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Excerpt: "The Republican establishment doesn't get it. Celebrity is part of The Palin Strategy - as is avoiding the insider game. She doesn't want to do what Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, or Romney have to do. She has an outside game."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

Sarah Palin's Presidential Strategy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

25 November 10

Sarah Palin's Presidential Strategy, and the Economy She Depends On

onday night, Sarah Palin watched from the audience as daughter Bristol danced on ABC. Twenty-three million other Americans joined her from their homes. Tuesday, the former vice-presidential candidate started a 13-state book tour for her new book, "America By Heart," which has a first printing of 1 million. Her reality show on TLC, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is in its third week. Last Sunday she was the cover story in the New York Times magazine.

It's all part of The Palin Strategy for becoming president in 2012 - or 2016 or 2020.

Republican leaders don't believe it. "If she wanted the Republican nomination she'd be working on the inside," one influential Republican told me a few days ago. "She'd be building relationships with Republican Senators and representatives, governors, and state party officials. She'd be smoothing the feathers she ruffled by backing Tea Party candidates. She'd be huddled with GOP kingmakers." When I suggested she has a different strategy, the influential Republican smiled knowingly. "That's how it's done - how McCain, Bush, and everyone has done it. That's the only way to do it. But all she really wants is celebrity."

The Republican establishment doesn't get it. Celebrity is part of The Palin Strategy - as is avoiding the insider game. She doesn't want to do what Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, or Romney have to do. She has an outside game.

Palin's game plan is directly related to America' white working class, and the economy it faces - and the economy it's likely to continue to experience for years.

No prospective candidate so sharply embodies the anger of America's white working class as does Palin. And none is channeling that anger nearly as effectively.

White working class anger isn't new, of course, nor is the Republican Party's use of it. Apart from the South, where the anger came in response to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the more widespread working-class anxiety began in the late 1970s when the median male wage that had been rising for three decades began to stagnate.

As I noted in "Aftershock," families responded by sending wives and mothers into the paid workforce, working longer hours, and then, finally, going deep into debt. These coping mechanisms allayed but did not remove the growing anxiety.

Over the years, Republicans have channeled the anxiety into anger, through overt appeals to a so-called "silent majority" that were overlooked by Democrats and liberals; through "tax revolts" by working and middle-class families that couldn't afford to pay more; and in subtle and not-so-subtle appeals to racist fears (Willie Horton).

But now that the Great Recession has eliminated the last coping mechanism - ending the easy borrowing, and ratcheting up unemployment - the working class's economic insecurities have soared. A recent Washington Post poll showed 53 percent of homeowners worried about meeting their mortgage payments. Home foreclosures have slowed largely because of bad paperwork on the part of banks, but the threat remains. Housing prices are still dropping.

The white working class has not benefitted from the recent rise in corporate profits and stock prices. To the contrary, both have been fueled by foreign sales of goods made abroad and by labor-saving technologies that have allowed American companies to do more with fewer workers here at home.

Joblessness among the white working class is far higher than the 9.6 percent average for the nation. While the unemployment rate among college grads (most of whom are professionals or managers) is around 5 percent, the average unemployment rate for people with only a high school degree or less (blue-collar, pink-collar, clerical) is almost 20 percent.

All of this is spawning a new and more virulent politics of anger in the nation's white working class, stoked by Republicans - anger against immigrants, blacks, gays, intellectuals, and international bankers (consider the latest Fox News salvos against George Soros).

According to the right-wing narrative, the calamity that's befallen the white working class is due to the global and intellectual elites who run the mainstream media, direct the government, dispense benefits to the undeserving, and dominate popular culture. (The story and targets are not substantially different from those that have fueled right-wing and fascist movements during times of economic stress for more than a century, here and abroad.)

Sarah Palin has special appeal because she wraps the story in an upbeat message. She avoids the bilious rants of Rush, Sean Hannity, and their ilk. But her cheerfulness isn't sunny; she doesn't promise Morning in America. She offers pure snark, and promises revenge. Over and over again she tells the same snide, sarcastic, inside joke, but in different words: "They think they can keep screwing us, but (wink, wink), we know something they don't. We're gonna take over and screw them."

The Palin Strategy is to circumvent the Republican establishment, filled as it is with career Republicans, business executives, and Wall Streeters. That's why her path to the Republican nomination isn't the usual insider game. It's a celebrity game - a snark-fest with the nation's entire white working class. Vote for Bristol and we'll show the media establishment how powerful we are! Buy my book and we'll show the know-it-all coastal elites a real book directed at real people! Tune into my cable show and we'll show the real America - far from the urban centers with immigrants and blacks and fancy city slickers!

