Matt Lewis

When it comes to Palin, ignore the ‘experts’

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

The insiders are largely agreed: Sarah Palin isn’t really running for president. She is more interested in making money and getting publicity. So her movie, bus tour, and poll numbers mean nothing. Zero. Nada.

The best example of this is probably found in Byron York’s column today:

“The bottom line is Sarah Palin is not going to run for president,” says a Republican adviser close to front-runner Mitt Romney. “She’s making money, she’s moved on, she’s kind of an entertainer rather than a politician. She still has some sway with the grass roots, but she is not going to run.”

“I don’t think she’s going to run,” says a Republican close to Tim Pawlenty. “She has faded a lot in the last few months. I look at what she’s doing now and say that she’s found a way to get back in the story.”

The obvious point here is that operatives working for Palin’s rivals have an incentive to dismiss her. (Ironically, I think this might actually entice her to run.) It would be a mistake for readers to believe analysis coming from Palin’s political rivals.

But they’re not alone. A lot of political insiders and campaign experts I talk to are convinced Palin is just in this for the attention — that she won’t run because running and losing would destroy her “brand.” They point to the fact that her team isn’t engaged in the organizational logistics a traditional presidential campaign must have in place to win in, say, Iowa, as evidence she isn’t running.

To be sure, there is something to be said for listening to the wise political experts and sages who have studied the game of politics. But their conventional wisdom falls flat when it comes to Palin. Reading these tea leaves might be a worthwhile predictor were we talking about a traditional politician like, say, Mitt Romney. But Palin is anything but a conventional politician. The fact that she’s not building a traditional campaign organization implies nothing.

Should she run, Palin will be unconventional — like a guerrilla insurgent fighting against the Redcoats. The experts can point to the number of soldiers against her, the training and weapons they have at their disposal, their nice uniforms, etc. — but the problem is they all march in a line. They are fighting an old-style fight. Palin believes the world has changed — that the old rules no longer matter. She may be right or wrong, but either way, the fact that she’s not checking off the traditional boxes shouldn’t be cited as evidence that she isn’t running.

By the way, sometimes an unpredictable opponent is the most dangerous. There’s a great scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where baseball catcher “Crash” Davis (played by Kevin Costner) tells dangerously-wild pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) to intentionally hit the team’s mascot with a pitch. (This, of course, serves to make opposing hitters believe Laloosh is either crazy — or cannot control his very fast pitches.) Costner then looks at the batter and says: “I wouldn’t dig in if I was you. Next one might be at your head. I don’t know where it’s gonna go. Swear to God.”

That’s probably good advice for Palin’s rivals and the so-called experts who think they are so sure she’s not going to run. (I don’t know what she’s going to do. Swear to God.)

  • dafrank

    Palin-hatred is a pathalogical disease among the slow thinking herds of “independent” liberal minds(and even the minds of some elitist RINO’s as well), which haunt most politically oriented internet forums. This opinion piece has brought out the usual crop.

    Why they hate and disdain her so seems to be connected to her lack of the usual elite educational (e.g., Ivy League) credentials plus her example as a hard working, smart and ambitious woman, beautiful wife and principled mother who wouldn’t be bullied by those who felt entitled to rule and just stood up for the values and common sense which have long been the backbone and engine of America’s past success. Those who love to be under the thumb of Big Brother, those who can see themselves as somehow related to him in spirit and wish to be “taken care of” out of his largess, see Palin as someone who could only spoil the order of things they take to be secularly devine. She is to be shunned, taken as a fool, found somehow morally perverse and intellectually shallow in order for their universe to remain intact. It’s just that simple.

    As to whether she will run, and, if so, whether or not she could win, I really cannot say. But, I think it is possible. In order to win, she would have to speak “past” the legacy MSM, which has so far followed their liberal brethren’s willful disdain of her, and establish some sort of direct, unfettered communication with the majority of American voters. This would be a hard job, but it is possible. Reagan did it, but he had a longer time to establish himself. Right now, our country does not have the luxury of waiting a long time for a leader who can re-establish the principles of liberty, individual rights and initiative, economic common sense and set an example of old fashioned high moral behavior in an era of relativist cultural and personal assessment. I hope Palin can be that person, but, if not, somebody had better be.

  • april

    “By the way, sometimes an unpredictable opponent is the most dangerous”

    That says it all. Have to admire a woman who “literally” scares the pants off of Liberals. No one makes the MSM media/liberals seethe with hate and vitriol more than just the mention of her name and one who can handle whatever is tossed her way. Which only means one thing – She is a huge threat to liberals and their agenda.

    Principles, values, morals, family, God, country….I could go on and on, everything the liberals and other GOP candidates do not have and never will. Scary indeed :) If the liberals listened hard enough they could hear the “silent” majority…Palin Palin Palin