MOOSEBURGER-EATER MOOSEBURGER-EATER HOLDER OF THE NUCLEAR LAUNCH CODES MOOSEBURGER-EATER MOOSEBURGER-EATER
Far be it from me to lift as finger to help the Republican Party out of a jam, and a self-inflicted one at that, but let me offer a word of advice to the GOP: No matter how relentlessly you try to argue the case, no one (outside your base) is ever going to buy your argument that the press is skewing public opinion on Sarah Palin.
Here's why: You (and she) made her seem far too easy to comprehend, and what America sees doesn't inspire confidence.
Maybe Palin does have a deep, complex mind and a sophisticated grasp of governance -- but that's not what America is seeing. America is seeing someone who seems really, really ordinary, really average, not particularly sophisticated or distinguished in any way (an impression actually reinforced by the quirky but seemingly elemental Alaska touches, like the alleged penchant for mooseburgers). She was a beauty queen. She's a mom. One of her kids has Down syndrome. Her teenage daughter is unmarried and pregnant. Most Americans don't need the media to tell them what to think about her life because most Americans can grasp all that and form their own opinions.
You (and she) keep stressing the small-town background. Well, even people who vastly prefer small-town life to life in big cities know that being the president of the United States -- which Palin might be, suddenly, if she becomes VP -- requires an understanding of how to work the levers in places that are a lot more like Chicago than Wasilla, or even Juneau. Bill Clinton may have invoked his roots in Hope, Arkansas, Ronald Reagan may have invoked Dixon, Illinois, but voters thought those guys also knew how to handle themselves around city slickers. The GOP and Palin herself have presented her as someone who seems as if she can't, because she's so identified with "hockey mom"-ism and eating moose.
Peggy Noonan today quotes Kellyanne Conway, the pollster, on why Sarah Palin will go over well: "We are a nation of Wasillas, not Chicagos." But that's the GOP's problem -- ordinary people know that they themselves aren't qualified to be president. They don't actually want to elect themselves. Yes, they generally want to elect someone they think is like themselves, but they also want to believe that that person knows things they don't about how cities as big as Chicago work -- cities such as Moscow and Tehran. They tend to want someone who's not a city slicker, but they want that person to seem able to keep up with, and frequently outfox, city slickers. And the GOP has made Sarah Palin seem like someone who doesn't fit that description at all.