As I believe will become clearer, the Palin Strategy will involve a political threat to the GOP establishment: Deny her the nomination she'll run as independent. This will split off much of the white working class and guarantee defeat of the Republican establishment candidate. It will also result in her defeat in 2012, but that's a small price to pay for gaining the credibility and power to demand the nomination in 2016, or threaten another third-party run in 2020.

Once nominated, her campaign for the general election will be purely populist. She'll seek to broaden her base to become the candidate of the people, taking on America's vested Establishment.

More than anything else, the Palin Strategy depends on the continuing fear and anger of America's white working class. She's betting that their economic prospects will not improve by 2012, or even by 2016 and beyond.

Sadly, this is likely to be the case. On Tuesday, the Fed issued a gloomy prognosis. Even if the U.S. economy began to grow at a rate more typical of recoveries than the current anemic 2 percent, unemployment won't drop to its pre-recession level for 5 to 7 years. A minority of the Fed thought this was too optimistic.

The disturbing truth is the bad economy is likely to continue for most Americans beyond 7 years - maybe for ten or more - because of a chronic lack of aggregate demand. Apart from inevitable inventory replacements and the necessary replacements by consumers of cars, appliances, and clothing that wear out, nothing will propel the U.S. economy forward. So much income and wealth have now concentrated at the top that the broad middle and working class no longer has the buying power to do so. The top will resume buying but their purchases won't be nearly enough.

Japan lost a decade of economic growth after its real estate bubble exploded. It seems entirely probable that the United States will suffer the same fate. Our economic structure - how we now allocate the gains of growth, the yawning gap between Wall Street and Main Street, the incentives operating on large corporations to pare American payrolls and expand abroad - almost dictates it.

We might change that structure, of course. But at this point that doesn't seem in the cards. The President seems unable or unwilling to provide the clear narrative that explains what's happened and what needs to be done, and Republicans are at this moment ascendant.

It all fits into Sarah Palin's strategy.

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on and iTunes. your social media marketing partner


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+36 # caroll1 2010-11-25 23:41
Robert Reich, as always, offers an astute analysis.
+48 # Regina 2010-11-26 00:54
Picture Sarah Palin at an international conference, alongside (e.g.) Angela Merkel. Is that what Americans want representing them to the rest of the world? Just ask Katie Couric! When the idiots dismiss the intelligentsia as "elites" and "elitists," consider the alternative.
+40 # rggilbert 2010-11-26 06:29
[quote name="Regina"]P icture Sarah Palin at an international conference, alongside (e.g.) Angela Merkel.

