OFF THE GRID

Sarah Palin Is Winning

Sep 29, 09 | 9:04 AM   byMichael Wolff
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I have said this before: There are only two political stars in the country. One is president, the other is Sarah Palin. They are both sui generis and cultish. They both have less to do with ideology and more to do with who they are. In both cases their careers did not lead them to run for president; rather, their careers took off because they seemed suddenly marketable enough to be president.

And yet Sarah Palin has been dismissed by almost every reputable political news source. Even Fox News seems skeptical when it comes to Palin. The exception is Politico, which, nearly on a daily basis, charts the creation of the Palin marketing effort and the shaping of the Palin brand.

In a piece today, Politico finds Palin, in a survey of regional Republicans, to be the singular personality within the party. According to Politico: “Most Republican Party leaders would jump at the chance to have her headline one of their events.”

This follows yesterday’s news that Sarah Palin has delivered her book—biography/memoir/political-tract—early, and that it will be published for the prime Christmas season in a printing of 1.5 million copies, as many as Teddy Kennedy’s posthumous memoir.

While the usual political news sources have seen everything going wrong for Palin—scandal, personal oddness, intra-party hostilities, myriad family problems—everything, in fact, has been going right for her. The Palin plan is working.

She’s built a capable staff that’s shielding her and providing her with some basic political professionalism—she made her foreign-policy debut in Hong Kong last week without incident. She’s touring the country on behalf of local Republicans, building up a bank of politico IOUs. She’s got a fund-raising effort going that’s aping the Obama Internet campaign (she may be the savviest buyer of search terms in politics). And, with her blowout book, she’s going to secure personal wealth as well as mightily advance her brand.

Also, contrary to the early reports of her demise, she seems to be having the time of her life.

Modern politics is all about phenomena with organizational skills. Lightning struck Sarah Palin in a way that almost every political professional found hard to believe (and stomach). What seems even harder to swallow is that she has the discipline and the desire—and enough of a mind for details—to have already put in place a capable plan to develop, exploit, and build the most distinctive political profile in the Republican Party.

Sarah Palin is just getting started.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NewserColumns.
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OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.

 

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