Monday, November 16, 2009

If I were Sarah Palin . . .

. . . I'd look good in Manolo pumps, but let's not go there. (These hypotheticals always get me in trouble.)

Seriously, however, if I were Sarah Palin, I'd seek out the advice of Dick Armey. When I was up in New York to cover the Doug Hoffman campaign, I asked Armey -- off-the-record, by my own choice -- what he thought about Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's GOP primary challenge to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Most conservatives have backed Perry, but Armey is supporting Hutchison. Why? Given that it was off-the-record, I'd be breaking the "never burn a source" rule to go into detail, but surely Armey won't mind my sharing this basic summary: Armey admires Hutchison's professionalism as a public servant.

To an outsider, the Hutchison-vs.-Perry matchup appears to be about ideology, and conservatives support Perry because he is perceived as the more "hard core" of the two candidates. To Armey, however, Hutchison is preferred because of her competence and dedication to the arts of statesmanship.

Remember that this is the same Dick Armey whose FreedomWorks organization has backed the Tea Party movement, the same Dick Armey who gave a key endorsement of Doug Hoffman. So it cannot be said that Armey is a snob who disdains populism and "outsider" candidates. Yet in the Texas governor's race, Armey admires certain qualities in Hutchison, qualities in which (we may infer) he finds Perry deficient.

Now, let's look at what Armey recently said about you, Gov. Palin. He praised you as a "self-made woman" but then went on to offer this advice:
"So she's kind having to dig herself out of a hole if she wants to regain standing for consideration for a future nomination. And by all accounts, it doesn't appear she's doing a very effective job of digging herself out of that hole. . . .
"I think she's probably a person of greater ability than what she's given credit to. She probably has more sense than what she's given credit for. But I do think there's this whole perception-is-reality thing right now, and she's got a terribly, terribly rough row to hoe if she's ever going to regain some standing and make her competitive."
And then he said something extremely interesting:
Armey also disputed the notion that Palin stands ready to tap into the energy of the vast crowds that have come out at the kinds of "tea party" protests FreedomWorks and others have helped pull together."You don't tap into that energy unless you join it. You've got to be there, you've got to show up. And you can't remain removed and aloof and send in a memorandum or post something on your blog, and have these folks belief that you're really part of the movement," Armey said.
"You have to really go out and walk and work among them. And I've seen very few people who are willing to do that. The fact is, these folks are saying, 'You know, the problem with all you big-shot politicians is you sit on your pedestals and make your pronouncements. Why don't you join us? Get on the street. And go to work for something. Roll up your sleeves and be involved with us.' "
"And they don't have a lot of time for someone who stands removed and says, 'Right on.' They're not looking for a cheerleader; they're looking for a captain of the team," Armey said.
So, if I were Governor Palin, besides looking good in those Manolo pumps, I'd make a point of seeking out Armey's advice and following it. As a matter of fact, if I were Palin, I'd try to enlist Armey as my political sensei. (With one caveat: Armey's kind of a squish on immigration; don't let him talk you into the Cato/WSJ libertarian open-borders nonsense; "agree to disagree agreeably" on that.)

Note especially, governor, what Armey says about "rolling up your sleeves" and getting involved in the Tea Party movement. When your book tour is finished, you ought to do that. You'll make enough money on paid speaking gigs that you can afford to do a dozen or more gratis appearances at Tea Parties in 2010.

Think back to your days playing basketball, 'Cuda: Pick your shots, and make every shot count.

Don't just book the big-city major events on the Tea Party circuit. Every once in while, you should make a late RSVP to a small-town rally -- let's say, in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, nudge, nudge -- so that three to five days before the event, the local newspaper headline reads: "PALIN TO SPEAK HERE SATURDAY." And then call in to the local talk-radio show and do a 15-minute interview with the friendly conservative host. (There is a tremendous synergy between Tea Parties and local talk radio.)

Also, governor, you should always pay attention to whatever Dan Riehl says. Dan's a straight-shooter and, whether you agree with his opinion or not, you can be sure he's not b.s.-ing you. Note his comment about your Reaganesque use of Facebook:
Reagan didn't fight with the media. The usual descriptor for what he did is, he went over the media's head directly to the American people. Is Sarah Palin really doing anything different, except for having Facebook, blogs and a great many other New Media resources today to which Reagan didn't have access? Just imagine how even more effective his communication strategy would have been if he had?
Because of media advances made in the last several years, Sarah Palin doesn't have to go over the media's head. She can go right through them.
Exactly. If you were to link and quote Dan's blog in some future Facebook posting, I'm sure he'd be grateful. That's what we call "Rule 2." You've already got Rule 5 down cold.


