Thursday, July 15, 2010
The music swells and then picks up tempo. Sarah Palin is talking about how 2010 will be the year that "commonsense conservative women get things done for our country." She's worried about "these policies coming out of D.C. right now, this fundamental transformation of America," and reports that she is not alone. "Moms kinda just know when something's wrong," she says. "You thought pit bulls were tough? Well, you don't wanna mess with the mama grizzlies!"
Can a two-minute Internet video reshuffle a Republican presidential race before it has even started? Palin's glossy yet authentic clip, released without any fanfare did just that. It was the surest sign yet that she means to be an energizing factor in this year's midterm elections and will mount a real bid for the White House in 2012. Most compelling is the way the video targets women, specifically moms, whom Palin exhorts to vote in the midterms and halt the Obama agenda. The video features image after image of everyday, determined, smiling, patriotic mothers and grandmothers, all keen to join her army of supporters. Palin calls it a "mom awakening." If Palin can inspire GOP and independent women to turn out for the party's candidates in November, she could decisively influence the outcome of the midterms.
Palin doesn't need specific policies to crank up the energy — or even specific criticisms of Obama. She knows that injecting emotion into the conversation is the most efficient way to spark a movement. Her charming if idiosyncratic way with words may also be an asset: "Look out, Washington, because there's a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line, and the ETA stampeding through is November 2, 2010. Lotta women comin' together." […]
Her candidacy would require almost none of the usual time sinks that force politicians to jump in early: power-broker schmoozing, schedule-intensive fundraising, competitive recruitment of experienced strategists, careful policy development. She would have immediate access to cash, with even small Internet donations likely bringing in millions.
Already the most arresting political figure other than the President, Palin will be even more visible in the coming months. After a year of profitable speaking, bookselling and punditry on Fox, she will do some promotion in August for the paperback release of her best-selling Going Rogue. When it airs in the fall, her documentary series about Alaska on TLC will attract both curiosity and viewers. And after the midterms, her second book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, will hit stores in time to rack up millions in Christmas sales. She keeps in touch with her fans via Twitter and Facebook; on July 13 she pushed back hard after the NAACP criticized the Tea Party.
Palin thrives on the unpredictable, and as her new video shows, she can adapt quickly. "What she knows, you can't teach," says Mark McKinnon, a top strategist for George W. Bush and McCain. "And what she doesn't know she can learn — and she's learning fast."