Michael Reagan has written how strongly Sarah Palin reminds him of his adoptive father Ronald Reagan. I fully concur. Palin is a political talent of the first order. Here is my take on her performance in her debate with the hapless Joe Biden:
1. Palin brought home the fact that she and her family lead lives much closer to the lives of middle class Americans than any of the other candidates running on the national tickets, and in a year when Congress and the President have shrinkingly small approval ratings that is important.
2. She ignored some of the questions from the moderator and talked about what she wanted to talk about. Great!!! Political debates aren’t academic exercises, they are part of a political struggle and Palin, as opposed to Biden, understood that.
3. When she is unfiltered by the media she makes a dazzling impression. The campaign quickly needs to do a series of “talking head” commericials, a la Reagan in 80, with Palin addressing the issues of the economy and the threats abroad.
4. Palin has the gift, a rare one, of sticking the shiv in political opponents, and doing it with a pleasant smile. Most politicians when they go on the attack risk appearing mean-spirited, but not Palin! A true Happy Warrior.
5. She has an ear for the attention catching phrase: “Say it ain’t so Joe!”
6. Like Reagan she is helped by her enemies. The over the top attacks against her, some from within conservative ranks, set this debate up perfectly for her as a make or break moment. Thank you Palin haters!
7. Charisma is a much overused term, but no other will do for describing the impact of Palin on the television screen. This is a God-given gift that no amount of practice can give, and God was very generous indeed in the portion that He gave this daughter of Eve.
8. The shoutout to the third grade class demonstrates how unique a politician Palin is. Palin is a true feminist in that she brings her distinctly female style into the arena: heart on the sleeve, emotive, nurturing, caring, let’s work together for the common good, etc. Many female politicians try to be imitation men: Senator Clinton is a prime example. Most of them come across as humorless, brittle harpies who lack all charm. Palin uses the fact that she is a woman brilliantly to help drive home the points that she is making.
9. From relative obscurity to winning a national debate in five weeks, especially in the midst of a hostile media environment, is a phenomenal achievement, and those who underestimate Palin do so at their political peril.
10. The mantra among conservatives before last Thursday night was let Palin be Palin, and she was. She is a different type of politician with great political instincts. From here on out I have no doubt she will be charting her own political strategy and that is very good news for McCain and very bad news for Obama.