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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Draper’

USA | Allt fler talar numera om senator Rand Paul som republikanernas blivande presidentkandidat. Detta säger en del om partiets problem.

The New York Times Magazine August 10 2014

Det har skrivits mycket om senatorn från Kentucky på senare tid. The New York Times Magazine och Time har haft honom på omslaget. The New Yorker har publicerat en längre essay. Time kallade honom t.o.m. för ”The most interesting man in american politics”.

Robert Drapers artikel i The New York Times Magazine fokuserar på de förändringar som republikanska partiet står inför om man vill kunna attrahera fler väljare.

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: “Unlike with previous generations, we’re seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It’s possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don’t have the numbers otherwise.” A G.O.P. more flexible on social issues might also appeal to another traditionally Democratic group with a libertarian tilt: the high-tech communities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, whose mounting disdain for taxes, regulations and unions has become increasingly dissonant with their voting habits.

Hence the excitement about Rand Paul. It’s hardly surprising that Paul, in Ekins’s recent survey of millennial voters, came out ahead of all other potential Republican presidential candidates; on issues including same-sex marriage, surveillance and military intervention, his positions more closely mirror those of young voters than those of the G.O.P. establishment. Paul’s famous 13-hour filibuster last year, while ultimately failing to thwart the confirmation of the C.I.A. director John Brennan, lit afire the Twittersphere and compelled Republican leaders, who previously dismissed Paul as a fringe character, to add their own #StandWithRand endorsements. Paul has also gone to considerable lengths to court non-Republican audiences, like Berkeley students and the National Urban League. In a presidential field that could include Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, Paul — who has called himself “libertarian-ish” — is by far the candidate most associated with the movement.

Pauls önskan om att bli mer relevant i amerikansk politik har inneburit att han har varit tvungen att kompromissa och modifiera sitt politiska budskap för att kunna tilltala fler inom och utanför sitt parti.

Time Oct 27-2014

Det är talande är att Michael Scherers artikel i Time har rubriken ”The Reinventions Of Rand”.

It is a measure of his caution that his positions now take several sentences to explain. He will not say whether he supports bombing Iran if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, but also supports sanctions policies to try to prevent that from ever happening. He is against marijuana legalization even as he fights to end prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He opposed limits on campaign donations but supports a plan to bar federal contractors from donating to politics. He opposes gay marriage but also opposes a constitutional amendment to define marriage, saying that states and Congress should pursue an extensive strategy of decoupling all government benefits from marriage so a ban might pass court scrutiny.

Paul uppfattas, både politiskt och ideologiskt, fortfarande stå i skuggan av sin fars politiska karriär. Kongressledamoten Ron Paul var under många år den tydligaste förespråkaren för de libertarianska idéerna inom det republikanska partiet.

Vid ett tillfälle bröt Ron Paul t.o.m. med partiet när han ansåg partiet hade blivit alltför konservativt. Inför valet 1988 nominerade Libertarian Party honom som sin presidentkandidat.

Ideologiskt har Rand Paul därför, precis som vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan under förra presidentvalet, försökt distansera sig från en lång rad nyliberala idéer.

Även om detta rent teoretiskt ökar sannolikheten för att han skall lyckas bli nominerad öppnar det samtidigt upp för attacker från politiska motståndare. Det är bara att fråga Mitt Romney.

När han nu försöker bättra på sin politiska image riskerar han slå knut på sig själv. Romneys motsägelsefulla försök att distansera sig från sin tid som guvernör i delstaten Massachusetts förföljde honom under hela presidentvalskampanjen.

Samma månad som Scherers artikel publicerades i Time publicerade The New Yorker Ryan Lizzas betydligt längre essay “The Revenge of Rand Paul”.

In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul.

[…]

Yet, also like Obama at a similar stage in his career, Paul could be hobbled by past associations and statements, especially on race and foreign policy. He has questioned government attempts, including a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to address discrimination in the private sector. He has proposed dramatically slashing the Pentagon’s budget and cancelling all foreign aid. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988 and as an isolationist Republican in the Presidential primaries of 2008 and 2012. Rand has followed his lead in opposing most U.S. military interventions of the past few decades, aside from the war in Afghanistan.

Many members of the Republican establishment see him as a dorm-room ideologue whose politics are indistinguishable from his father’s. Earlier this year, Mark Salter, who helped run John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, wrote that Rand’s “foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.”