Regina … You are right on target. However, idiots have the luxury of not understanding the humiliating national experience of Palin up against a Merkel or being compared to the likes of other qualified national political leaders. Ignorance is bliss; Palin is counting on it.
+11 # Auntie EM 2010-11-26 19:17
That's how we got through eight years of the Bush administration . . . "low information" voters didn't realize how ignorant he was. It seems entirely possible to me that Sarah Palin could become President. She is the female equivalent of Bush, and the candidate that a lot of people would most like to have a beer with.
+28 # James Donaldson 2010-11-26 01:29
Reich knows what he is talking about. Plus Media fortunes like
Rupert Murdoch's will give her the money and exposure she needs. Celebrity identity is what this social culture is all about, don't you think?
+7 # Sally Blakemore 2010-11-26 11:19
Celebrity is the fatal attraction. All bluff, personality, tone and characterizatio n. This country has become valueless and provincial in its categorization of what life is really about. We need a real culture to nurture those living in complete poverty. Have you seen the sophomoric movie IDIOCRACY? It is astute in the foolishness.
+13 # ToHellWithMcCain 2010-11-26 01:34
He is the snarky one for bringing Palin out of the wood work and placing her out front there for the white middle class to toast their Budweisers to. Palin and her trashy family are too much to bear. The President will have to dump Biden and put a smart bitch on the ticket with him. And I don't mean Hillary. Someone who will appeal to the masses. I would kick her a-- myself but I don't have the visibility.
+14 # DaveW. 2010-11-26 11:04
ToHellWithMcCai n, You're right. All this boils down to is more "free" publicity, more fuel for the neanderthals bonfires. Every attack is gathered up like firewood and thrown on the funeral pyre of declining American empire and tolerance. Even many who despise this woman and everything she represents can't seem to stop talking about her. And she and her mob mentality followers lap up every word like mentally starved, intellectually challenged, predatory beasts. There out for blood and every time someone "stabs" Palin they drink that blood that provides them with the fuel they thrive on. She's America"s #1 guilty pleasure right now. Political pornography in its purest form. Want to break a bad habit? STOP using!
+33 # HAL 2010-11-26 02:17
All this and the thought she has a endless supply of money from Murdock--now that's truly scary!
+35 # brenda 2010-11-26 02:28
I don't know about her strategy. She put her foot in her mouth in talking to Glen Beck in a broadcast interview, where she confused North Korea with South Korea and to whom the United Stayes should back in the shelling of a South Korean Island. Putting it bluntly, she's an oaf when it comes to international political affairs.
+21 # Byronator 2010-11-26 10:56
Most Americans are oafs when it comes to international political affairs, science and any other complicated reality-based issue, so the masses will identify with her campy ignorance and arrogance and ooze devotion. Remember how much her constituents adored GW Bush who filled volumes with his brain-impaired emissions!
+10 # Paul Brodie 2010-11-26 10:59
You fell short, she's just an oaf.
+8 # Lakshmi 2010-11-26 13:48
But Brenda, don't you realize that the avid, faithful listeners (a) didn't catch the error; and (b) when it was corrected, didn't catch that either (because they couldn't care less)!
+7 # Auntie EM 2010-11-26 19:18
Her supporters don't care how stupid she is! She's just like them, and they love it.
+11 # ER444 2010-11-26 02:45
I am still waiting for that BUCKET !!!
+5 # Eric Boehner 2010-11-26 02:48
Robert Reich, the Pundit of the Future, is hoping to gain a spot in the Palin/Limbaugh cabinet. And the Republicans are not going to sit around and let this incompetent woman gain power and shred America to pieces. Just ask this "I don't read newspapers" woman what would she do with the current Korean problem. I bet she says, "Lets nuke 'em". But wait first she wants to have cameras out there so she can get the movie rights. The woman is money hungry and not a celebrity. It is true that White America is scared shitless ever since the Civil Rights Act was passed. The largest percentage of these folks has had it pretty easy until Japan produced better cars and steel. They rather eat like pigs, are obese as elephants, hardly ever read or study anything beyond Beaver and Butthead and regale each other telling nigger jokes. Well there is an old saying, "a cockeyed man is king among the blind". Palin is a total fraud. Republicans will trash her and their candidate will win in 2012.
+12 # brianf 2010-11-26 13:04
That's exactly what people said about the Tea Party candidates, until a bunch of them won against candidates the Republican establishment backed. It didn't matter, because the big money behind the Tea Party manufactured-gr ass-roots movement poured in, and the right-wing media chipped in, and the mainstream media, as usual, fell for the right-wing propaganda.

People said the same thing after the primaries, it was good for the Democrats because people wouldn't vote for such radical Tea Baggers. But quite a few of them won. With enough clever propaganda and money to spread it, anything can happen. Don't get complacent.
+29 # brenda 2010-11-26 02:49
Quoting an article written elsewhere:
[Sarah Palin Tells Beck We Must “Stand With Our North Korean Allies”
She just won't quit. Yesterday, Glenn Beck asked her on his radio show how she would handle the developing situation between North and South Korea. Typically, the waters were too deep:
"Well, North Korea, this is stemming from a greater problem where we're all sitting around asking, 'Oh no, what are we going to do?'" Palin said. "We're not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do."
"This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy. But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies. We're bound by treaty..."
"South Korean," the co-host corrected.
"Yeah," Palin continued. "We're also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes."
It's possible Palin doesn't know North from South, and this is yet another case of her lack of policy nuance. Her inability to grasp the most basic of issues is not just idiotic–it's detrimental to the country.]
+2 # alanvance 2010-11-26 10:43
Hard as it is for me to be charitable to Sarah Palin, her speaking of "our North Korean allies" seems more a misstatement than an expression of ignorance. The effect that talk show hosts and producers desire above all is continuous noise and no dead air, the kind of thing that happens when parties pause to consider their questions and answers. Guests tend to supply potted answers to predictable questions, and an angry and not well-schooled person such as Sarah might blurt such faux pas because she wants to dominate the discussion and fill the air time. It happens on our side of these discussions too frequently for that not to be a possible explanation.
+1 # AML 2010-11-27 13:02
alanvance,the bungle was partly sub-concious, since Palin has no personal interest here.

Bush did the same thing. A psycologist noted that when he would get on his cowboy horse and speak of war, his speech would flow, but when talking about social issues, he could barely make a sentence.

But as Palin specializes in word salads (something dimwits buy easily), every so often she's bound to trip up.
+2 # Hillarion 2010-11-26 11:29
As to qualifications to be President, I'm thinking of comparing her to fictional women (or girls), such as Minnie Mouse or Goldilocks. Any better choices? (Likely...)

Call her Sarah the Cleaver?

