Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Sunday, August 31, 2008
Palin's media cheerleaders
Be prepred, Democrats: much of the mainstream media appears to be going directly into the tank for Sarah Palin, judging by the opening remarks from "neutral" reporters including David Gregory (who today called the pick "cool" ... Andrea Mitchell and Maria Bartoromo, who spent her morning on "Meet the Press" hawking Palin as if she were a hot stock. Here's David Gregory on MTP:
MR. GREGORY: She went into labor and got on an airplane to go back to Alaska. That's pretty cool. I think there's a lot of people, men and women, who are going to look at this story and say, "This is a compelling person. I want to take a new look at this ticket."
Ironically, it fell to GOP strategist Mike Murphy to throw cold water on the MTP love fest for Palin:
MR. BROKAW: Mike, as you heard, I asked Governor Pawlenty about creationism vs. evolution. He said they ought to be taught side by side in schools, local school districts should decide. How does that cut with the independents?

MR. MURPHY: It's trouble. Again, if we get into a social issues debate with those particular swing voters, we're in big trouble. I believe that McCain cannot win in this environment without ticket splitters, people who vote for him for president but vote Democrat down the ticket. He may need as many as one out of five of his ultimate voters to be a ticket splitter. So the question is in a bad base year for Republicans, if we get caught on pure base issues--I agree, the evangelical vote loves her, but I, to the point I said earlier, I'd rather have lukewarm evangelicals and a whole lot of voters...

MR. BROKAW: Right.

MR. MURPHY: ...than delighted Goldwater-sized crowds and a completely delighted 45 percent of the vote. So if Sarah Palin the reformer, corruption fighter becomes who she is, she can help. If she gets trapped in the other stuff, I think she's an anchor. And we don't know yet how it's going to play.

But on the next question, Gregory went back to making the Palin sale, with a little help in the Amen chorus from Andrea Mitchell:
MR. BROKAW: "Even before McCain picked [Palin], people outside Alaska were beginning to notice the young governor with the bright smile" - the "runnerup in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest--whose good looks spawned a bumper sticker that read: `Coldest State. Hottest Governor.'"

Is that going to work in the West?

MR. GREGORY: Well, I think a lot of it does. And as you know better than anybody, you talk to people like Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who--and he will attribute his success as a Democrat in Colorado not to social issues, but to issues like the economy that began to turn more Republican-leaning independents and even some Republicans in the state his way. I think the economy is a huge part of this. A lot of the working-class voters in states like West Virginia or Ohio, where she was debuted, or Pennsylvania were Democrats primarily for economic issues if not social issues. Obama still has an advantage there, even if he hasn't grabbed the issue completely. I think Sarah Palin helps John McCain get it.

MS. MITCHELL: Yes, I agree with that.

MR. GREGORY: That's the attack line from Obama that he's out of touch. She's got some working class roots, the hockey mom thing.

MS. MITCHELL: Yeah.

MR. GREGORY: A union husband, a husband who's in the union. So I think she may help deliver that to independent voters in the West and elsewhere for whom this is going to be a big issue, the economy.

MS. MITCHELL: I...

Likewise, George Will went from calling Barack Obama "the most thinly qualified presidential candidate in memory," last week, to stating this week on Stephanopoulos' show that it's not experience that matters after all, but rather judgment (where have we heard that before?) and good instincts about how to keep the federal government out of people's lives Will didn't even bring up Ms. Palin's experience on his own, and as of this morning, has completely abandoned it as an issue. George answered Stephanolpoulos' question of whether Palin was a good pick with an enthusiastic "yes." He went on to say:
"It certainly solved his enthusiasm deficit with regard to Mr. Obama. ... I suspect that now, the Republican base is more united and enthusiastic behind McCain then I suspect the Democratic base is behind Mr. Obama..."
And on the question of qualifications, Will adds:
"There is more to the qualification to high executive branch office than experience. There is understanding the constitutional principle of limited government and the culture of corruption that inevitably develops in a capitol that abandones limited government; that regulates everything and subsidizes everybody. She understands that."
Will later disclosed that his wife is an unpaid staffer helping to formulate Cindy McCain's convention speech.

Poor Sam Donaldson literally laughed out loud later in the roundtable, when Cokie Roberts actually claimed that Palin wasn't picked for women, or for the purposes of poaching female Hillary Clinton supporters, but rather to attract blue collar voters. Stunning.

If this first Palin Sunday was any indication, and judging by the equally enthusiastic reception Palin has received on CNN and MSNBC, where Chrystia Freeland (who was pushing Hillary as Obama's vice presidential pick before Biden was selected,) literally gushed about Palin on Friday, it's clear to me that much of the mainstream media, stung by the accusations of gender bias by the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries, is going to tread lightly when it comes to Palin, and many reporters, who at their core, are still fans of John McCain, will actually enthusiastically boost the ticket. That sounds like an incredible contrast to complaints by the right that the media is trying to help Obama, but I think it's reality. Democrats should pre-pare for a Palin love-fest, for at least a couple of weeks, as she receives her honeymoon.

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posted by JReid @ 1:44 PM  
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