[…]

As with so many aspects of his personal history, Paul approaches the subject of his intellectual influences as though he were defusing a bomb. In his book, he wrote about several libertarian writers he had turned to since high school: Ayn Rand (“one of the most influential critics of government intervention and champions of individual free will”), Hayek (“ ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a must-read for any serious conservative”), and the Mises disciple Murray Rothbard (“a great influence on my thinking”). In my conversation with him, he shrugged them off.

Ayn Rand was just “one of many authors I like,” he said. “And it’s, like, ‘Oh, because I believe in Ayn Rand I must be an atheist, I must believe in everybody needs to be selfish all the time, and I must believe that Howard Roark is great and Ellsworth Toohey is evil,’ but she’s one of many authors I’ve read. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too.”

Hayek? “I wouldn’t say I’m like some great Hayek scholar.”

Rothbard? “There are many people I’m sure who are more schooled.”

[…]

Rand Paul has spent the past few months often clumsily trying to convince voters that his foreign policy differs from his father’s. Rand is perhaps best known, thus far, for his nearly thirteen-hour filibuster last year to protest the Administration’s use of drones—a tactic that further convinced Republican hawks that he doesn’t share their assessment of the risks posed by terrorism. Over the summer, Paul was under constant attack from rivals, such as Governor Rick Perry, of Texas, who described him as “curiously blind” to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. As with the criticisms of his past statements on civil rights, Paul felt that he was the victim of a smear campaign. “Unfair criticism from people who have partisan goals,” he told me.

Kritiken kommer knappast mildras framöver. Ju närmare valrörelsen vi kommer ju mer kommer hans idéer att granskas.

Och skulle han vinna partiets nominering väntar demokraternas attacker. Är det något man kan vara säker på så är det att demokraternas kampanjstrateger har en tjock dossier märkt ”Rand Paul – flip-flopper”.

Läs mer: Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington” av David Corn i Mother Jones är ett bra exempel på vad demokraterna (och republikanska motståndare) kan komma att fokusera på.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 10 augusti 2014 och Time, 27 oktober 2014.

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IMAGE | Republican Party är idag synonymt med världsfrånvändhet. Frågan är om man ens hinner återhämta sig till nästa presidentvalskampanj.  

The New York Times Magazine den 17 februari 2013

Det har blivit allt tydligare att Team Obama hade ett enormt teknologiskt försprång kring bl.a. sociala medier under valrörelsen. Och detta berodde inte bara på att Mitt Romney kom igång sent med sin valrörelse. 

Snarare handlade det om att partiet aldrig riktigt förstått betydelsen av att föjla med i den teknologiska utvecklingen.  

Barack Obama var dessutom inte sen att hjälpa till att sätta bilden av Mitt Romney som en person vars värderingar fastnat i 1950-talet.

Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine, beskriver i en artikel två fokusgrupper som försökt utröna hur amerikanarna idag uppfattar republikanerna.

Den som genomförde fokusgrupperna var Kristen Soltis Anderson. Hon är vicepresident i Winston Group och är en av många yngre republikaner som har försökt få partiet att inse att man måste moderniseras om man vill kunna överleva.

One afternoon last month, I flew with Anderson to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her conduct two focus groups. The first consisted of 10 single, middle-class women in their 20s; the second, of 10 20-something men who were either jobless or employed but seeking better work. All of them voted for Obama but did not identify themselves as committed Democrats and were sufficiently ambivalent about the president’s performance that Anderson deemed them within reach of the Republicans. Each group sat around a large conference table with the pollster, while I viewed the proceedings from behind a panel of one-way glass.

The all-female focus group began with a sobering assessment of the Obama economy. All of the women spoke gloomily about the prospect of paying off student loans, about what they believed to be Social Security’s likely insolvency and about their children’s schooling. A few of them bitterly opined that the Democrats care little about the working class but lavish the poor with federal aid. “You get more off welfare than you would at a minimum-wage job,” observed one of them. Another added, “And if you have a kid, you’re set up for life!”

About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said. The first word she wrote was “Democrat.”

“Young people,” one woman called out.

“Liberal,” another said. Followed by: “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.” “Change.” “Open-minded.” “Spending.” “Handouts.” “Green.” “More science-based.”

When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”

Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”

A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”

“What would be the sign to you that the Republican Party is moving in the right direction?” Anderson asked them.

“Maybe actually pass something?” suggested a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Courtney, who also identified herself as conservative.

The session with the young men was equally jarring. None of them expressed great enthusiasm for Obama. But their depiction of Republicans was even more lacerating than the women’s had been. “Racist,” “out of touch” and “hateful” made the list — “and put ‘1950s’ on there too!” one called out.