Ilse Koch wasn't bad looking in her younger years. When you learn how she was connected with prepping bulls for bullfighting, it it is Not Nice.
+20 # Charlotte Gordon 2010-11-26 03:44
It´s a nightmare scenario, Just picture what our country will be like with Sarah Palin as President ! You make it seem very possible that this can/will happen,,,,,And none of us ever thought it could .......
What´s going to happen to our sons and grandsons ?

An octtogenarian living in Spain.
+15 # BookwormBev 2010-11-26 03:52
The commentary on Sarah Palin's strategy is plausible, but I'm not so sure about the economy. Why accept the predictions of the Fed without question?

I am puzzled. The grab for power and money by the super-rich at the expense of the economy doesn't make sense. Aren't they aware that they sawing off the limb they are sitting on?

I am also puzzled by President Obama's inaction. Doesn't he realize that a downturn in the economy breeds suspicion and hatred and makes ethnic and racial warfare more likely? I do not believe his hands are tied - I think he is sitting on them!
+21 # genierae 2010-11-26 08:51
Bev: The super-rich have become global citizens. They can, and will, leave this country in the lurch as soon as they have picked its bones clean. With all their billions they can afford to live in super-luxury anywhere on earth. As for President Obama's inaction, remember that these same super-rich greed-heads, infiltrated and corrupted our federal government, during the Bush years, and now it is so dysfunctional that even the president has great trouble getting it to work. He also has to deal with lock-step Republican obstruction. Personally, I think that he needs to stop being so conciliatory, and begin knocking heads together. In the meantime, I think that progressives need to work in their local areas to promote the common good, and to create real change. We can take our country back one neighborhood at a time. There's a lot of grass-root efforts taking place around this country, people are finding it easier to work in the micro rather than in the macro. A lot can be accomplished at town meetings and city councils, and that's where we need to focus our efforts.
+11 # Paul in Minneapolis 2010-11-26 11:44
The super-rich always make money, no matter the economy. Recessions and depressions are part of the system. Smaller operators go broke, leaving that much more of the economy for the biggest to dominate. Wealth is concentrated through economic downturns, not lost. And don't call it "greed." Morals don't enter into this, so neither does an appeal to virtue. Primal fear of deprivation is what drives the accumulation of wealth. Even when the rich are conscious of what they are doing, they (as a whole) can't step out of the role that they play, for fear of falling down the ladder. As for Palin, she fits right in with the mind-numbing idiocy of popular culture. Slap her down with facts, and she gains another thousand sympathizers from among those who also can't think critically.
+5 # DaveW. 2010-11-27 11:43
Paul in Minneapolis, "Primal fear of deprivation is what drives the accumulation of wealth,and don't call it greed." I agree with your Palin assessment but must laugh at your greed and wealth analogy. I don't believe for second, the Koch brothers,are living in primal fear of deprivation.Phi losophers and great thinkers going back to the earliest recorded writing's have been talking about "greed" and its pernicious effects on the psyche and the soul.If morals don't enter into the fact that a handful of mega-wealthy individuals and corporations will stand idly by,living in golden palaces whilst humanity dies of "real deprivation",th en morals are merely a figment of our collective imaginations and we might as well live our lives in a strict interpretation of "social Darwinism." I'm having a hard time imagining Donald Trump wringing his manicured hands worrying about his "deprivation." I remember reading once about Bob Hope charging the Ohio State Fair 50,000 dollars for him and wife Delores to sit on the back of a car and make a "drive thru" on their way to an airport. His publicist insisted "Bob never forgot his salad days." He was 80+ at the time and worth over 800 million dollars.
+22 # cherylpetro 2010-11-26 04:31
Palin is dumb as a stump, except for her street smarts; which is a dubious compliment! (a pack of wild dogs have as much finesse!) She knows how to rile up a racist crowd, but when Hannity isn't making it look like she is drawing large book crowds by using footage from the campaign, or Newsmax buying up her books to make her a best seller (and then selling them for $4.00, and later free with a subscription)sh e's got nothin'! Palin is pretty much all smoke and mirrors! She KNOWS she could not be a serious candidate (North Korea is our ally?) Plus she doesn't have the attention span,or the stamina for the job! Who can forget that she left the Governor's office early? (even then, the legislatures were already wearing,"where' s Sarah" hats, because she showed up so infrequently! Palin wants the attention that goes with being a possible candidate; nothing more! Think people would be as nice to her as they were when she was running as a VP? No! She would be eviscerated in the debates! No one will stand for a Presidential candidate who refuses to answer questions, or doesn't even realize that North Korea is NOT our ally! GET REAL!
+7 # katiedid 2010-11-26 08:24
Right on cherylpetro! As a Republican candidate she would be the Democratic gold mine.
+7 # bjw 2010-11-26 11:55
I thing it depends on the working class redirecting their anger to the people who caused their fall in status instead of flailing against the people who were trying to rescue them. It's like trying to save a giant from drowning while he's thrashing and pushing you under water. He's doesn't want both of you to drown but can't help his panic, either.

