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Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Would a Palin Campaign Look Like?

Those who tell us Palin isn't really running base their speculation on their  view that she hasn't done the necessary things to run a campaign.  Their view is based on the idea that the only way to run a campaign is to hire consultants, meet with power brokers in various states, and build a campaign structure from the top down.  There is the possibility that Palin is, by now, very familiar with that style of campaigning and doesn't think it works.  It didn't work for McCain/Palin.  It didn't work here in California for either Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina.    I am guessing that  a Palin presidential campaign will look very different from traditional campaigns.  Palin now has the benefit of having seen a lot of campaigns nationwide and has been material in turning a lot of expectations upside down.  She, more than any other GOP campaigner knows how to use the internet.

The internet allows her to communicate directly with her supporters and get her message out to the doubters.  If you want to know what Sarah Palin thinks about an issue, you don't even have to buy her books.  You can go to her Facebook page.  If you want to see her in action you can go to Palin TV.

While other potential presidential candidates are building the traditional top down structures, Palin is building a bottoms up structure on the internet.  Palin's Facebook page has more than two million eight hundred thousand "likes".  Mitt Romney's has a little over eight hundred thousand.  Each one of those "likes" is a potential campaign donor and precinct walker.

And speaking of campaign donors, some have noted that Palin has not lined up any of the traditional big money people.  That may be true.  But does she really need to?  Scott Brown raised a million dollars in one day  over the internet after conservative bloggers, AND Sarah Palin,  asked for donations for him.   Christine O'Donnell did the same the day after Karl Rove trashed her on Fox TV. Specifically, Rove pointed out that O'Donnell didn't have any money to run a campaign.   It was as if teapartiers were saying "take that" to Rove and all of the beltway elites.  If just her current Facebook friends like Palin enough to contribute $250.00 to her campaign she will be able to raise over 700 million dollars.  Do the math.  And keep in mind, the cost of raising that money, both in money and time, is close to zero.  No time consuming  expensive $2000 a plate fancy dinners.  No exclusive donor bundling cocktail parties.  If and when Palin announces, there will be a huge flow of cash to her for her campaign from her loyal followers who number in the millions.

What the beltway elites do not understand about Palin and her followers is that they are all issues people.  People don't "heart" Sarah Palin because she is pretty, although she is, or because she has charisma, although she does.  They love Palin because she is right on the issues.  And they love Palin because she is a mama grizzly.  She stands up and fights back.  We have been waiting for someone just like her for a long time.   Someone who takes the right stands on the issues and isn't afraid to say so.  Someone who doesn't apologize.

Most Americans agree with Palin on most of the important issues.  She is for expanding our domestic production of energy, so are most Americans.  She is for cutting the budget, so are most Americans.  She is against Obamacare.  So are most Americans.  She is pro-life.  More Americans support her position than the pro-abortion position.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board paid her the high compliment of saying that she had a better understanding of the economy than any other GOP candidate, when she came out and opposed QE 2 (the Federal Reserve Board's recent action of pumping 600 billion dollars of funny money into the economy).  As she predicted, we have now seen rampant inflation, particularly in gas prices and food prices, two of the necessities for living in a modern economy.

And though no big name has said it, Palin clearly knows more about and understands energy better than any other GOP candidate.  And, even more important, understands the clear connection between foreign policy and energy policy.

Lastly, Sarah Palin is a friend of Israel.  So are most Americans. That issue is not important only to Jews.  It is important to many evangelical Christians as well and to all people who truly understand the holocaust and who support human rights.

Being right on the issues is not enough.  A candidate also has to have the trust of the electorate.  The undefined, non card carrying "members" of the tea party, trust Sarah Palin because they saw her endorse dozens of conservative candidates and work for them in 2010.  They look at her records as mayor, oil commissioner and governor and they see a woman of integrity and honesty who is not beholden to  any elite group of power brokers.

It is because these issues are so important to so many ordinary, average, middle class people,  and, because they trust her, that millions of them will open their  checkbooks and put on their walking shoes to work for Palin.  That kind of army on the ground cannot be created overnight.  Palin has been working on it for two years now.

Unlike Obama supporters who have little real knowledge of the issues, most Palin supporters will be all about issues.

Because the American people agree with Palin on the issues, more than they agree with any other GOP candidate or Obama, her opponents will probably rely on their ongoing campaign and smears, most of which are  pure fabrications like the claim that she is not the mother of her own child.  They have thrown so many charges at her so many times that she is well prepared for this nonsense, unlike Mc Cain who was used to being adored by the press.  And she fights back against the smears, unlike Mc Cain and Bush and nearly every other GOP contender.  Her supporters like that.

Like a patient chess player, Palin has been putting the pieces of her campaign together, little by little, piece by piece over the last two years.  For example, among the successful candidates she endorsed are Governor Terry Branstead in Iowa,  Senator Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Governor Nikki Haley in South Carolina.  Will they endorse her?  We may find out in the next year.  She has been building her foreign policy credentials with her trip to India and Israel.  She has spoken out on important public issues like Libya and QE2  and the Tucson smear against conservatives when other Republicans were silent.

We are in a preparatory period where the logistics of a campaign are being developed.  Palin, if she is planning a campaign, is planning a different campaign than any seen before in presidential politics.  It will be a populist campaign not a publicists campaign.  It will be about issues, not personalities.  And there are literally millions of people just waiting for the chance to help.

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