For those who haven’t read a post in which I describe the most fundamental principle of approaching the media as a politician, let me reiterate: They are not a voting bloc in themselves. They are a conduit to real voting blocs. Treat them well and you’ll get plenty of good treatment in return. That’s the conventional wisdom. Of course, it’s rare to use former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and the word “wisdom” in the same thought, but her rejection of this principle seems to be working out for her bizarre ends.
For the past week or so, Palin, along with husband Todd and 10-year-old daughter Piper (the most amusing of her children), has been touring the East Coast in a ginormous bus – for reasons she refuses to make clear. (Showcasing the goodness of America? Bull.) She still won’t give a hint as to her presidential aspirations, if she has them. (She totally does.) She refuses to admit that she doesn’t know her history. She goes off the rails when it comes to policy matters. And the media eats it up like so much raw cookie dough. (Nom.)
The writer of the above Daily Beast piece, Matt Latimer, says this makes Palin victorious in her war against the media. If that’s all she’s trying to do, he’s certainly right. She’s had no problem maintaining her Tea Party/Religious Right base through social media, but her little game with the traditional press must have them clapping her hands like seals. I suppose her communications studies taught her something she could keep.
But let’s suppose for a second that, in a week’s time, she’ll announce a run for the presidency. Most other Republican candidates at least take a stab at expanding their electoral tent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s safe to assume that it won’t work for Palin; opinions of her, once made, are hard to shake off. But a more intriguing question is, will she even try?
She would if she had any long-term sense. Every now and then, someone will express the fear that her base is large enough to propel her to victory. Not so, I always tell them. In order to gain voters beyond the ones who refuse to admit that a Palin presidency would be an unmitigated disaster, her only recourse is twofold: 1. Educate herself. 2. Stop limiting herself ideologically.
Even if she does those two things, don’t expect her to get far beyond the early primaries. Given her considerable media savvy and fundraising ability, she’d be better off trying to become the next Oprah.