct conclusions by her and Todd stonewalling Troopergate.

Given that they screwed up, I can’t say the bubble is bad - it is an application of the old saying:
“Better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re an idiot rather than open it and prove it.”

From this point on any real interviewer won’t accidentally discover her ignorance - they’ll be looking for it.

I’m going to disagree to a limited extent. People are fascinated by mysteries, by unknown quantities, by blank spaces; they afford opportunity for speculation, and they provide a tabula rasa into which we can project ourselves. Not to mention, there’s the “I want to peel back the veil” factor, as we obsess about “finding things out.”

By keeping Palin largely hidden, the campaign has created a vortex of interest, as people work harder and harder to pierce the bubble and expose something recognizable as truth and/or fact. The more difficult it is to do this, the more energy is expended on the effort.

And the result is, the headlines and (especially) TV coverage is “all Palin, all the time,” which gives McCain a bit of collateral coverage in which he can deliver his message. More importantly, it has made it increasingly difficult for the Obama campaign to deliver its own message, let alone control the terms of its delivery. I mean, Joe Biden has been traveling and speaking up a storm, but he can’t even get a back-page paragraph in the newspaper; forget about a ninety-second slot on CNN or a headline blurb on Yahoo. The only time anybody pays even the slightest attention to him is when he condemns the “our opponent is old and out of touch” ad released by the Obama camp. The McCain machine has to be loving this.

Now, mind you, there are two caveats here:

First, I think the strategy is inadvertent, and that the McCain campaign sort of stumbled across it. They knew they had to keep Palin away from the spotlight until she was ready, and until they were sure she had thoroughly absorbed their preparatory efforts, lest she say or do something embarrassing. They saw the whirlwind of interest spin up, though, and, not being stupid, they recognized the opportunity, and have been exploiting it. They’re starting to put her on display now, but in very measured and carefully calibrated doses, all calculated to manipulate the media’s collective eye. They may not have set all of this up on purpose, but now that it’s happening, they’re milking it for all it’s worth.

Second, obviously, it could backfire in a big way. All it takes is one significant gaffe, one oversight, one easily grasped faux pas (more than not knowing the leader of Spain, which Joe Swingvoter doesn’t give a shit about, sadly) caught on videotape for endless looping, and that will rush into the vacuum and become the definition of her character. If that doesn’t happen, though, if the campaign is able to construct the narrative and identity they want, then she can be leveraged as a serious asset.

It’s a high-risk strategy, certainly. McCain is playing high-stakes poker here, and he knew, with all the negatives arrayed against the GOP in this election, that he was going to have to roll the hard six. He threw a big bet on the table, and is watching the roulette wheel spin.

That doesn’t make it a bad strategy.

It’s the best strategy they have. You saw how the Gibson interview went over, so I think they realized she is not going to perform well under press scrutiny. She does not have the time to become an expert on the issues, and in-depth scrutiny of her record does not match her talking points. Having her do a press tour would be disastrous. Better to avoid the press on the pretense that they will not give her a fair interview because they are sexist, liberal, etc. People always love to bitch about the media, and the media will not call McCain out on it. Remember, the strategy only has to work for a month or so.

Palin has relented! Hopefully something interesting will come out of the media coverage.

These guys are pretty heavy hitters.

What he didn’t realize, though, is that the dealer is required to hit on a soft seventeen.


According to the link, the media was escorted out after 40 seconds during the meeting with Karzai. Hope they had a chance to at least turn their cameras on.

As noted Palin has more to lose than to gain by making herself accessible to the media as things stand now.

The only hope is the media, frustrated by this tactic, turn on her and write only what they think they know and hammer her on Troopergate and rape kits and speaking in tongues and so on. If those become the only story the media reports because they’ve got nothing else then Palin will likely start making herself more accessible.

They certainly bitched about being excluded from her meetings, and the end result was that a few reporters were allowed in. Seems to me that the press is also calling McCain out on many of his commercials.

While Palin is still a blank in some ways, I think the bloom is off the rose. With the economy dominating the news lately, I think the number of people who give a crap about her gender or her glasses or her moose hunting or her pregnant daughter has dropped dramatically.

I always think this is a shady strategy and bad for the public in general, regardless of whether it works. In fact I don’t care if it works, I hate it when candidates try to manipulate the press this way.

The Pain bubble is a bad strategy

Welcome to the Bubble of Pain. I hope you do not enjoy your stay.

But that was so two weeks ago. This week it is all financial meltdown all the time, and no one even cares about her opinion of that. In fact it stresses her lack of qualifications. McCain is not doing so well either, but imagine what Palin would say if she was out on the stage.

Meanwhile, there is the drip, drip, drip of Troopergate. People draw certain conclusions when those under investigation refuse to testify.

BTW, no one covering the VP candidate is the norm. He or she can do some good by hitting places the Presidential candidate can’t get to - which is lost by the Republicans since McCain and Palin are joined at the hip.

I’m not disagreeing that this is the only strategy they have, but the gamble that she would be the story seems to have failed. Obama’s message that you can’t trust the GOP with the economy and that McCain would follow Bush seems to be getting through, based on the latest poll numbers I’ve seen.

That’s true, but after the flop and before going to the river, you better not sniff after a Little Phoebe. The ladderman could be a mechanic, looking to skin your nut in the carousel. It’s much safer to chase the orphans until you can show a blackout to the caller than it is to trust first base with the shiner.

Wait, what were we talking about again?

If your candidate has little to recommend at the moment, then you delcare war against the media. Anything good that is said about him/her is given extra truthiness because it is “bucking the media party line”. Anything bad that is said is an example of persecution.

It’s tried and true, tested and ready. And Palin is in this, not to win it necessarily, but to avoid being seen as the reason that McCain loses, so that she can run again in 2012. I think that may be shading the actions of the campaign as well, who are also clearly thinking beyond John McCain. If you can get her to the finish line without an opportunity for a significant gaffe, then McCain will be blamed for the loss, not her. He will be seen as having held her back.

Silently, surely, over the next four years she gains national and foreign policy experience, maybe even replacing Stevens with herself. She will be ready then, for the spotlight. She’s not right now.

And go directly up against a now President Obama in 2012? I would love that.

All publicity is not good publicity. By shutting herself off from the media Palin is only receiving bad publicity from a rightfully frustrated press. McCain has been shutting himself off from the press as well and is now paying for it like Palin.

CNN reports that Palin is “ready to cooperate”.

the press is only getting photo ops of her meetings today. no questions, no statements, still in bubble.

“…with another investigative body, this one made up of people that she appointed, if they want to have a window-dressing ‘investigation’, that will hopefully make people shut up about this whole abuse of power thing, I mean jeez, can’t you see that she is busy kind of running for Vice President?”

CNN: McCain camp tries to keep reporters out of Palin meetings

MSNBC: Palin bars, then admits reporters to meetings

The list goes on. It’s not the biggest story today at all, for obvious reasons, but you can see this is getting attention.