Pay attention to the title. Don’t make something out of this that it isn’t. This is about the ability to “project leadership”, not Sarah Palin.
Sarah just seems to have a quality Michelle is missing.
And I don’t mean to slam Michelle Bachmann here, no more than people mean to slam Herman Cain when they say he has no “public policy” experience. Myself, I think Mr Cain’s leadership skills honed outside of the public sector are an asset, but so far the public doesn’t seem to buy my point of view.
And that’s the point. The candidate must meet the public’s expectations in certain key criteria other than enumerating a list of conservative truths.
Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
Like it or not “presentation” is very much a part of a candidate’s ability to connect with the electorate. That’s all I’m talking about here, presenting an aura of leadership, not just managerial competence, and not just text-book conservatism.
Sarah Palin is not a candidate and that’s why I used her here as a foil. She not only talks the right talk, she says it with a confidence that she actually knows how to get from here to there. These days, against a foe of unfathomable depths of cravenness, people have to require this element in a candidate.
There is an authority in Sarah’s tone, and while many conservatives, especially women, despise her, the Left senses this quality the same as if Dr Van Helsing had just walked into the room holding up a cross.
This also can be said for Gov Rick Perry, who isn’t a candidate yet, but likely will be in short order (according to our own Haystack). If he announces, the Left will suddenly turn its gaze away from Sarah, pull its cape over its eyes and shrink away in fright to some dark corner where it can conspire his demise as well. But I doubt they’ll have time.
Bottom line: Perry has that same attitude of leadership. So does Herman Cain.
But not Michelle Bachmann…in my view.
Michelle is as right as rain in the words she speaks, and she means every word. This I believe. No phoniness there. She has no track record of hollowness in her words, or of having looked the devil in the eye, and blinked, as Newt has.
But there is that certain something missing. I try to picture her debating Barack Obama, and I just can’t see her kicking him off the stage.
Neither can I see Tim Pawlenty beating Obama head-to-head on stage. He comes off as a plaintiff schoolboy arguing that his term paper was better than the B- the teacher gave him. His coaches have done him no favors, for you know, as governor, he didn’t spend every waking minute trying to convince Minnesotans he knew how to be in charge. He was a successful governor. But with his current insecure demeanor, people are right to ask; was he a leader, or only a manager? Having already wilted before the GOP’s No 1 “manager candidate” on the Romneycare issue, I fear he’d convey the same sort of inner angst against a man, Obama, who could out-preen Mitt Romney into any corner of the room.
We’re looking for a leader here.
The difficulty in defining “leadership” is it carries so many intangibles. It implies a person can inspire people to follow. And knows what he’s going to do when he gets there. Sarah, Rick and Herman have that. I just can’t see anyone itching to get up out of their chairs to follow Mitt Romney, and this is why I’m writing this now, just short of the Iowa debates.
My purpose isn’t to measure any the GOP field except as leaders and non-leaders, and to suggest that I’d hate for a manager to win the GOP vote simply because they’d split the “leader” vote. Conservatives need to start falling in behind leaders now, letting them sort it out.
Mitt Romney has probably the best resume for experience, in both the public and private sector, than any other GOP candidate. But he inspires no one. At best he’s only proven to be a good manager. At worse a poseur.
Sarah Palin is a leader, but comes with heavy negatives, albeit not of her own making. Rick Perry also is a leader, as is Herman Cain, proven leaders and instigators of courage in people. They all inspire. They all make people want to get up and move against the enemy.
And after the dust settles, they all will support each other. There will be no split votes. Most importantly, conservatism’s voter base will have grown the next 12 months, not diminished. None of these will run off voters.
In the coming Iowa debates and straw poll these are the only two (three) potential candidates with certifiable leadership qualities, with that certain something, that certain look, that attitude, and that tone, that will keep Barack Obama and his entire spin machine back on his heels next year…
…assuming he’ll still be candidate.
We should keep this in mind over the next five months.