Rachel Maddow points out that Sarah Palin is redefining what it means to run for president with Vladimir Putin style photo ops.
Here is the video from MSNBC:
After detailing Vladimir Putin’s various photo op personas, Rachel Maddow said, “There isn’t an exact allegory for this shirtless man on a horse in American politics, but we have noticed since the last presidential election roughly that there is someone who is kind of taking Putin’s approach to their image. There is an American politician who is getting pretty good, who’s maybe even approaching Putin levels of RRRRH in the photo op department. Will Village Peopleesque trying too hard machismo work on the American public the way that it apparently really does for Putin in Russia? We do not know, but I think that’s what’s going on here in American politics.”
After showing some of the Sarah Palin outdoors woman photo op shots, Maddow continued, “Gov. Sarah Palin not taking questions from the press, but stomping all over Mitt Romney’s announcement week by leading reporters on a three day long photo op that was designed purely to produce Putinesque shots like this one.”
Rachel Maddow asked, “Does this sort of ostentatiously macho image making play as well here as it does with the public in Russia? I think that Americans thought when we saw Putin doing stuff like this that it would look like a parody if anybody tried to pull it off here. From our house, this Russia stuff seemed a little bit nuts, but it is happening here now, and the way people run for president in our country is about to change.”
Maddow gets it. The bus tour isn’t just about getting publicity for Sarah Palin. It is a dry run for 2012. The Putin comparison fits, as both he and Sarah Palin believe they are entitled to power and hold themselves above the rules and limits of democracy. Palin and Putin are both selling images of themselves as rugged, strong leaders.
In American politics the candidate who campaigns as the rugged, individualist, outdoors man leader goes back centuries in our history to Andrew Jackson. The image that Sarah Palin is selling is as old as the hills. The way she is selling it isn’t exactly new either. In the modern era, Ronald Reagan sold himself as rugged president through photo ops too. Palin’s style bears resemblance to Putin’s, but she is desperately trying to evoke Reagan.
This bus tour is about more than speaking fees and selling books. It is about Sarah Palin testing the conventions of the traditional presidential campaign. Palin wants to stay in her media bubble and run for president too. If the GOP field had even one strong potential contender Palin’s strategy could be put to the test, but having such a weak GOP field actually works in her favor.
Sarah Palin’s current standing in the national polls is based on name recognition, and an anybody but Romney sentiment among some GOP primary voters. We will know If Palin strategy is working if in the coming months, her numbers start to improve in the state polls. Leading in a national primary poll means zilch a year and a half out; if you don’t believe me just ask Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton.
Sarah Palin is testing a run for president her way, and maybe some in the media are starting to wake up to the idea that Palin might be catching on that this whole 2012 thing isn’t a joke to Sarah Palin.