Friday, September 19, 2008


Steve Benen thinks Sarah Palin is acting like "a presumptuous celebrity" for talking about a "Palin and McCain administration" and calling John McCain her "running mate." But is that presumptuous -- or just realistic?

If you want to know who the GOP base thinks is the star of this show, check out the current front page of the wingnut site Newsmax. Here's a partial screenshot (click to enlarge)

Number appearances of "McCain" on the Newsmax front page: 9.
Number appearances of "Palin": 19.

(My personal favorite among the links: an article speculating on whether Palin could be the next Margaret Thatcher.)

As Steve notes, people are walking out of McCain rallies after Palin speaks. As The Washington Post has noted, Palin is driving volunteers to GOP offices. The two top-rated Hannity & Colmes shows for this year have been Palin's convention speech and part one of her interview, according to TV Newser.

I'm bringing this up because I'm not sure we're in "the post-Palin campaign," as Skimble said in comments here. I know Palin's popularity is down among people who aren't Republicans or GOP leaners, but I think the end of the first wave of Palinmania is just the result of this week's focus on the financial meltdown. That could change once Wall Street settles down and Steve Schmidt figures out how to deploy Palin next -- which is what I think is going to happen.

In addition to her obvious effect on evangelical voters, I fear she's still looking good to just enough low-information swing voters to make a difference. Remember the anti-Palin ad I was praising last week -- the one about aerial shooting of wolves? Nate Silver now tells us that, in focus groups shown the ad, a viewing of the ad is enough to wipe out a 6-point margin in favor McCain/Palin.

That tells me there are still a lot of people who just think Palin is an awfully nice, decent, competent person and who are voting for McCain to a large extent because of her -- until they're exposed to anti-Palin information. So why not carefully, judiciously work to change her image from that of the plucky, competent, very nice Everygal? This is still a close race --and Obama's current lead in the polls could be partly just a financial-meltdown bounce -- so why not talk about her? She's still the McCain campaign's star -- do you think they're not going to work hard to maximize her usefulness?



I find that people are willing to brush off or justify Sarah Palin's lack of experience, qualifications or, well. smarts because of her novelty factor. But the one thing that stops them dead in their tracks is the story of Sarah Palin and the Pay As You Go Rape Kits....

Yup. So can't there at least be one ad about that?


UPDATE: Skimble notes in comments that he didn't mean "post-Palin" in that way -- he meant "following Palin's selection." Apologies foer my misreading.

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