Somehow, we have to calm the drowning giant so we can all get to shore.
+9 # Jane Gilgun 2010-11-26 04:39
Thanks, Professor Reich. A great analysis. I'm wondering how many presidential elections have been popularity contests. It is possible that a large percentage of voters do not think about issues the candidates represent but do care about personality. Sometimes the personality comes with a pretty face and lovely voice and destructive, opportunistic messages. Even not so pretty faces get elected if they appeal to voters by stirring fears and desires for revenge that touch some. What we need are candidates with pretty faces who express what is for the common good and that bring out the best in people. Then, once elected, the pretty faces with the common good in mind have to talk back to those who degrade them and their policies. Professor Jane Gilgun
+24 # Ralph Averill 2010-11-26 05:00
Does anybody know how it came to be that Sarah Palin was chosen for McCain's running mate, thus propelling her into national notice? I know McCain wanted his pal Joe Lieberman but the Republican establishment would have none of that. (I wonder if they regret that now.) Who else was tapped for the job who was rejected or turned it down? This squeaky, ambitious, populist dingbat could not only bring about the re-election of Barak Obama, she could bring about the destruction of the Republican Party as it exists today. If she accomplishes that, I will write her a thank you note.
+10 # Rothie 2010-11-26 06:46
Just picture Palin as president and standing before the people with her trashy family standing beside her and she starts to speak. Is that the voice you want to hear for 4 years? God, that voice goes right thru me.
+18 # Todd Williams 2010-11-26 07:39
She is the ultimate media whore. This may not translate into a run for the WH. But she's already achieving her goal of being on TV every single freaking day. It's all Palin, 24 seven. The "lamestream media" has swallowed her schtick hook line and sinker. To get rid of this woman, all we have to do is refuse to watch her. We need to send a message to CNN and others to quit doing stories everyday on this wench. She is a total fabrication of the far right. Quit feeding the beast and the beast will dry up and blow away.
+5 # muriel schnierow 2010-11-26 10:33
sarah Palin would be unknown if McCain hadnt put her on the ticket and if the media especially MSNBC etc didnt give her endless publicity. Todd you are right. "Quit feeding the beast".
+17 # Cliff Rhodes 2010-11-26 08:29
Can anyone give me one example of Sarah Palin sitting down with someone, not on FOX, where they give her the softball questions in advance, like Charlie Rose and discussing for one hour the economy and her solutions to the problems we face, then another hour with Charlie addressing international challenges and what foreign policy she ascribes to. Is she a hawk and does she believe in the Bush policy of pre-emptive attacks. Is the Geneva Convention germane and should we as signatories be following it's edicts? What is her view on the legislation passed over the last ten years removing regulations from Wall Street. Does she support the return of Glass-Steagall? Does she know what that means? Does she subscribe to trickle down and why. Is she a supply sider?
You see folks, here she is polling at the top of Republicans and no one knows what she stands for save her "mama grizzly" schtick.
Is this what we have come to in the dumming down of America. She's cute so she should be the leading contender. Someone who can see Russia from her house is a serious candidate to represent the United States of America as our best? God help us all.
Commander Cliff Rhodes USN-Ret
+9 # AML 2010-11-26 08:30
You've got to love the snarky attitude when Levi gets in the limelight.She calls him "Ricky Hollywood", and now look. And Bristol lasting as long as she did on DWTS was the result of the "followers", not the quality or talent of Bristol.

This is how she thinks of the presidency too. Nevermind the qualifications, just the popularity.

Bristol made a snarky remark about Levi not having his GED. Which is it, education is good or education is elitist?

The HYPOCRISY is overwhelming.

I do still think that Palin will want to run on sheer numbers, skirting the qualification process. Campaigning for real is WORK, something she avoids.
+5 # bjw 2010-11-26 12:03
But Sarah knows how to let others do the real work while she basks in the limelight. It's clear she thrives on the attention she is getting. She doesn't care if she gets negative feedback from the majority. She seems to thrive on that as well. What Sarah understands is the power and attractiveness of down dirty mean and nasty mud wrestling. That is where the cameras and the attention of our media is going to be focused. She,like GWB, doesn't do nuance.
+4 # AML 2010-11-26 15:15
Sociopath is the one word to describe her.
+1 # larry babitts 2010-11-27 09:48
Quoting AML:
Sociopath is the one word to describe her.

