One thing we know about Sarah Palin is that, when she has been in charge,her campaigns are not traditional campaigns. Another thing we know about Palin is that she connects in a powerful way with ordinary people. Count me as one of them. In an earlier post I mentioned Palin’s Facebook page which is almost a complete campaign platform entered one note at a time. Apparently, a lot of the establishment didn’t know that Facebook could be used that way. The more than 3 million people who have “friended” Palin on Facebook do know that. Apparently a lot of the media knows that too because Palin frequently makes news by posting an opinion on Facebook. I don’t know Sarah Palin at all, although I have “friended”her on Facebook. So my thoughts on how she would run a campaign are mine only. But, FWIW she has never run a conventional campaign and she has often won office with an unconventional campaign. One of the things she learned from being part of Mc Cain’s conventional campaign is that the MSM is never a conservative’s friend. So she has chosen options that weren’t even available to her predecessors. Facebook is one of them. It’s free. It allows her to communicate directly with people who are interested enough to “friend” her. It creates an easily available record of what she really said. She also has Palin TV where you can see videos of what she said. Palin has millions of dedicated fans and she has figured out how to easily and quickly communicate with them for near free. She may not have made friends with all the State Chairpersons and big donors, but she is friends with an awful lot of the people who walk precincts, make phone calls and stuff envelopes. I personally think this is one of the reasons that the Karl Roves and Ed Rollins are uncomfortable with her. They hold some of the keys to the inside movers and shakers. Palin, effectively, says, thanks but no thanks, I’m not planning to use that door.
The inside movers and shakers used to be the people who could get the poll workers out. Not any more. The tea party is just the surface of that deep alienation of the down to earth conservative majority in this country that refuse to be led anymore. I am referring to the cable guys and the plumbers and the insurance claim adjusters who do politics as a side line and the people who got involved because their taxes are too high and they are tired of paying for all the political perks of the people who look down on them.
Palin connects to those people, the ordinary people. BEcause of modern technology she is able to connect with them directly. In addition to the internet, Palin has several of the most listened to talk show hosts saying supportive things about here– Limbaugh and Hannity are political heavyweights. And they connect with a lot more people than Karl Rove does.
Palin and the tea party have already taught us that conventional ideas of fundraising are not all there is. Remember when Rove went on Fox News and said a lot of nasty things about Christine O’Donnell’s primary victory? How much money did she raise the next day (yes — in one day) over a million dollars in small donations. It appears that negative remarks from Karl Rove only help raise money. The Republican establishment finds those little pocketbooks firmly closed when they come calling. Example– Carly Fiorina was the establishment candidate in the California Senatorial primary. She wasn’t even winning the primary until Palin endorsed her. One suspects that Palin endorsed her to keep Tom Campbell from winning. Campbell is even more liberal than Fiorina and was the front runner until the Palin endorsement.
Organize4Palin, another pro-palin group, is already seeking out leaders in every state for the precinct walking coffee in your house with your neighbors campaigning that is very effective. And Stephen Bannon, another Palin fan has made a movie, “The Undefeated” about Palin, (and contrary to some reports, not commissioned by her) that will make perfect coffee in your house viewing. I anticipate, in the event of a Palin candidacy, inviting all my neighbors to my house to see the movie and hand out campaign flyers. Palin already has and will continue to have boots on the ground when it comes to campaigning.
The loyalty of Palin’s followers have nothing to do with her attractiveness or her “image”. It has everything to do with her proven positions on issues. She cut Alaska’s budget when it was in surplus. She took on the oil companies and crafted a compromise that let them operate at a profit and let Alaska get its fair share of the profits. (Please note, the State of Alaska OWNS the land which the oil companies drill on. It is entitled to a fair share of the profit, just like the shopping mall owner is entitled to a fair share of the profit from the stores who lease from it.) And yes, she made some mistakes, like passing the ethics law that was used to drive her out of office with frivolous complaints that were found to be lacking in merit. Now she knows what she, in her innocence, did not know before. People will use a law intended for good to harass and destroy. I’m pretty sure any ethics law she advocates in the future will take that into account.
