Sarah Palin appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and already there is still talk over whether Palin will run in 2012. The media is still obsessed with her and for good reason, she is a political force. And naturally every move she makes is deeply scrutinized but not on her level. Now, Palin fan boy John Ziegler wanted to jump in to the fray and declare that Palin is making the wrong moves for the presidency by not appealing to moderates.
Video thanks to Ed Morrissey of Hot Air:
What is Ziegler talking about?
Here is something these political wonks need to recognize: the average citizen does not obsess over politics as we do. They are independents who after a long day of work, they go home, watch some of the news, and then try to entertain themselves by watching movies, TV shows, sports, or go out to events. And these people also watch late night comedy before going to bed. Palin as well as other politicians recognize, that if they want to tap into that market, they have to head out to other networks that are not cable news and appeal to those viewers.
What Sarah Palin has is personality, charisma, is plain-spoken, and has political smarts. She has the personal story and convictions that are appealing to ‘Middle America’ and even to those on the East and West coast who do not adhere to the snobbery of the elite. She also has a base that is the envy of all the GOP presidential hopefuls.
Ronald Reagan, a conservative, went on shows that you wouldn’t expect a politician to appear on in the 1970s. He recognizes the power of the media. Instead of the media creating the picture of him as a ‘dumb, Hollywood cowboy’ as they used to categorize him, he controlled the image and the message, as well as be humorous and self-deprecating.
He made a guest appearance while Governor of California on ‘Sonny and Cher’:
Here he made an appearance on ‘Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts’ as the former governor roasting Frank Sinatra:
I wonder if Reagan was not as appealing to moderates for doing these shows, huh Ziegler? I respect John Ziegler and he is always somebody entertaining to watch, however, can somebody tell me what makes him an expert on running for the presidency let alone any other political office?
Reagan recognized that his brand can be appealing because he has the personality that is engaging enough. Likeability is key in this society.
Sarah Palin has some work to do in repairing her image, especially among a media that has hounded and pounded her and her family unfairly and cruelly. By heading to Leno, people will come away by saying, ‘Hey, she’s a likable woman.’
Roger Stone, political advisor who revamped Richard Nixon’s image and is media extraordinaire on politics said:
Palin’s “star-power,” charisma, presence and genuineness can not be discounted. No one can discount her moxie, her energy and her inspirational qualities. Her anti-elite middle-class message can have resonance again when the Obama economic polices likely fail. The Ivy leaguers and Hollywood crowd so high on Obama may be riding for a fall. The media has unfairly labeled her as “dumb.” All she must do is disprove this…and she can have sixty minutes each week to do it… No decision on running should be made until 2011 and focus must be on image repair. This is a woman who held off 36 year Senate vet Joe Biden in a 90 minute debate. She may just be up to the task.
Now this is not to say that Palin should continue doing comedy shows. Of course not. That is why she signed on to Fox News. A highly-rated news network where she can provide smart political commentary. She has enough time.
After my studies in mass communications as well as my occupations in media, I recognize talent in Palin. Now there are moments where Palin needs to answers political questions in a deeper thoughtful way. What I would recommend her doing is answer questions reiterating her points made on her posts on Facebook as well as giving examples on what she has done as Alaskan governor or any of her executive posts. I can see she is gaining the confidence at Fox News and once she builds on these communication points and stays true to herself, she’s golden.
For the meantime, Palin is making appearances across the country at speaking events, endorsing candidates, and speaking out on issues that matter. She is still is a hot commodity in political circles.
Palin is also utilizing new media with Facebook and Twitter and is on the right track. Does this mean she is running in 2012? Who knows. She is smartly leaving the interest out in the open and the media still obsesses with her because she is enticing them.
As Ed Morrissey noted, Palin has enough time. Her appearance on Leno will benefit her in the long run. It is just a matter of what she does in the future.
Underestimate her at your own peril.