The Republicans may wish she’d go away (she won’t) or just stick to entertainment TV (she won’t) and DWTS viewers may be sick of her baby grizzly (Bristol’s probably gonna win, thanks to the wingersphere) But Sarah Palin is gonna defy them all, and run for president. Don’t believe me? Just catch “Sarah Palin’s Alaksa.”
As The Daily Beast’s Shushannah Walshe reports, yes Virginia, it is a series-long campaign ad:
Produced by the godfather of reality TV, Mark Burnett, and costing several million dollars, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ is nominally an educational portrait of the largest U.S. state. But the real star, of course, is the former governor herself—bathed in that soft Alaskan light as she fishes salmon, goes ice trekking, and bakes cupcakes for her kids.
While doing so, she gets to allude to her political platform in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. She jokes about ‘mama grizzlies’ during a fishing trip and a chat about the 14-foot fence she has built to keep out a nosy neighbor becomes a riff on immigration control. And she never has to face a question that she doesn’t like.
“It’s definitely one big cable buy,” said Terry Sullivan, a GOP strategist. “When Governor Romney was talking about running for president, he had sent out a DVD where he was sledding in Utah with the family, talking about whether he would run or not, and everybody was baking cookies and hanging out. The difference is she has a production company willing to foot the bill for it.”
I wonder if she’d offer Mark Burnett the job of chief of staff (or if Todd would just big-foot him anyway…)
So what’s so important about Palin’s Alaska?
Palin supporters hope that seeing the former governor relaxed in her natural habitat may broaden her electoral appeal, helping her build a stronger base in advance of a possible presidential run in 2012. Burnett, too, hopes for a wide audience, although—presumably – for reasons of ratings. …
… What has made some Palin supporters even more excited than the prospect that her reality show might expose her to a untapped demographic is her portrayal, harking back to an earlier, softer, pre-Tea Party Palin. There she is, not tweeting or posting anti-Obama blasts on Facebook, but dog mushing and caribou hunting, all the time gushingly folksy. (“Holy jeeze!” she says. And “Oh my Gosh!” There is even a “Don’t retreat, just reload.”)
“The TV show is going to allow her to reestablish herself with the general public because—right now—non-Republicans will remember her for the mistakes that were made in the 2008 campaign, and the year following that election,” said a former aide, who worked for the John McCain – Sarah Palin ticket in the last presidential election. “A lot of people only saw the Katie Couric or Tina Fey sides of Palin. They didn’t see what other people saw in her: the authentic mother of five who lives in Alaska, who came from nothing, lived out the American dream, who was a hunter, had a husband who was a snow machine racer—that authenticity is what people will love about her.”
In other words, we are witnessing the Mark Burnett enabled rebranding of Sarah Palin, not just so she can make a bunch more money, but so she can run for president, and not get numbers like this. One more clip:
< blockquote>“She is running for president and this is a season-long bio ad, free of charge,” said the former aide about the reality series. “It’s one of the most unconventional, but brilliant things. And it shows how politically smart and savvy she actually is.”
Karl Rove might disagree. Recently, the GOP force questioned whether Palin has the required “gravitas” to run for president. “With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office,’” he told the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.
Palin was quick to shoot back, in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News. “Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in Bedtimes for Bonzo, bozo or something?” she asked. “Now look-it. I’m not in a reality show. I have eight episodes documenting Alaska’s resources, what it is that we can contribute to the rest of U.S. to economically and physically secure our union, and my family comes along for the ride because I am family, family is us, and my family comes along on the ride to document these eight episodes for The Learning Channel.”
Take that, Peggy Noonan…
So let this be a lesson to you, John McCain. When you tell someone they are qualified to be vice president — no matter how clearly unqualified they are, and no matter how ghastly the prospect for the country of their actually ever being vice president, or god for bid, president, would be, they tend to believe you. Sarah Palin completely believes the hype. She thinks she can … no, she thinks she should and ney, must, be president of the United States.
Thanks for that, McCain.