Quotes of the day

“‘If the primaries were this year, I suspect she’d be nominated,’ a senior adviser to one of Sarah Palin’s potential rivals confides. It’s easy to see why: no one who’s thinking of running beats the enthusiasm she generates among Republican activists. But there is more to the case for Palin than just the confluence of her personality and a vacuum within the Republican Party: there is a method to her management of her public image. It strongly hints that she has pretty much decided to run for president in 2012, unless something knocks her out of the race; it is more organized and structured that it appears; and it is something that Republican insiders, in particular, will ignore at their peril…

“Palin, writes Jonathan Raban in an excellent essay in the New York Review of Books, has an ‘exceptionally canny political instinct for connecting with her own kind.’ It has been noted that her conservatism is resentment-based, and is fueled and nourished by the specter of elite mistreatment. (Palin is savvy enough to tease back.) But it is more than that. More than a list of grievances, Palin mixes Nixonian derision for those who think they know better with an aspirational dimension that motivates the middle class to vote. Out of the tony leagues of Washington and New York, she is — well, an Idahoan by birth, an exurbanite mother, able to expurgate the Republican Party of its own cosmopolitan tendencies. (This is one reason why the McCain campaign could not tend to her.) She is, as my friend @thetonylee says, ‘a hybrid of Nixon and Buchanan.'”

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“Palin’s ease around a soundbite stands in stark contrast to the preferred rhetorical approach of President Obama who clearly believes that the soundbite culture has led to the dumbing-down of politics and, as a result, resists engaging in it…

“There is, of course, a limit to how far a soundbite strategy will get you. While Palin’s pithy one-liners win her applause from like-minded crowds and help influence the debate, she remains poorly regarded by major swaths of the population who believe she is not adequately equipped to serve as president. (In a Bloomberg poll conducted late last year, just 25 percent said Palin was qualified to be president while a whopping 67 percent said she was not.)

“Palin’s refusal to give any interviews to members of the media or offer any sort of detailed policy proposals of her own speak to a glaring weakness in her overall strategy.

“Soundbites — even when delivered with the skill Palin displays — are not, in the long run, a substitute for substance and won’t persuade those who have doubts about her that they misjudged her abilities.”

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