Showing a reverence for understatement, Anderson said: “A lot of those words you used to describe Republicans are negative. What could they say or do to make you feel more positive about the Republican Party?”

“Be more pro-science,” said a 22-year-old moderate named Jack. “Embrace technology and change.”

“Stick to your strong suit,” advised Nick, a 23-year-old African-American. “Clearly social issues aren’t your strong suit. Stop trying to fight the battle that’s already been fought and trying to bring back a movement. Get over it — you lost.”

Later that evening at a hotel bar, Anderson pored over her notes. She seemed morbidly entranced, like a homicide detective gazing into a pool of freshly spilled blood. In the previous few days, the pollster interviewed Latino voters in San Diego and young entrepreneurs in Orlando. The findings were virtually unanimous. No one could understand the G.O.P.’s hot-blooded opposition to gay marriage or its perceived affinity for invading foreign countries. Every group believed that the first place to cut spending was the defense budget. During the whiteboard drill, every focus group described Democrats as “open-minded” and Republicans as “rigid.”

“There is a brand,” the 28-year-old pollster concluded of her party with clinical finality. “And it’s that we’re not in the 21st century.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 17 februari 2013.

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DEBATT | Två presidentvalsdebatter avklarade. En återstår. Under tre veckors tid under valrörelsen handlar allt om just dessa debatter.

Att Barack Obama är en skicklig och disciplinerad kommunikatör är något han bevisade redan valrörelsen 2008.

Mitt Romneys å andra sidan är som bäst när han får tala ekonomi och statistik. Han personifierar affärsmannen som vill till Vita huset för att kunna reda ut vad politikerna i Washington har ställt till med.

Men det finns också likheter.

Båda är intelligenta, analytiska och faktaorienterade. Man får lätt känslan av att de mycket väl – om inte deras partier och kärntrupper tryckte på i bakgrunden – skulle kunna sätta sig ner tillsammans och hamra fram överenskommelser till gagn för landet.

En annan likhet är att ingen av dem är speciellt skickliga debattörer. Inte konstigt om presidentdebatterna då blir nervpirrande tillställningar för alla involverade.

Och för väljarna är debatterna dessutom enda gången under hela valrörelsen som man har möjlighet att granska kandidaterna under former och spelregler som – åtminstone på papperet – inte ger den ena fördelar över den andre.

Robert Draper, korrespondent för tidskriften GQ skriver, att dessa debatter paradoxalt nog är både ”absolut avgörande och fullständigt meningslösa”.

Vad kandidaterna säger under debatterna speglar ofta inte de realiteter som möter segraren efter valet. Å andra sidan avslöjar debatterna någon om kandidaternas karaktär.

Draper skriver vidare:

”The reality of what determines a presidential campaign, among the small percentage of voters who move back and forth,” says former John McCain strategist Steve Schmidt, ”are the debates, where 50 million people watch what these guys have to say. In the aftermath of a presidential campaign, the importance of the debate is so understated, almost an afterthought—when in reality it is absolutely, exponentially the most important thing that happens, times 100,000.”

So consider the stakes, the pressure. And then consider something that might strike you as odd, given how long Obama and Romney have dwelled on the public stage—which is that neither man is skilled at this sort of thing. ”Barack Obama, I would submit, is not a very good debater,” says David Birdsell, the dean of Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs and a renowned debate expert. ”He’s very cautious, he ramps down the arch of ambition that we otherwise see in his prepared spoken material—and it’s distancing. He has that vocal tic where he says, ‘Look,’ and then pauses. The ‘Look’ is a gesture of impatience—saying that at best we don’t fully understand the situation, or at worst ‘I’m tired of dealing with these idiotic inquiries.’ It’s deeply condescending. Then he chooses his words very carefully, but they don’t sound like they’re coming from the human heart.”

Wait—could that last sentence be describing someone else? Here is Birdsell’s even less charitable view of Mitt Romney as a debater: ”He shows an excess of caution in declaring his interests and perspectives. And he shows a degree of deftness at avoiding commitment—and consistently a failure to provide a compelling narrative of what drives him, either personally or in the policy arena. Now, he remembers figures well, and he looks great in doing what he does. But it’s possible to rattle him. Remember when Rick Perry got under his skin? He replied with, ‘I’ll bet you 10,000 bucks.’ When rattled, he runs to his inner Eddie Haskell.”

So why do we put them through it? Probably because debates force these starchy, overrehearsed, vainglorious pontificators to be human, more or less. We need to see them fidget and fume and (maybe) flash some greatness; and (maybe) we enjoy making them suffer.