Nah - sociopath is too high a rating - try calling her a political a--hole! But a dangerous one!
+9 # Jo 2010-11-26 08:39
Robert Reich's analysis appears to be correct, as far as it goes. However, Sarah Palin has ALL SORTS of baggage that would come out if she attempted to run for ANY office - this time the mainstream Republicans will probably join the attack: the little Downs Syndrome baby is quite likely Bristol's first child, given that she dropped out of school for 5 mo. & (after Sarah got a phone call from her while in Alaska) Sarah says that her water broke & went ahead & made her speech & then was allowed to fly commercially back to Alaska (in labor with her 5th child?)to allegedly deliver the baby. I don't have enough room here to list all of Sarah's "skeletons" (meanwhile, the list keeps growing) but I am cataloguing them
all in case they're needed.
+13 # Ezekiel 2010-11-26 08:41
I agree with Todd Williams.
The media has created the monster. Now it is time for anyone with any modicum of love left for this country to answer by demanding (though sponsorship and audience) that the media halt this train wreck before it causes more damage.
Notwithstanding Robert Reich's savvy analysis - both sides have to make her invisible.
Giving her air time is like allowing poison into the water supply.
+7 # AML 2010-11-26 11:11
Faux news won't stop promoting the ratings booster, no matter who they are.
+5 # bjw 2010-11-26 12:11
How many times have you seen the snippet of Barbara Walters' interview with Palin saying she thinks she can beat Obama. I have lost count. It's not just Fox that is promoting her. It's all the media all the time. We can only hope they overdo as happened with Meg Whitman. Over exposure is a real possibility. Her disapproval ratings already far outweigh her approvals. I don't see how those numbers are going to improve.
+3 # Hillarion 2010-11-26 11:36
Quoting Ezekiel:

Giving her air time is like allowing poison into the water supply.

I have pondered where social sabotage (such as incitement to assassination) ends and treason begins.
+11 # T. H. Mehaffey 2010-11-26 08:45
Palin is a special type of person -- a great con!
She conned the Alaskan people into making her governor. Then, after gaining national notoriety, she conned the Alaskan people once more when quitting the $127 thousand job half way through her term, telling them she did it for the good of the people of Alaska.
Then, following the advice of her publicist, she has been pulling in more than $1 million per month, and still cons many people into believing: "She's one of us."
Palin is indeed a great con; she' on a roll and fully understands the great need of so many Americas whose only reality is in story-telling, and for whom reality is frightening.
Yes, it's just that simple; that is why she has been embraced by the most successful conning operation in U.S. history -- Fox Cable News!
+8 # Tom Schoonmaker 2010-11-26 09:19
Robert Reich should run for president. He is one astute guy. Palin may not be very smart - as one pundit says - all she has is "street smarts". The message clearly points to Reich's understanding of the issues. However, he doesn't come right out and say that wealth needs to be distributed more evenly (why cant Congress get that message, especially the Repubicans)?
+4 # alanvance 2010-11-26 10:53
The "smartest" people are almost never elected to high office. Seldom do they have interest in it, and almost never will majorities vote for them. Larry Summers' "brilliance" is tiresomely attested, but would you vote for him? The question answers itself. He knows nothing of what it takes for the lower 80% of Americans to get through their days. Regrettably, neither does Barack Obama nor John McCain nor most of the governing class.
+5 # PForbes 2010-11-26 09:32
I watched 'SP's Alaska' last night and was mesmerized.
S P is a gifted actress who makes a lot of people feel like she is just like them and she is good lookin. Her ackwardness and goofiness are lovable, charming and familiar.
A lack of interest in understanding intricate policy and the relentless vicious accusations of the extremists innoculate most individuals against even trying to understand. They naturally flow toward what they perceive as 'like them.... The known'.
All the info out there Fox, MSNBC (with RM my idol) too much info not to be trusted....... Pick a person you trust. George Bush.......
I see SP as a female GW. They are proud of being ordinary, ordinary is celebrated as honest and good. Just like you.
I think SP is one of the most well known names in the world and she should not be demeaned by those of us on the left. It only helps
her among her constituency. We are all living in a 24/7 reality TV show........ Starring SP.
As a 64 yr old I thought I'd seen every thing ....... Apparnetly not.
+7 # alanvance 2010-11-26 10:58
Well analyzed and well said. A book well worth unearthing is Sinclair Lewis's "It Can't Happen Here." This 1935 novel about the rise to the presidency of an ordinary man who answers the fascist yearnings of an electorate made half-mad by unemployment, uncertainty, resentment, and bigotry was a warning to the Depression generation. Robert Reich is sounding suh an alarm today.
+6 # Annette Smith 2010-11-26 09:39
Too many people are buying what she is selling. Although different from Rush and Beck, she is just as scary.
+4 # Jonathan Back 2010-11-26 09:42
All of you who are posting here should do the following if you wish to defeat her game plan:

Turn off all forms of cable, dish and satellite TV and ask your friends, neighbors and co workers to do the same. But the T-Shirt I wear says this: Disconnect All TV - Save the Country

When millions of Americans tune her out, Rupert and gang will drop her in the pacific faster then you can say "poor Todd". I feel so sorry for that man. It must be hell living with her.

