Independent Republican Presidential Candidate and conservative blogger Andy Martin says NBC News may have finally declared a winner of the 2008 presidential campaign: Sarah Palin. Andy says Palin’s guest appearance on the Today show today (April 3rd) validates and vindicates Sarah Palin as a national political figure. Andy, who has forty-four years of TV and radio experience, looks back at the 2008 campaign and forward at the politics of 2016.
ANDY MARTIN /2012
Republican candidate for
President of the United States
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Republican Presidential candidate and conservative blogger Andy Martin writes that long after John McCain and Barack Obama are forgotten or marginalized, Sarah Palin will be deemed the real “winner” of the 2008 presidential election
Andy says Palin’s appearance on NBC’s Today Show is the ultimate vindication and validation of her decision to become a media star
Andy says Palin could make a political comeback in 2016 if she moves “backwards” and returns to the sincerity of her political roots
Andy says Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt have covered up their own incompetence by sliming Sarah Palin
(NEW YORK) (April 3, 2012) Now it can be told: Sarah Palin was the real “winner” of the 2008 presidential election.
There is a passionate Republican in Illinois who produces an indispensable daily roundup of Republican Party and national political news, Dave Diersen. Dave likes to insert occasional “flashbacks” in his daily jeremiads. Today let me begin with a Diersen-style “flashback.”
In June 2008 my book on Barack Obama “wrapped” and went to the printer. As I surveyed the upcoming presidential campaign between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain I saw McCain as a very weak candidate. I’m not sure if I wrote about my views explicitly. But in thinking about the campaign in June and July I felt McCain needed a “game changer:” McCain needed a woman as his vice presidential candidate.
In all honesty, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was not on my radar screen in July, 2008. I felt McCain could get more “bang for the buck” with an established national leader such as perhaps Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison or Susan Collins. McCain’s inner circle saw what I saw and agreed with me on what was needed: a dramatic gesture for McCain’s vice presidential choice. They went for Palin.
Palin electrified the Republican Party. Then McCain, Schmidt and Wallace started to undermine their own accomplishment. Palin came under criticism for her lack of national experience and media fluency. Hello? How could Palin’s resume have been a surprise?
Backbiting between Palin and the McCain leadership team which had selected her became public. Even in 2012 we are still seeing McCain’s staffers attacking Palin. So who’s right and who’s wrong and what does 2012 tell us about 2008? And maybe even 2016?
In one of my columns about McCain’s lack of debating smarts I demanded that McCain “obey the laws of television.” Unlike the laws of government and nature, the laws of television are sometimes contradictory and counterintuitive. But they are still ironclad laws. You cannot be an effective communicator on TV without obeying the laws of television.
Television demands a cheery disposition. Always. Which is why Katie Couric, a 50 year-old woman, is still described as “perky.” TV appearances must be positive even when stressing the negative. Difficult as it may be to act that way. McCain lived in his hopelessly backward and outdated cocoon. He had no idea how to campaign in 2008. In his own way McCain was even less qualified and less experienced for the national stage than Palin. He was even worse that candidate Senator Bob Dole in 1996. The media world had changed drastically from 1996 to 2008. McCain had not.
Sarah Palin had campaign “street smarts.” At a time in the 2008 presidential race when I was leading the Republican Party’s fight against Obama (McCain’s people were not) and I was virtually alone in attacking and exposing Obama as a leftist fraud, Palin also instinctively recognized that in order to win the McCain-Palin team had to delaminate Obama’s veneer.
McCain refused to attack Obama and insisted on pursuing a losing strategy. Like an old sea captain who is insistent on going down with his ship, McCain insisted on going down with his ship, the ship he himself had torpedoed. None of McCain’s “senior” advisers, one of whom has now popped up on liberal cable channel MSNBC, resigned in protest because McCain was committed to a losing strategy. Campaign munchkins never take a risk on undermining their own resumes; but their silence eventually becomes a stab in the back of their own captain.
Instead of shaking up “Grandpa McCain” as I called him, McCain’s acolytes and enablers Schmidt and Wallace attacked the only person who had a strategy for victory: Sarah Palin.
“Sister Sarah” as I like to call her (for the sister I never had) was a firebrand. But Palin needed to be coached in how to comply with “the laws of television.” Instead, the Republican jokers bought her a new designer wardrobe. Instead of being let out in the open to stumble and scrape a knee, Palin was locked away in a closet and made to look timid and stupid. McCain was defeating his own brilliant choice in selecting Palin.
In 2012 some of McCain’s losers (Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace, again) are still attacking Palin instead of admitting they were the ones who goofed. Wallace’s and Schmidt’s hypocrisy at their own incompetence and petulance are pathetic.
