Thursday, December 02, 2010

Palin/Romney ’12 or Perry/Christie ’12?

As commentator Armstrong Williams says, Sarah Palin has finally gotten the attention of the media, now they won’t let go. That is the way in mass media. It could be a problem for democracy, maybe causing the neurosis Prof. Paul Eidelberg calls “demophrenia” but that’s the way it is right now. Already, op-eds have appeared in the New York Times calling for “our own Sarah Palin,” and the Washington Post calling up “the next Sarah Palin.”

She has made her mark, and so has Fox News. In Ted Koppel recent essay criticizing MSNBC and Fox for demagoguery (Olbermann, O’Reilly and the death of real news,” 11/14/10), he matched the left’s Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews on MSNBC with Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly from Fox. But a telling trend of the times is that the MSNBC group is expected to lose their jobs when the network is sold. While the Fox crowd is a rising point of departure. Fox Business, which grew from Fox News, today features the respectable and entertaining Neil Cavuto, Charlie Gasparino and the inimitable libertarian, Judge Andrew Napolitiano, urging listeners to “Stay free!” This same crowd appears occasionally on Fox’s Don Imus morning show. Pretty mainstream. The zeitgeist has shifted to the right.

Mitt Romney sees it. His experience in South Carolina with Nikki Haley was telling. He was the first national figure to come to her aid when local (Republican) thugs tried to slander her. He did the right thing when it needed to be done. But it didn’t make much of a bump in Haley’s approval rating. A week later Palin endorsed Haley and her ratings skyrocketed. She won the governorship.

That should tell Romney how well he would do in the South Carolina primary. And it is already a lesson he learned earlier in Iowa, where he spent 20-some million and Mike Huckabee won. Palin is very popular in Iowa and could very well beat Huckabee this time. Radio commentator Lee Davis says if Palin wins Iowa and South Carolina and Romney wins New Hampshire, she will have the nomination. Could be.

Sarah Palin wants to do the right thing and so does Texas governor Rick Perry. Both have said that they would only think of running if no one else was running who would address the same issues they talk about, which is to say, Tea Party issues. I think they were talking about each other. Perry is an enormously attractive candidate but Palin has already managed to commandeer the media zeitgeist. Romney might sense now that his only road to the Presidency is following Palin as her VP. If he followed Palin he could package the feral spirit of Alaska and the west as no other could. And packaging is what it needs. But it would take Perry a little longer to get his own formidable kung fu going.

All interested should first look up New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent speech at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, where he told the crowd, “This is our moment.” Because Christie can make you cry. Not in a sad or unhappy way, but the way the crowd cried in the movie “Casablanca” when Victor Laszlo ordered the band to play La Marseillaise.

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