  1. Isn't Palin scheduled to speak at the Tea Party's first convention?

  2. That is some pretty good advice from Dick Armey. Interesting comments on Perry and Hutchinson. I like Perry, and without necessarily agreeing, I get where he is going on Hutchinson. I like his analysis on politicians and races--who is the best long term fit for the position. Ever race and politician is unique.

    And wasn't it Tip O'Neil who said all politics are grass roots? Sarah needs to spend some time on the lawn. While national media exposure can help, Oprah and the rest of them will not in the long run do it.

  3. Methinks Mr. McCain might consider taking his own oft repeated advice (suitably modified).

    "Just because you don't know what Sarah is doing doesn't mean that Sarah doesn't know what she's doing."


  4. As a conservative Texan who has voted for Perry twice, I can say this - there aren't many people in Texas who genuinely like Perry. In truth, he's a lightweight, but that doesn't really matter, since the Governor of Texas is nothing more than a figurehead, anyway. He has made some enemies along the way due to his ignorance and blunderhead approach to some things, but he'll still get my vote over Hutchison, because Kay is a squish, at best, and Perry, dunderhead that he really is, at leasts mouths the right things and sounds like a rock solid conservative. And, he has done a few things well, like pushing for minimal taxes and regulation, to try to keep the Texas economy as competitive as possible. I can't trust Hutchison to do the same.

    In the end, she's a RINO, and I'm done voting for them.

  5. I know to disagree is not the best way to get my teacher's attention, but you would look throw up awful in any kind of heels. I'm going to do it a second time, If I was Sarah Palin I would contact Sal Russo he's the brain's behind some of the most successful movements.Google Right Time-Right Place

  6. Writing as a Texan, the issue of Palin/Armey/Perry/Hutchinson is complicated. Rick Perry frustrated conservatives with his endorsement of Giuliani and his executive order for mandatory Gardasil vaccinations. However, looking back, was Giuliani really different from McCain? Maybe on abortion, but everything else?

    Perry, however, did one thing right that Hutchinson has not done: he endorsed the Tea Party Movement (including talking about Texas seceding, which us’ns down here in Texas always enjoy cause it makes the Yankees mad). Hutchinson has not even said the words “Tea Party”, as far as I can tell. Her ACU ratings are 89 and change, a smidge lower than Lindsey Graham(?), who has an ACU rating of 89 and a bit more change.

    Personally, my impression is that she is less liberal than Graham, but there is nothing to set her apart from the herd. Perry, on the other hand, has gone out of his way to lead the herd, whether we wanted to go his way or not.

    Can Dick Armey name one major initiative associated principally with Hutchinson? I can’t. So Hutchinson is more professional. I’m not sure what that means to Armey, but in the Senate, that seems means that conservatives don’t make waves. Statesmanship in the Senate is usually compromising with the enemy. She is a reliable vote but leadership? Maybe not so much. Right now, in Texas, some of us are looking for someone to kick up a little dust vis a vis Obama. That’s not Kay, at least, not yet.

    Here is the kicker for me: if the GOP race came to do Palin vs Romney or Pawlenty, who would Hutchinson endorse? I’m guessing not Palin.

    Does Palin want to be POTUS? It seems that she has been moving with cautious speed in whatever direction she is moving. The caution may be that she doesn’t want to give the hostile media an “I told you so” opportunity. On the other hand, in less than a year after a losing campaign, she generates more buzz and headlines than any other VP candidate, and more than McCain, who has virtually disappeared (this was the man who was going to name names if elected. If not elected? Apparently no names. Just saying). Her book appears to be doing well, and her endorsement of Hoffman got more attention than any and all of the other endorsements.

  7. Speaking of Rule #5

    Credit goes to

  8. Armey and Hutchison's husband Ray have some cozy lobbying stuff going on, nothing more, nothing less.

  9. Let Palin be Palin, she doesn't need advice from Dick Armey or bloggers. I haven't heard any uproar from tea partiers that Palin should stay away; on the contrary, they seem to like her. Armey can shove his "cheerleaders" where the sun don't shine.

  10. I know Armey wants to have some validity, but Hutchison? Please. I'm from Texas. The Senator's strength is where she is...the Senate. She is powerful on National Defense and she works well in a "group", but she is not a leader's leader, and she supports too much spending. Does it not seem a little opportunistic of her to want to leave a Senate that desperately needs her tenure to come home to Texas with soft social stances to tell us how conservative she is. The governorship is to her a way to show executive experience in seven or eleven years. It is not what's best for Texas or the country.