There is no doubt that Palin needed coaching to stand on the national stage and to stand up to the national media. Instead of coaching her, Wallace and Schmidt denigrated Palin. They looked down on her. They had contempt for the Alaska “bumpkin.”
But Plain was proven right and Wallace and Schmidt were proven wrong by McCain’s disastrous strategy. Unless McCain-Palin attacked Obama and pierced his vulnerable persona the Republican ticket would lose. McCain refused to attack and he lost.
Today in 2012 Schmidt and Wallace are carping from the sidelines while Palin has expanded her national influence.
Palin was then criticized when she left the Alaska governorship to take a multi-million dollar deal with Fox News.
Let’s be honest: Palin took the Fox deal for the money. Who can blame her? McCain had given Palin a taste of the big city and bright lights and she wanted to stay in the public eye. Being Alaska governor was a secondary position. Resigning was a crass decision but an understandably human and self-interested choice.
Palin’s claim she resigned because of “frivolous freedom of information demands” and “unfounded ethics accusations” was nonsense. She would have done better if she had just stated openly and honestly, “I could not turn down the money.” People would have understood.
I’m no fan of Palin’s media style on Fox News today. She is still not being coached properly and still not as polished as she could be. She still needs to develop discipline and gravitas. As self-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the “Laws of Television” I could probably still up her game if Palin was in my hands. But she’s not, and we must accept Palin as she is, not as she could be.
Palin is doing all right. Her instincts are usually pretty good. Or close to all right. In Barack Obama’s timeless analysis of Hillary Clinton, Palin is “likeable enough.”
Reality TV and much of the rubbish that passes for entertainment on commercial television has coarsened the audience. Therefore, we don’t have the same standards we once did where national political leaders are involved.
Palin’s 2011 bus tour and other extravaganzas could have been choreographed to produce a more sincere result. But in the long run mistakes don’t count in the overall summing up of celebrity and television prominence.
Ultimately it took a trigger from Katie Couric to validate and vindicate Plain’s strategy of “going celebrity.” (Couric was at CBS when she torpedoed a helpless Palin who had not been prepared by Wallace and Schmidt in 2008.)
NBC faced a challenge this week. Couric is “guest hosting” on ABC, the network that now pays Couric and hopes to syndicate her new talk show in the fall. The best powerhouse weapon NBC could find to counter Couric? NBC chose Sarah Palin.
A reader might say that Palin is merely a celebrity and no longer a political leader. But that’s not the case. Under the “laws of television,” celebrity and political leadership can be merged. Unless Palin makes a personal false step, such as a sex scandal or similar personal failing, she can make occasional missteps in judgment and still remain at the top of the media/celebrity pyramid until 2016.
The bottom line: McCain will be remembered as a hapless old man who pursued and won a nomination in 2008 that he couldn’t use to good effect.
Barack Obama was and is a legitimate “historic figure.” But Obama could end up in the trash bin of history if he loses in November. The liberal “lamestream media” will send Obama’s accomplishments into oblivion and start to resurrect Hillary Clinton. That’s what media do. There is always a new edition to put out, a new show to produce, a new story line to prepare and present.
Palin? She’s raking in millions from Fox News to do what she does best. The “lamestream media” still make fun of her. Palin said recently that among her many personal political accomplishments was being a “gas regulator” in Alaska. And, of course, some media are making fun of that claim. But regulating the oil and gas industry was a real accomplishment in Alaska, and it remains a legitimate credential in an energy-starved and energy-focused world. The “lamestreamers” still don’t understand the lady.
Palin won the 2008 election. With the passage of time and the passing of McCain and Obama from national prominence (has McCain no shame; why won’t he just go away?), Palin will be the one whose image endures and whose overall “mission accomplished” exceeded McCain’s and Obama’s unfulfilled expectations.
Sister Sarah, well done.
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ABOUT ANDY: Andy is a legendary New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Chicago Public Radio calls Andy a “boisterous Internet activist.” The Chicago Tribune calls him “Chicago’s own…political activist.” He has over forty years of background in radio and television. He is the author of “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [www.OrangeStatePress.com] and he produced the Internet film “Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” [www.BoycottHawaii.com]. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. He comments on regional, national and international events with more than four decades of investigative and analytical experience both in the USA and around the world.
Andy has been a leading corruption fighter in Illinois and American politics and courts for over forty years. [www.AndyMartin.com] He is currently sponsoring http://www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com. See also http://www.FirstRespondersOnline.us; http://www.EnglishforAmerica.org
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
Andy’s columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com.
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