The McCain camp has made a major blunder regarding Sarah Palin. Her convention speech was amazing. The base was energized. There was buzz. And then something inexplicable happened. She vanished.
It’s like McCain’s people took her away and began a crash course of Washington politics. The press was denied access. Interview requests were turned down. They began to mold her into something she wasn’t and I think it has hurt her confidence. I cite some recent missteps in interviews as evidence of this. Somewhere along the line I believe the McCain camp became afraid to turn her loose and as a result she has lost some of her luster.
I am stunned at how McCain has sheltered his running mate in this campaign. I feel this is McCain’s biggest mistake. While Joe Biden is running around the campaign trail inserting his foot in his mouth on a daily basis, Palin has not been allowed to interact with the press at all. What is going on? What is McCain afraid of? I watched her interviews, and yes she stumbled a few times. So what. Stop pretending that she has foreign policy experience. She is a governor. She isn’t supposed to have foreign policy experience. Don’t try to sell us the bogus claim that sitting between Russia and Canada gives her foreign policy credentials. We know better than that and, frankly, it reflects poorly on Palin’s credibility. She doesn’t have Washington experience because she is not of Washington…THAT’S WHAT VOTERS LIKE ABOUT HER! Embrace that quality, highlight it, celebrate it. Turn her loose on the press, let her give interviews to anyone who asks and let her be herself without having to regurgitate the talking points that McCain feeds her. Trying to script her contradicts everything that makes her a great candidate. Let her make mistakes. It won’t hurt as much as they think. Stop the damage control and let her do what she does best, appeal to middle class voters and infuriate the extreme Left. Yes, she’ll have the occasional gaffe but that just adds to her profile as a Washington outsider and elevates her above her counterpart – the supposed foreign policy “expert” who is equally prone to embarrassing gaffes. It adds to her profile as someone who is not scripted and can deliver straight talk while making the same every day mistakes that we all make. Voters want to see a candidate who understands them and isn’t afraid to have flaws. Sarah Palin isn’t perfect and it does an injustice to portray her otherwise. Don’t sell her off as someone that she’s not. It ruins her appeal to common voters.
I hope the McCain camp will hear this advice, and I am certainly not alone in offering it. Many others have noticed how Palin’s spirit has been subdued a bit. It conjures the image of a wild mustang standing in a corral, head hanging low, broken. That’s just not right. Let her out, let her run wild. McCain took a gamble on Palin, now he needs to let that gamble play out. If he tries to subdue her, it’s no longer a gamble but instead is a bad decision. He picked her for her maverick credentials, not her foreign policy expertise. If he tries to pawn her off as a Washington expert he will fail.
Tomorrow night, I want to see the real Sarah Palin, not the rehearsed talking point playback machine. I want to see her tear into Biden like she did at the convention. McCain needs to be more like McCain and Palin needs to be Palin. If she does, she could once again turn this thing around. If not, Obama could win in a landslide. Palin behaving like Palin will beat Joe Biden hands down, but as a cookie-cutter, rehearsed running mate she will be decimated. It’s just that simple.
This interview with Hugh Hewitt is encouraging. For the first time since the convention I see Palin with some latitude. Hopefully that will carry into the debate.
The polls have shifted, but the shift isn’t toward Obama. The shift is away from McCain. People are moving from the McCain column to undecided and this is widening Obama’s lead. I think the Reagan democrats are moving away because Palin hasn’t been around to continue her mission. McCain is playing it too safe, and that’s not the John McCain that America knows. It will not result in a win for him. His choice of running mate was brilliant. His convention speech was inspirational. But since then he has lost his way, starting with his attempts to reign in Sarah Palin. There will be no excuse if voters reject him in November.