NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Dan Quayle was painted as someone who was stupid, a lightweight. His opponents caricatured him as a pretty face who wasn’t ready for prime time. And it stuck. Quayle was defined by his opponents, and their labels define him to this day.
Sarah Palin has to make sure she isn’t Quayled.
We still remember to this day that Dan Quayle couldn’t spell potato. We remember that he took on a television character in a national debate over fatherless-families.
Will Palin be defined by her Katie Couric interview?
She has some factors working against her. First, she hasn’t demonstrated competency. Until she delivers a home run in a hard-news, one-on-one interview, it will be assumed that she can’t. Secondly, even the people closest to her have always had doubts about her political ability. From her own book, the McCain campaign had operatives following her, making sure she didn’t talk to reporters off-script. One had instructions to physically remove her from situations where reporters had direct access to her. Even her own advisors say Palin is more conservative style than substance.
Not to say that Palin can’t change her image. Richard Nixon was thought of as a chronic loser. Yet he won the Presidency twice. Ronald Reagan wasn’t taken seriously when he ran for Governor in California. Conventional wisdom was that he was an empty-headed actor who was good a delivering his lines.
Palin is the most prominent conservative on the national stage right now. She will never have an ounce of support from the political left. There are a tremendous number of people in the middle who are persuadable if Palin steps up to the plate. Her new book, released today, is a move in that direction. Her next step will be interesting.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau