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Personifying Palin

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Neo-neocon concisely summarized the essential challenge Sarah Palin would face in a run for President:

Yes, she’s got name recognition, all right. But people have made up their minds about her, and her negatives are both high and seemingly set in stone.

Pretty but stupid is the perception. She’s not a person, she’s a punchline.

The particular kinds of stupid Palin suffers from seem correlated with one’s location in political space. The Progs think she’s a creationist simpleton reading from a cartoon Bible. The establishment righties think she’s not sufficiently sophisticated for the nuances of national and international politics. Somebody could probably accurately map the political space using opinions of Palin as coordinates.

I was never so convinced of the weight of Palin’s negatives. Hillary has a negs similarly heavy (but mostly opposite), and she would have beaten McCain anyway.

But let’s suppose those perception of Sarah Palin are not very accurate. They might be the product of Big Media and establishment politics in a sound-bite culture. That’s my inclination, but I don’t know for sure. Sarah does know.

So how would she overcome entrenched misperceptions? (If she wasn’t actually a moron.)

Let people get to know her better. Show herself as herself with minimal stage management and speechifying. Maybe keep up an regular and active presence on social media to bypass the network gatekeepers.

If people could see her at work, getting dirty and doing some swearing, that would make it harder for them sustain that Bible-thumper stereotype. Even better if the whole family shared some camera time to help take away the “otherness” in her negatives.

Maybe even have one of the kids solo in the spotlight for while. Say, in a competition to show how values and character and spirit were transmitted from mother to child.

And to soothe the intellectual set, publish a book or two to explain her side of the events that helped create those negatives. Here the goal is not to appear as a misunderstood expert, but merely to show a curiosity and an ability to apply reasoning to real situations.

I know that there are some, perhaps many, who would never change their opinion. (If it were true that Palin wasn’t a rube.) But Palin doesn’t have to persuade everyone to make herself a viable candidate. All she has to do is nip away at the margins of her negatives.

There’s more to it, for sure. It would have to be a multi-year campaign, always being present on the political stage, but rarely dominating it, to allow space for the personification to take hold. In a sense, she would have to become part of the American family. Like an opinionated aunt or sister-in-law that we like to see every so often because outside the politics, she is genuine and just plain fun.

There is a tipping point, where those that are persuadable will have heard someone they respect giving Palin a little more credit than they used to. And if that point is reached, then all the groundwork has already been laid. Sarah would have a vast catalog for a curious public to scrutinize.

Whether the public would agree with Palin’s policy prescriptions is another matter. But at least the public would know her. She would be a real person, not just a bucket of negative stereotypes.

Too bad Sarah Palin is too stupid to pull off such a dramatic PR transformation. At least she’s pretty…


A person with a well rounded background and savvy handlers certainly has a chance to be elected. The american electorate would never choose someone with little experience and murky past...oh, wait.

And someone with so much personal exposure would never be appealing to an electorate just burned by a President they realized they really knew nothing about…