Carey Roberts
Sarah Palin: from toast of the town to plain toast
By Carey Roberts
April 18, 2011

With every passing week, the prospect of Sarah Palin's presidential bid grows dimmer...and Michelle Bachman's star shines ever brighter. Absent a major scandal, it's highly unusual for a major political figure to witness a ratings nosedive on a scale that Sarah Palin has experienced over the past year.

When Palin was named John McCain's running mate in 2008, she garnered stratospheric approval ratings in the near-90s. But a March Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Palin's approval rating among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents had fallen below 60%. And the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows her idling in fifth place in a hypothetical Republican presidential primary race.

Many believe Minnesota congresswoman Bachman has the capability to pick up where Sarah Palin left off. So these are the 12 lessons to be learned from the mercurial political career of Sarah Palin:

1. Maintain message discipline. Repeatedly, Sarah Palin would issue a sharply worded Tweet, only to have to issue a "clarification" the following day. And then the "blood libel" remark. That one hurt.

2. Avoid over-exposure. For months, Palin's dazzling visage came from all sides — book covers, conservative websites, lapel buttons, and as a Fox News commentator. Eventually, Palin-fatigue set in. Some began to speculate that Sarah Palin was just another media phenom.

3. Eschew identity politics. Liberals love identity politics because it fits with their divide-and-conquer philosophy. Conservatives don't. The Mama Grizzly routine might work as an inspired classroom skit, but not as a conservative campaign strategy.

4. Don't pigeon-hole yourself as a feminist. For most conservatives, feminism means late-term abortions, expanding the welfare state, and endlessly playing the victim. So don't touch feminism with a 10-foot pole. Repeat after me...

5. Keep your nose to the grindstone. When Mrs. Palin resigned as governor of Alaska, she announced a "higher calling" led to her decision. Fine. But it weakened any claim to becoming a political heavy-weight.

6. Don't invoke Leftist clichés. Following the death of former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, Palin made a remark about women needing to break the presidential glass ceiling — implying members of the male gender are somehow conspiring to thwart this historic milestone. PULLEEEASSE.

7. Shun gender preferences and set-asides. Sarah Palin is an avid supporter of Title IX. This Clinton-era quota program has relied on the threat of government-backed legal intervention to shutter thousands of men's sports teams, which pretty much speaks for itself.

8. Pick your battles wisely. Sarah Barracuda was always ready to go toe-to-toe with her detractors, imagined or otherwise. When Barbara Bush made a playful comment that Sarah might prefer to stay in Alaska, Palin issued a catty riposte about the Bush family being elite "blue bloods." Bad move.

9. Don't tolerate a personality cult.
In their exuberance, Sarah Palin's supporters sometimes come across as downright intolerant. Just go to any internet discussion site and watch who lapses into the ad hominem attacks and convoluted conspiracy theories.

10. Don't diss men. Veteran media commentator Tucker Carlson touts men as "America's single most important voting bloc," because men tend to vote more cohesively. So try not to indulge in gender-baiting happy-talk.

11. Don't play the sexism card. True, sexism (and other — isms, as well) abounds in politics. And it works both ways...remember the bawdy puns that Leftist women played on President G's last name?

12. Don't pander. In one speech, Ms. Palin claimed, "The working women of this country, those who work inside the home and outside of the home, they're overlooked by politicians in Washington." Voters know red-meat pandering when they hear it.

Michelle Bachman is a hard-worker and charismatic fund-raiser. She has the fire-in-the-belly factor. If she can avoid these mistakes, she might well turn Barack Obama into yet another Democratic one-term presidency.

© Carey Roberts


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

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