  11. Sarah appeared at TEA parties in Alaska while still our governor. However, she always was very early or late, mostly because of all the ankle-biters willing to tarnish any (and every)thing she did.

    All the scheduled appearances are 'have-to-do' requirements from the publishers. Her schedule makes me want to hide under the bed!

  12. Armey is a bit more than a squish: his imm. policies lead to the opposite of the other policies he claims to support. His imm. policies would lead to increased spending and increased power for the Dems, and both he and the tea party types pretend to be opposed to both. Maybe he's an idiot savant, but he's not a trustworthy idiot savant.

  13. wait a minute.... when I read the Dick Armey comments I got the impression that he thinks he runs the Tea Party movement and he is top dog and Sarah Palin better not assume they will look to her... I think a little bit of his ego shows itself in his comments.... look, Armey has done a heck of a lot, but he is not the end all, be all for the Tea Party movement and he can't tell conservatives who is more qualified... that will work itself out over the next few years...
    I don't think Sarah Palin needs a sensei... she seems to have a pretty good center of herself all on her own...
    even conservatives try to put her in a box... let her find her own way..

  14. I'm sick and tired of professionals. I want more Doug Hoffmans. We’ve had our fill of ‘professionals’. KBH is a squish [aka RINO]; she has done some good work in the Senate on Defense issues, but she is not Executive Branch material [Senators always make bad Governors and Presidents].

    Dick Armey is no conservative saint. He may have some sage advice to offer, but, as a member of the Congress, he was good but not great. Let us not forget that he was a member of Newt's Team that went pretty quickly off the conservative rails once in power. Now, ultimately, as we are all human, I am prepared to forgive such behavior if the person repents, sees the error of his ways, and adjusts his wisdom accordingly. But Mr. Armey seems to have only opened one eye.

    Great advice, though, about Mrs. Palin attending the rallies. Perhaps, one tactic might be just showing up unannounced and wading into the crowds?

    It's Time To ROC 'N' ROLL:
    Restore Our Constitution & Restore Our Lost Liberties

  15. Palin never puts in the work. It's her MO.
    All flash, no substance...she can fling the buzzwords and catchphrases though...just, they are hollow.

  16. If I were Sarah Palin...I'd have Andrew Sullivan and Levi Johnston's heads mounted and hung on the library wall. (And to answer the obvious question, both.)

  17. Armey, like Cheney, is backing Kay Beltway Hutchinson?   No doubt Kay fits right in with the D.C. crowd, but in Texas these days not so much.   At least that's what I'm hoping come the 2010 Texas governor's race?   I'm suspecting Beltway Kay is figuring a stint in the Texas governor's chair would look real good on her resume with possible aspirations for a run at the presidency in the future?   Either way, NO THANKS Kay!

  18. Seriously, I think she ought to be open to and seek out advice from Dick Armey as well as others. I think it's probably better if the relationship is more free-agent working pol brainstorming with other free-agent working pols than student being mentored by sensei, just to avoid the perception that the skills and the sense are all the sensei's and not hers.

  19. As a Texan, As much as I, and others have a love/hate Perry affair, I'll choose Perry any day over Kay and her Hillary but kissing ways.
    Kay is nothing but a Decepticon RINO. Very few from the Kremlin on the Potomac, have our true interest at heart. Professional politicans who are only after their fame and fortune need to go. In Texas, I will vite my conscience this go and vote for Debra Medina. Letting the chips fall where they may, Dems and Reps will no longer get the "lesser of the two evils" vote from me.

  20. Great advice, but let's not fault her for eating her pie with a fork and not just slamming her face in.

    I still haven't gotten over that HotAir post the weekend she resigned when Ed said: Is it over? Yes. Forever. I have a crystal ball.

  21. You know, you could have run that photo with Hillary or Michelle O... but then you wouldn't see the bus...

  22. Actually, K~Bob said...

    I Totally disagree, Stacy. Armey has his thing, and for Palin to get involved with it would be like giving up on her own thing.

    She should be invited to speak at the Tea Party gatherings, IF they want her, and if they ask VERY POLITELY, and VERY RESPECTFULLY. But for her to ask or "become involved" would put her permanently in the back seat. Horrible strategy. Reminds me of those who suggested she run for Senate

    Also, Armey's take is bullshzt. He's made the classic mistake of thinking she doesn't know what she's doing because he doesn't understand what she's doing.