Press on Palin, bounce off Obama
John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign in Cedarburg, Wis., on Friday (AP)
The press has been Barack Obamas best friend. Before Wednesday, when Gov. Sarah Palin completely electrified the Republican ticket, the media followed Obama around like lost puppies loyal, devoted and unlikely to deliberately hurt him. Enter Sarah Palin stage Rright and all of a sudden there is a new kid in town who also embodies change, who can deliver an excellent speech and who is loved by the camera.
In politics, there are two things that keep a candidate relevant. One is momentum and the second, attention. I learned this the hard way as I watched my old boss (who also gave a fantastic speech on Wednesday) fade from the national scene and lose his momentum in not playing in early primaries. That said, the more time the press spends entranced with Sarah Palin, the less personal attention Barack Obama is going to get.
The less personal attention Barack Obama is going to get, the more Gov. Palin will continue to connect with people. People are drawn to Gov. Palin and will continue to be and as that happens, Barack Obama will lose the monopoly on the ability to inspire the 2008 electorate.
(continued) I also would not underestimate the power of a little panic. Barack Obama is a skilled campaigner and has yet to make any large tactical mistakes on the trail so I imagine Obama will be able to maintain his cool even under some pressure. His running mate, however, is known for talking too much saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people. Get Joe Biden a little fearful that his ticket isnt getting its normal (disproportionate) amount of air time and who knows what might happen ... he might say something about pursuing criminal charges against the Bush administration.
Each of these candidates has superstar potential because they are both different and new. He is the first African American to be nominated by a major political party, and she, the first woman to be a part of a Republican presidential ticket. Each is making history and the press has (though sometimes it doesnt seem so) limited potential in what can be covered at a given time. People lean toward what they know even if at times they dont like it (case in point, November 2004).
The press is helping the American people get to know these two candidates so the candidates need the attention. Today, America is coming to know and coming to like Gov. Palin and it is bound to help the McCain ticket.
It already has: While I wrote this, the polls tied. So much for the Obama bounce which gave him an eight-point lead last weekend. We are in for one heckuva ride this fall!