Sorry I was wrong, again, he loves her.
+4 # muriel schnierow 2010-11-26 10:51
jonathan- good ideas all- but remember when everyone went goofy over Howard Dean? and next they drank the Koolaid for Obama? Now the media is thrusting her forward till- the next
flavor of the month? I may be wrong but she wont last-th eelecorate has rthe attention span of a very small fruit fly.
+4 # PGreen 2010-11-26 10:43
Wouldn't it be ironic to have Palin courting the working class while Obama placates Wall street? Then we'd have a socially conservative, faux-anti-elite (George Wallace paleoconservati ve) Palin versus a  socially liberal, pro-elite, (Bill Clinton neo-liberal) Obama. Palin's elite backers, are miraculously invisible to the public eye as she plays the outsider with Murdoch's finesse and her own native ability-- while Obama continues to abandon the public in an attempt to garner more support from the political class. This is a strategic misjudgment (to say nothing of principle), as greater numbers come from the grassroots-- but a mistake Obama is all too willing to make.  Palin's losing scenario involves scaring enough elites-- those insiders not happy with her, such as Rove-- to bring about a right-wing attempt to derail her campaign. A division in the republican ranks, as Reich suggests in this article. I can't see anti-Palin interests supporting Obama, though; Murdoch has enough clout with them that it's more likely they would form an (uneasy) alliance.  The difference might be Obama's lack of grassroots support. Palin probably has a good chance to win. Scary thought.
+4 # Richard Schmidt 2010-11-26 11:30
No, Sarah's strategy depends on the willingness of "journalists" to hang on her every word, as though she actually had something useful to say. Perhaps if we would stop reporting her every banal utterance, she might just go away.
So, stop . . . please stop.
+5 # PGreen 2010-11-26 11:58
Unfortunately, Fox news is, as Chris Hedges said, "non-reality based news," convincing an audience through emotional perspective rather than fact. The intent is not accuracy, but persuasion. It ain't gonna stop easily.
+3 # bjw 2010-11-26 12:18
Have you told the media that. I have written letters asking them to stop with the Palinomania. Like most manias, they burn themselves out in time,but let's at least help this one burn out faster. Let the broadcasters hear about their overboard coverage of Palinomania. Write them and call them and turn them off.
+4 # fredboy 2010-11-26 11:38
Palin is a flirty, seemingly attractive and outgoing type, thus a major change from the typical cloned, stiff female politician projecting masculine traits. That's how she drew attention. Now she owns the network news -- check their show logsheets during the past three weeks. They are her top promoters.
Democrats don't want to hear this, as my fellow Democrats know all and generally don't want to hear anything, but they should be cultivating and promoting many beautiful, strong, brilliant, logical, athletic, capable, successful, admirable women to displace the Palin presence. There are many thousand truly good, progressive women, but the party does nothing to invite them to lead.
So Palin, who was the sloppy mayour of a podunk Alaska village and who couldn't even complete one term as governor of a state with a population of a small city, will keep drawing the spotlight.
+2 # macgavin 2010-11-26 12:17
Excellent piece. Two additional elements make this even more alarming: the administration' s apparent inability to communicate with any working class audiences, regardless of race, which signals the demise of the traditional Democratic coalition. Second, no one should "misunderestima te" the power (and threat) of a major media empire's sponsorship of Palin. She's joined at the hip with Murdoch and his Fox WSJ cabal that has already tested the new freedom for corporations to invest heavily and directly in politics.
+1 # brianf 2010-11-26 13:11
I think Reich nailed her strategy, but he left out the fact that it's a win-win situation for her. She is making tons of money from all this activity that simultaneously keeps her in the spotlight. It's true she loves the attention, even the controversy, and she loves all the money she is making. She'd love to be President, but if she can't have that, she will still be rich and famous. She can't lose!
-4 # futhark 2010-11-26 13:14
If Sarah Palin doesn't know North from South, perhaps she may not know Florida from Alaska. May the smartest idiot win every time!
+6 # Elliot Hoffman 2010-11-26 13:27
As usual, Reich offers a clear analysis of reality - some reality. From 1780-1980 -America's 1st 200 years, our total accumulated national debt was the vast sum of $1 trillion. Reagan came to power in 1980 and told us that he'd dramatically lower taxes (for the wealthy - top marginal tax rate went from 70% to 39%), vastly increase military spending (accomplished), and balance the budget - pure fiction. He took out the nation's charge card and added $3 Trillion to our debt in his term (tripled in 8 years what took 200 years to accumulate). G HW Bush added another couple of Trillion, Clinton reduced the debt and balanced the budget, then GW Bush took the budget through the roof and left Obama with a deficit of historic proportions.
This is really the story of "the dumbing down of America". That the Republicans can claim to be the party of responsible economics and stewardship of our nation, and have so many people believe them, is astonishing.