But why do we put America through it? Why permit the fate of our country to hinge on three ninety-minute performances that are unlike anything the winner will be expected to do as president?

If you look at history and talk to the experts of the art and science of presidential debates, you find that, during these ninety-minute proto-reality shows, some vital information we can’t seem to get anywhere else is exchanged—even if the candidates screw up or if we take the wrong message from their screwups. You’ll also find, if you talk to people who have directly advised Obama and Romney, either currently or in the past, that this year’s verbal cage fight is anybody’s game.

Political consultants, historians, and debate gurus are united in their opinion that debates are at once absolutely crucial and utterly meaningless. ”Obviously on a substantive level debates don’t mean much,” says former Al Gore strategist Carter Eskew, ”because nothing discussed is really relevant to what happens when you’re president. But then you go to this other level: Do they reveal character and personality? And I think that in some ways they do.”

Övrigt: Inlägget publicerat parallellt på Makthavare.se.

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KAMPANJ | Mitt Romney har haft det tufft den senaste tiden. Han har varit under ständig attack för sin tid i riskkapitalbolaget Bain Capital.

Parallellt har man också angripet honom för att han vägrar offentligöra alla sina deklarationer.

Kritiken är i och för sig inte ny. Vad som är nytt är att demokraterna verkar ha bestämt sig för att fokusera på Romneys tid i näringslivet.

Man skulle gissat att det var mer fruktbart att inrikta sig på hans ständiga byta av åsikter i olika sakfrågor. Listan över alla gånger han har flip-floppat är nämligen lång som en måndag.

I artikeln ”Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?” har Robert Draper beskrivit hur strategin har tagit form bland Barack Obamas allierade.

Bill Burton och Sean Sweeney har grundat en s.k. super PAC. Deras Priorities USA Action är en av de ledande på den demokratiska sidan.

Last December — specifically, on Pearl Harbor Day — Burton and Sweeney met with a few other Priorities advisers in the Dupont Circle office of the pollster Geoff Garin to decide just what their Romney story would be. They quickly discarded the Romney-as-flip-flopper leitmotif. To say that the Republican lacked a firm set of positions was to concede that he couldn’t be defined. Better, they concluded, to assert that Romney in fact possessed beliefs — very extreme ones.

Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. What became clear was that voters had almost no sense of Obama’s opponent. While conducting a different focus group — this one with non-college-educated Milwaukee voters on the eve of Wisconsin’s April 3 primary — Burton and Sweeney were surprised to learn that even after Romney had spent months campaigning, many in the group could not recognize his face, much less characterize his positions. Compounding the Republican nominee’s strangely persistent obscurity is that, as Garin told me, “Romney is not a natural politician in the sense of embracing opportunities to talk about himself.”

That left an opening for the Democrats to tell Romney’s story, and over the spring they figured out how to do so. Obama’s opponent was not an ideologue per se, the Priorities team decided, but instead someone who knows and cares only about wealthy Americans. Burton describes the distinction as “a top/bottom rather than left/right approach” — also known in Republican circles as class warfare.

The best explanatory tool for this narrative would prove to be Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. In this recasting of Romney’s self-described chief qualification to be president, the candidate may well be someone who understands how the economy works but cares only about making it work for rich guys like himself. As one participant in the Priorities focus groups told me, “Businessmen are often highly admired, but there’s no real template for somebody with Mitt Romney’s type of business experience getting embraced.”

Läs mer: ”Romney’s Midsummer Test ochStatus of Bain and Romney’s Tax Returns”. Båda av Mark Halperin på Time. ”After missteps, Romney adds to communication team” av Sam Youngman på Reuter. ”Democrats Pounce On Poll Showing Attacks On Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Career Are Working” av Jon Ward, The Huffington Post.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 8 juli 2012.

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USA | I media utgår man ofta ifrån att den största influensen i Mitt Romneys liv har varit hans far, George Romney.

Efter fem månaders efterforskning har Barton Gellman kommit fram till en annan slutsats.

Gellman argumenterar för att hans mor, Lenore Romney, är den som kanske mer än någon annan har påverkat Mitts politiska utveckling och inställning till valkampanjer.

”It was Lenore who gave Mitt a model for engaging in public life.”

Ingen presidentkandidat har tidigare växt upp med föräldrar där båda har sökt höga politiska ämbeten. Lenore var en föregångare inom det republikanska partiet.

Barton Gellman skriver i Time:

Mitt Romney, the youngest of four children, was deeply engaged in his mother’s campaign, far more than the ones his father ran when Mitt was young. He accompanied her on hundreds of campaign stops, driving together across all 83 Michigan counties in a blue truck festooned with lenore signs.

