"Brand Palin"

Matthew Continetti writes:

When Palin emerged on the scene in August 2008, she spoke as an authentic voice of non-coastal, upper-middle-class cultural conservatism. It was believable when she said, in her speech to the 2008 RNC, that she wasn’t much different from your average hockey mom. Not anymore. In the years since, Palin’s become something different — a global celebrity who fuses politics and entertainment in new and startling and occasionally discomfiting ways. She’s also become incredibly rich. But, as her personal wealth has increased, the number of people who think she is qualified to be president has decreased. The Palin brand is more and more powerful, but for a smaller group of people.

A few thoughts:

1) Alaska is a coastal state if ever there was one. Where I grew up, Orange County, California, is also obviously coastal, conservative, and upper middle class — and indeed many folks there regard Ms. Palin as one of them. I’ve probably been guilty of using coastal as a rhetorical stand in myself at some point, but it really is sloppy, and obscures more than it clarifies.

2) I contest the assertion that “it was believable when she said, in her speech to the 2008 RNC, that she wasn’t much different from your average hockey mom.” She was governor of her state, and a millionaire!

3) Otherwise I think the above paragraph is correct.

Mr. Continetti goes on:

And those people matter. When Palin campaigned for John McCain recently, reporter Jeff Zeleny noted that “the roar of the crowd was for Ms. Palin. Her name appeared on T-shirts and buttons, with many of her supporters scooping up Palin 2012 merchandise as they waited for an autograph or a picture.” A similar roar greeted her speech at the Searchlight, Nevada, Tea Party rally the next day. There simply isn’t another figure in the Republican party who commands this sort of fervent and loyal support.

Critics will criticize. Democrats will attack. But Palin may have found her niche as the cult figure who mobilizes conservatives and conservative-leaning independents to the barricades. And as she’s said, she doesn’t need an office to progress this movement.

This raises a question: Ms. Palin motivates her supporters to man the barricades against what? She doesn’t need an office to progress which movement?

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