The Corner

The one and only.

Thoughts on Sarah


As the sole National Review employee who has (been stupid enough to) actually run and win elections, and run a political party – these being my weak pretexts to pontificating – I’d like to expound a second. The essential ingredient for a successful politician is likeability. “I like her” is translated “I am comfortable with her.” It is not an absolute rule that you must be likable (there are many popular curmudgeons who are lawmakers), and the reasons one is liked vary, but likeability is what Sarah Palin has by the truckload. It translates on TV – there are many likeable folks who lose that trait on the screen – and she has face-to-face. Whether sitting at home watching her on television or shaking her hand at a campaign event, people will be very comfortable with her, and with that comfort comes the willingness to listen to ideas, place trust, etc.

 Now, the NR gang was in Juneau last year, on one of our infamous cruises, and we had the good fortune to meet with Governor Palin and her staff. There was nothing phony about her, nothing officious, nothing stiff – she was smart, warm, welcoming, funny, conversational, neighborly, radiating energy and enthusiasm. Stylish and cool too. You instantly wanted to be her friend. No one wanted to leave the reception. Alas, the boat was pulling out … 

Sarah Palin has so much going for her on a personal level, and that can only be of enormous help to her as she begins what will be an excruciating trial. The fact that she has had stratospheric approval ratings – OK, “in Alaska,” but so what, a large group of people remain very high on her – counts for something that pundits and commentators should acknowledge and/or respect. She is and will be formidable. There is a growing list of used-to-bes who doubted that.