Playing a new game

My brother Mike had the best summary about the constant harping on Sarah Palin over the past 60 days: “Everyone seems to be mad because she doesn’t play the game.” She certainly is the biggest outsider of the race.

Pundits are quick to point out that despite appearing on Saturday Night Live, she hasn’t appeared on any Sunday morning talk shows. True – but she also probably understands Saturday Night Live is probably more relevant in shaping public perceptions outside of the beltway than the Sunday morning talk shows. Fourteen million viewers tuned into NBC for Saturday Night Live last weekend. That’s 10 million more than how many tuned into NBC’s Meet the Press the previous week – and that was the top-rated show.

(And who ever imagined we’d see a national candidate raising the roof at the Weekend Update desk and not looking like a complete doofus? At the very least she raised her favorability numbers.)

Palin even criticized her own campaign (politely) for using automated phone calls, candidly saying they are annoying. Sure, that’s common sense – but it’s quite a step to admit that political campaigns are tedious for the average American. This understanding creates opportunity for connection that, really, no other person on a national ticket has made.

As I mentioned previously, the question now is whether Palin can build on this to create a stronger connection with the American people – and to become a national spokesperson for the people who respond better to her style of politics. Based on the way she rolled with the punches on Saturday, her chances seem decent.

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