[…]

No presidential nominee until now has grown up with two parents who ran for high office or so much early exposure to the craft. Their public ruin seared him and schooled him. The lessons he drew have shaped his ambitions, his calculations of risk and his strategy for achieving what his mother and father could not. Bluntly put, Mitt learned from each of his parents how to lose an election. He found much to emulate as well, but longtime associates and family members say it became his prime concern to avoid their mistakes. As he constructed a political persona, they say, his father’s career loomed large–but his choices owed more to Lenore than to George.

[…]

He had little of George’s appetite for war. It was Lenore who gave Mitt a model for engaging in public life. She was poised, articulate, strikingly good-looking and able to deflect unpleasant questions with a reproachful ”Good grief!” She lived in an age when women in politics still released their glove and shoe sizes (6½ and 7AAA), but she valued her privacy, holding the public at arm’s length behind an unruffled facade. Whereas her husband relished a good fight, she sidestepped and looked for common ground with her critics. Mitt displayed much the same temperament as he grew up–cautious and increasingly self-controlled. In politics he adopted his mother’s practice of melting away from battle whenever possible. He had learned to take a punch but seldom threw one.

[…]

”In 1970, he saw his mother subjected to just a brutal campaign, where she got as much opposition from the far-right wing of her own party as Mitt is getting this time from the Tea Party and the hardcore conservatives 42 years later. He’s trying to avoid confrontation, much the way she did.”

Läs mer: Artikeln ”Run, Little Mitt, Run” av Robert Draper kan rekommenderas om man vill läsa om George Romneys betydelse för Mitts politiska utveckling.

Se mer: Time har unika bilder på Lenore Romneys valkampanj 1970.

Övrigt: Artikeln i Time finns i den amerikanska utgåvan. På sajten Baidu finns dock en kopia. (Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är från den 4 juni 2012.)   

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STRATEGI | Detta är Mitt Romneys andra försök att bli republikanernas presidentkandidat. Robert Draper skriver om strategin bakom valkampanjen.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has decided upon a rather novel approach to winning the presidency. It has taken a smart and highly qualified but largely colorless candidate and made him exquisitely one-dimensional: All-Business Man, the world’s most boring superhero.

[…]

The spin Romney himself puts on his minimalist approach is that after nearly four years of nonstop campaigning, “people know me pretty well.” And yet the unintended signal sent by his narrow casting is that the less said about Mitt Romney, the better. Obama’s strategists ran an entire presidential campaign through the affecting tapestry of his own narrative. Romney — who has written two books, both scantily personal — maintains an uneasy distance from his own life story, steeped as it is in privilege, Mormonism and the murky art of political compromise. His avoidance of these subjects does not mean that they will go away, only that his opponents will have an opening to frame them as they wish.

Still, it may well be that this strategy of underwhelming force ends up fitting perfectly with a pervasive sense of disillusionment with the once-dazzling Obama. In the aftermath of failed romance with the One, perhaps the electorate will come to settle on Mitt Romney as the One Who Won’t Break Your Heart.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine, 4 december 2011.

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VITA HUSET: Robert Draper har tecknat ett intressant porträtt av Sarah Palin. Ännu har hon inte officiellt meddelat att hon tänker kandidera men hela hennes strategi tyder på att hon redan har tagit sikte på Vita huset. Som Tea Party-rörelsens frontfigurer har hon redan en imponerande skara anhängare bland gräsrötterna.

”Sarah Palin’s withering regard for the media co-exists with the fact that Sarah Palin is a media sensation. Throughout this year’s midterm cycle, no one commanded as much free time on the air as Palin, who of course wasn’t running for office herself. Her mere presence or nonpresence at various campaign events — or the distance that wary Republican candidates kept from her — routinely eclipsed whatever else took place at the events themselves. Concurrently, Palin’s denunciations of the Obama White House via Twitter garnered substantial attention not because the opinions were especially novel but because they were expressed with the brashness of a wily headline-grabber. […]

The road to a presidential candidacy traditionally involves a carefully sequenced gathering of tribes and marking of territory. Palin has ignored this playbook. Her only-dead-fish-go-with-the-flow improvisatory ethic is certifiably anti-Beltway and confers on Palin an aura of authenticity. It is also erratic and short on self-discipline, reminding us that Sarah Palin’s ascendency is recent and she remains a work in progress — all the while casting a very long shadow over the Republican Party, shaped like a question mark.”

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