The IUSB Vision Weblog

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Palin’s New Book Confirms: McCain’s communications machine was incompetent. Liberal McCain staffers had a hostility to her base and thus misjudged it. May have cost them the election.

Posted by iusbvision on September 30, 2009

Here at IUSB Vision we have a category called “Palin Truth Squad“. You can see that we reported that the McCain campaign communications machine became more incompetent after the Palin announcement. It seems that Palin’s book is going to give us at least some of the details.

Later we reported that many of the McCain staffers were “David Frum” types like Steve Schmidt, that had previously overtly slandered religious conservatives and others in the Reagan wing of the party (LINK). Such people are mortified by Palin and by people such as Glenn Beck, John Gibson, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and even Brit Hume. This explains why McCain’s communications machine deliberately kept Palin away from Fox News and these other venues. They gave her a few moments with Carl Cameron at Fox, or perhaps she only did this after she went rogue, but at that time it was too little too late.

palin-silhouetteSome McCain Campaign staffers (Schmidt and Wallace) let their emotional hostility of the Reagan wing of the party blind them to a clear asset that could have helped Sarah to introduce herself to the country in a venue that would give her the opportunity to define herself clearly.

Palin should have been given interviews with Limbaugh and Hannity first, then Greta, Beck, John Gibson and then O’Reilly, Hume and Wallace so that Palin would have had the opportunity to define herself first and hone her interview skills with progressively tougher interviews in tougher venues.

To send a person who is new and undefined on the national stage to Charles Gibson and Katie Couric who set out with clear intent to destroy her (LINK 2, 3, 4) with much tougher gotcha questions than those two ever asked Edwards, Obama or Biden (LINK) was foolish because since those were her first interviews, it would be by those interviews that people would have their first impression of her. As a result the McCain Campaign forfeited its opportunity to define its own Vice Presidential nominee.

If Palin had done the interviews I mentioned first and then did ABC and CBS she would have been ready, but more importantly the American people would already have had a solid first impression and definition of Sarah Palin in mind which would have put her in a much better position for a hostile interview. The result would have been ABC and CBS looking like they were playing a mean spirited gotcha game to get her and those interviews would have ended up helping her with cross pressured voters with a few smart commercials taking shots at ABC and CBS.

This is not just communications 101 folks, this is communications for dummies.

The clincher? Research now shows that cross pressured voters and independents watch Fox News. They might not always agree with Fox but they do watch it so the McCain Campaign stayed away from the audience that the campaign needed to reach the most.

The Wall Street Journal has the first tidbits from Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue:

Ms. Vincent didn’t reveal any details about the book, but did acknowledge it will describe Ms. Palin’s frustration over her treatment by the staffers she inherited from the McCain campaign after her surprise pick as the GOP vice presidential nominee last year. Ms. Palin was booked on grueling interviews with hostile reporters while talk-show hosts such as Glenn Beck couldn’t even get through to her aides. Mr. Beck tells me he was stunned when he picked up the phone one day just before the election to discover Sarah Palin was on the other end of the line. “She explained that she had been blocked from reaching her audience, so she was now ‘going rogue’ and booking her own interviews,” Mr. Beck told me. “I was thrilled she had burst out of the cage they’d built for her and we were finally talking.”

What is Palin to do next?

Sarah Palin should keep building foreign policy credibility with these overseas conferences and when the time comes she needs to start re-introducing herself to the Republican base and then to the American people.

The simple truth is that a sizable chunk of the base is dismissive of her because they were overwhelmed by the elite media and SNL slander that went almost unrefuted because Palin was kept away from non-elite media venues.

Sarah Palin should come up with a phrase or an idea that sets her apart from other Republicans rhetorically and make it hers. For example: referring to the GOP as “The Party of Lincoln”, “What happened to the Party of Lincoln” or “Its time to bring back the Party of Lincoln”. It doesn’t have to be Lincoln (obviously) but it has to be something that distinguishes her from the Romney Brand and the Huckabee Brand that inspires trust.

Talk about real principles or virtues with some good foreign policy and macroeconomic details (avoid the word values because that word has baggage). Get practice in these venues and then move to moderately tougher ones. Since independents watch Fox Palin can kill two birds with one stone with a smart communications strategy. When the time comes to face the hostile NBC or ABC interview, Palin should go in bold, prepared and with one goal, WIN. She doesn’t have to be horribly tough but don’t etiquette herself out of the election like McCain did in the debates.

Chuck Norton
Cross posted at PoliGazette.

One Response to “Palin’s New Book Confirms: McCain’s communications machine was incompetent. Liberal McCain staffers had a hostility to her base and thus misjudged it. May have cost them the election.”

  1. When I heard that one of the staffers had come from CBS, I was stunned. I also knew the fix was in and that McCain’s people were out to destroy his campaign.

    [When one reads Steve Schmidt’s previous comments about the Reagan Wing of the party that we linked it becomes obvious that he has a hate/envy problem like Frum & Brooks have. Since Schmidt was powerful in the campaign it is likely that he brought others on board with the same problem. One simply has to look at Meghan McCain’s recent comments to be certain that these attitudes were not just with Schmidt.

    I am not ready to say that they sabotaged the campaign deliberately, although I sympathize with your position, because if I had set out to torpedo Palin and the campaign I would have done exactly what they did and in the order they did it. It is more likely that their ‘resentment issues” caused them to make some emotionally reflexive decisions and the failed campaign and the attacks on Palin were the result. – Editor]

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