On the issues, she will be strong on developing our energy resources. She alone, among the leading candidates, seems to understand that we cannot stand up to the dictators of the Middle East (whether the current ones or the new ones sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran) unless we have made ourselves less vulnerable to an oil boycott.
She understands the need to get rid of crippling regulations and let businesses do their own thing. She alone has the courage to back the Ryan plan and to talk about Medicare. (I support her and I am a Medicare recipient so it can be done.)
Her supporters, like me, support her because we think as she does, that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy and that drastic action needs to be taken. We support her because she isn’t afraid of the establishment and the entrenched powers that be who seem intent on driving us over a cliff. We support her because if R is for reverse, that is exactly what we want to happen. If you are driving over a cliff, putting the car in reverse is a very good idea. We think that voting for a candidate who promises us to drive over the cliff slowly instead of rapidly is not a sensible compromise. We need to go another direction entirely.
A Palin campaign will probably include a lot of personal appearances and a lot of e-mails. It will get the message out through e-mails, Facebook, Palin TV and other sources independent of the MSM. It will include a lot of work by the boots on the ground– coffees, precinct walking, get out the vote phone calls, yard signs and a whole lot of people to people campaigning. Nearly 1 percent of the population of the United States has signed up to be her friend on Facebook. That means that every friend on Facebook only has to talk to about 100 other people to reach the entire population of the United States with her message.
Palin also has shown a better strategic sense than her opponents. Her resignation as governor was a surprise move. But looking back, it made a great deal of sense. To establish herself as something more than a publicity phenom, she needed to get involved in the 2010 elections. With an ethics complaint being filed every time she left the State of Alaska, she had to make a decision. She was having to defend these frivolous complaints, all but one of which were dismissed, with her own money while simultaneously in a position where she could earn only limited amounts. She set up a Palin defense fund with some of the best legal advice around and That was targeted for an ethics complaint. She obviously saw that the purpose of the ethics complaints was to tie her down to Alaska where she could not be as effective in helping other candidates. She also found out that the Democrats in the Alaska legislature had their marching orders from the national party to never cooperate with her again. She wasn’t going to get anything more done in Alaska as governor because of orders from Obama. The Democrats saw how she energized the base and she became their target after the election. While some call her resignation speech rambling, it was a full explanation, one that her opponents and skeptics rarely even listen to, but nonetheless the real one. AS it turns out she was extremely effective in the 2010 elections as a private citizen. Her endorsement of a candidate was literally worth millions of dollars to some candidate because her endorsements sparked small internet donations in the millions of dollars.
The importance of the boots on the ground is great. If you have been listening to the MSM and have come to the conclusion that Sarah Palin is a right wing nut, seeing that your neighbor, who has always seemed pretty level headed has a pro Palin sign in his yard, being invited for coffee to view “the Undefeated” which presents an entirely different view of Palin, may change your mind. I suspect that Palin understands that the time for that kind of campaigning is much closer to the election when most people have actually started to think about who they will vote for. We are more than a year out from November 2012 and more than 6 months out from the first primaries and most people really aren’t thinking about it yet.
So, in summary, if Sarah runs, it will likely be a campaign largely funded by small donations from millions of supporters, most made over the internet. (Obama also raised a large amount of money that way). There will be an army of boots on the ground making phone calls, holding coffees, paying for their own campaign signs, showing movies and distributing leaflets. Politicians have not forgotten how effective this kind of campaigning is, they just haven’t, on a national level, been able to generate the volunteers to do it. Sarah will be able to. She will use the internet, including her Facebook page and the myriad bloggers who support her, who do research on the issues and who write positive stories about her, including Palin TV and other as yet to be determined web pages, to communicate as much as she will use traditional media, probably even more. Will it work? I hope we have the opportunity to find out.