WASHINGTON – How’s Jon Huntsman going to compete with a good looking woman in leather? What Republican primary voter can resist a woman straddling a Harley? A woman who won’t let her obsession with what people think or say about her keep her from tying everyone in knots all the way to the bank.
Huntsman can’t compete, no one can, and the fact that Sarah Palin showed up at Rolling Thunder over the weekend like this (yes, I stopped by too) is one reason the establishment GOP has given up attacking her; they’ve simply got no play but to wait her out.
Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you have turned the Washington press corps into a bunch of paparazzi stalking your every move. – Jay Newton-Small
Newton-Small gets it. Palin is playing hard to get, with a little elusive butterfly thrown in, playing her sex appeal for all it’s worth and the press while she’s at it. Sarah Palin is the first woman to mine political sex appeal for millions even if no one acknowledges it. From CNN today:
Sarah Palin pulled a clever bait and switch on reporters in Gettysburg on Tuesday, as her “One Nation” bus tour rolls into its third day. […] As members of Palin’s advance staff began to roll out luggage to the bus on Tuesday morning, a crush of media and tourists gathered to meet the potential presidential candidate on her way out of the hotel. But CNN was soon tipped off that Palin was long gone, off to visit the Civil War battlefields and onward toward Philadelphia.
It’s part of what makes her irresistible to the press, but also why she can play them so well. They’re all waiting around to see who’ll get the scoop the moment she decides.
John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, all these presidential hopefuls courted the political press. But since the age of Sarah Palin dawned, her ability to draw a crowd, create chaos and make news, made possible by Roger Ailes and Fox New channel, has altered the journalistic playing field.
It’s annoying to be dragged around by a woman in leather, but that’s exactly what Sarah’s doing, and whether people like it or not she’s a story demanding to be covered.
There’s just no way this image is either presidential or will win over enough Independents for Palin to be competitive in the general election, though after her Harley stunt I’m even less convinced she’ll run. The first thing she’ll have to do is turn the blue collar, disaffected white voters in the rust belt her way; these are the people who were skeptical about Obama in the first place, with the economy making them pull away again. Sarah’s got a very hard sell ahead, very hard. She’s half the politician and one-eighth the policy acrobat of Hillary Clinton, the last woman these same voters trusted.
The GOP’s problem, however, is that the rest of their field looks neutered compared to Palin’s political parade, which is trailed by a pack of political paparazzi reduced to receiving her crumbs. All Palin has to do is get the nomination to make U.S. history. With the men she’s currently up against it likely doesn’t look that hard from her vantage point.
Sarah Palin’s bus tour is guided by a whim and a prayer. Anyone seeing some grand master plan needs to check their meds.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.