Do not underestimate the stupidity of the American people, HL Menken once decried. Do not underestimate Sarah Palin and her handlers.

Economic growth? Remember-climat e change and peak oil are really coming.
+4 # genierae 2010-11-26 17:32
Churchill said that the best argument against democracy was a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
-1 # MyKisa 2010-11-27 06:19
best argument I`ve seen is the two wolves and their sheepie buddy deciding what was to be on the menue....
+1 # genierae 2010-11-27 15:15
MyKisa: The situation is now reversed out west as sheep and cattle ranchers, along with "sportsmen", are slaughtering whole wolf packs, including the gassing of pups in their dens, so that the sportsmen can have their brutal fun, and ranchers can produce meat to harm our bodies. Just like native Americans, wolves have a right to live in their ancestral homelands, they were there long before the white man. But the "great white father's" heart is the size of a hard little pebble, and so he continues his plundering of nature, leaving future generations bereft of much that is wild and beautiful.
+5 # Mort Fineberg 2010-11-26 17:01
If Sarah Palin does not suffer from
Narcissistic Personality Disorder; then,
if nothing else, she (as is Rush and his
gang) a 100% narcissist.
+4 # Foxtrottango 2010-11-26 18:27
There are only four words that can possible describe the Palin phenomena:

"America loves it's idiots!"
+3 # Oregon Oracle 2010-11-26 18:45
When your govenments a'Falin'
There's always Sarah Palin
To sell you charm
and sweet Repub revenge

But ask her for some workin'
and just like old knee jerkin'
She'll be gone
before the midterms come to view
+3 # bem 2010-11-27 01:48
I keep telling people that Sarah has a chance to be elected and almost everyone thinks I'm crazy.

Everyone thought I was crazy when I said there was no way that George Bush could be elected.

In the end who is crazy? I am so proud of our Austin jury who found Tom Delay guilty of money laundering. I feel less crazy.

Could President Obama please ask the AG to go after the Bush/Chenny war crimes? Could he also please replace the Bush federal judges?

I feel crazy again. Over and over.
+3 # Jane Elliott 2010-11-27 11:53
Sarah Palin--proof of the accuracy of the old adage, "The empty vessel makes the oudest noise."
+1 # hfm 2010-11-27 13:25
Have none of you read "The Plot Against America"? The Palin story is that story and it scares the heck out of me.
0 # María Eugenia Sáez M 2010-11-28 15:45
1-liner Hot Mama Grizzly is correctly identified as the only obstacle to Jeb Bush's aspirations, by Quaker Man Momma Barbara Bush
-1 # Night Raider 2010-11-28 16:49
Sarah Palin comes from lower middle class circumstances and that is the charm for her following.
0 # Night Raider 2010-11-28 16:52
Why do Reich and many others continue to refer to a high school diploma as a high school degree? I worked hard for two college degrees and resent the muddling of the terms together. Did all this change and nobody told me? Maybe I was out the day it happened.
0 # DurangoKid 2010-11-28 20:22
What are Palin's chances? Or, perhaps someone following in her footsteps? Consider the economic outlook if global oil supply drop to about 68 million barrels per day in about 6 or 7 years. What will the employment prospects for blue collar jobs look like then? Unfortunately, the liberal establishment has atrophied. It could force the economy toward an energy scarse future with Rooseveltian WPA-like infrastructure projects. But alas, it has sold out to finance capital and paved the way for a Palin or someone similar.
0 # Lloyd Myers 2010-11-28 21:41
She ran for Gov of Alaska and quit. She should try and stay home and watch her kids she quit that to./biggest phony I ever saw. What is she for except I can see Russia from my front turkey nest.
0 # Guest 2010-11-30 09:58
Great, but what does the left-wing have to offer but snark and mandatory corporatism (Obamacare)? Where’s the hope and change? It was vaporware before it even hit the GOP opposition. Where is the coherent signal to rise above the bitter clinger noise? Now we have Krugman talking about “death panels” on This Week, thus making Palin look like Nostradamus. If she wins, it’ll be because the left has abandoned us working class.

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