Part I: What Sarah Palin Knows That We Don't
The Lorenzo Benet book on Sarah Palin (Trail Blazer) is most compelling when it discusses the period when she and her family first lived in Alaska in the 1960s and early 1970s. Then, Alaska was very much America's "wild frontier." Sarah grew up in a world that relatively few Americans -- and almost no one in the liberal media -- understand. It was a time and a place that demanded real survival skills and self-reliance.
Granted, Sarah's early years in remote Skagway (100 miles north of Juneau) when she was 4-5 years old were extreme by modern standards, but Alaska still maintains a lifestyle that was pretty standard for much the world into the 20th century. If people survived, they had to do it pretty much on their own. There was no "going down the mall," because there was no mall. If you wanted meat, you had to go out and shoot something. If you wanted fish, you went out and caught it.
The suburban liberals -- and the left-leaning MSM that criticize Sarah believe she's "not like them." In a way, they're right. She's tougher and much more attuned to life on a fundamental level, one where family and community are very close to one another -- and dependent on neighbors not just for company but for survival.
A lot of modern people -- I'd include myself -- don't have great survival skills. If the electricity went off and the grocery closed down, we'd largely be helpless. We wouldn't have learned the basic skills that were almost second-nature to our ancestors -- and skills Sarah did develop as a child. Instead, we live on top of support system whose existence is one of which we're hardly aware. We're a lot less self-reliant than Sarah, her family, and many of the people in Alaska.
Part II: Sarah and The Media
One of the various disasters in the McCain Campaign was the effort to keep Sarah on a tight leash. I agree that we absolutely must "let Sarah be Sarah." Beyond that, she should never let the MSM use her as a punching bag. She need to fight back with ferocity (and so do her supporters).
Another disaster of the McCain Campaign: the pathetic belief that if Sarah had media interviews, it had to be with hostile people like Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric (called "the little rodent" by Don Imus). Yikes, why not throw in David Letterman and Bill Maher? Frankly, every time we put out a hand of friendship to those in the MSM (as my friend Roger Morrow observed) they try to chew it off.
Thus, Sarah should have interviews with Sean Hannity, Greta van Susteren (as she's doing several times), Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Wallace (maybe), and, I'd add, Deborah Norville of "Inside Edition." I'd add several more cable people who would be appropriate: Kyra Phillips, Betty Nguyen, and Heidi Collins of CNN. Norah O'Donnell of NBC would also be okay. Rush Limbaugh? If you're in GOP politics, I suggest being good buddies with Rush.
I'd also recommend some national talk radio people (Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingram, Michael Medved, and a few others), as well as LOCAL political reporters who don't have an axe to grind. Top print journalists reporters like Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes (both ofThe Weekly Standard), Katie O'Malley (Human Events), Debra Saunders (San Francisco Chronicle) and Jack Kelly (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) would also be good.
There are also international journalists who like Sarah a lot, including my friend Mariko Fukuyama of Japan's Asahi TV, as well as some of the BBC "morning drive" people in London.
These aren't lighweights. In fact, they're the heavyweights. Sarah should be talking to such people rather than pretentious leftists like Couric.
Yeah, my strategy is to freeze out the MSM windbags completely. Any reporter who is going to play gotcha games should be ignored. This approach would allow us to begin re-shaping the way society defines the media. This strategy would have horrified the McCain Campaign, which was headed by incompetents and narcissists.
*The night of Sarah's speech at the Convention, Kyra Phillips was in Anchorage for CNN doing a friendly, informative interview with Sarah's older sister (Heather) and brother-in-law. Kyra "gets it," while most of her counterparts in the MSM don't get it -- and perhaps can't get it. Sarah makes them feel inferior, and since they are inferior to this women, their instinct is to attempt to destroy her.