PALIN STARTS WINNING OVER THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSTITUENCY: THE MEDIA
Forget about whether Sarah Palin's new "Mama Grizzlies" ad will really expand her base beyond the current bounds of her cult. It may not matter -- the important thing is that the mainstream media thinks the ad has broad-based appeal. This means that the ad has broad-based appeal to the mainstream media itself. The MSM always projects its beliefs outward onto the rest of us -- when MSM folks like something, they tell us we like it. They think they're reporting our favorable reaction, when in fact they're reporting their own.
What impresses them about the ad by has nothing to do with policy positions or whether Palin would actually be competent as president of the United States. What they're impressed by is her perceived mastery of messaging. They care about media products, and she created a slick one. That means it barely matters whether she's extreme or ill-informed or petulant and childish. She gives good visuals, so she is now a Serious Person.
With video, Palin goes pro
It was nothing more than a two-minute self-promotional spot, a campaign-style production that any candidate with a little cash and a capable consultant could splice together, yet Sarah Palin's newly-released video managed to drive cable news television chatter and blazed across the blogosphere Thursday.
It was a remarkable display of force -- and one that almost no one else in American political life can replicate.
Got that? The "remarkable display of force" is that Palin impressed a lot of cable bloviators. Who cares if polls of actual voters say that her endorsement makes more than half of them less inclined to vote for a candidate?
When I posted about this video yesterday, a commenter wrote:
I happened to have Morning Joe on today, and they played the full clip. When it was over, Mika Brzezinski was positively trembling, nearly delirious, with excitement. It was that kind of over-excitement that makes a person giggle uncontrollably. Clearly the video reached something deep inside Brzezinski -- and probably a lot of other women, too.
We might as well start bracing ourselves for eight years of this woman.
I can't find a clip of that, but a transcript shows Brzezinski saying, "Wow." To his credit, Donny Deutsch is skeptical -- but the response is groaning from the rest of the panel...
DONNY DEUTSCH, MSNBC contributor: I actually think it's insulting to a lot of women. I'm going to tell you why. It's the same reason why every time they do "100 most successful women in business" cover stories.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, The New York Times: Oh, no.
DEUTSCH: Listen to me! The American public wants more than "I protect my cubs." And we all know she's an interesting, compelling woman. There are real problems now. There's 10 percent unemployment and what does the fact that "I am woman, hear me roar" have to do with solving that?
BUCHANAN: Do you get out of the Hamptons a lot?
Mark Halperin, unsurprisingly, is utterly won over:
MARK HALPERIN, Time magazine: With the exception of her book tour, this is I think her best moment since the campaign ended....
HALPERIN: I'll tell you the two things that I think are there. Three things. Number one, if the Republican Party can harness centrist and right women in these midterm elections, it can affect the entire balance of power in Congress. Number two, it humanizes her in a way on her own terms....
HALPERIN: No, but this is a more accessible humanity to people outside her base. And the third thing it does, which I think is incredibly important, is it gives the Republican Party an emotional leader. That's what they need above all else. Pat talked before whether they have a "Contract for America," they need emotion and personality to say "we're marching toward this November election day" and this is as good as anything I've seen the party do.
So it's all about whether they think this will gull the rubes -- "centrist and right women" whom Palin can "harness."
What they're not admitting is that they've now been "harnessed." And just like that, it suddenly seems possible that, for 2012, Palin can actually win the real first primary -- the media tastemakers' primary. Suddenly the gatekeepers and conventional wisdom mongers like her; she's harnessed them, and they think she's harnessed us.
UPDATE: Betty Cracker says, "I'm seeing a replay of a movie that ended badly -- the George W. Bush Effect."Go read.