Sarah Palin has a strategic advantage in this race. She’s run something: a state with 15,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar budget and a small town. It seems to me that she should adopt a positive message hitting that that bottles together government reform, government competence, management, etc. Jonathan Martin notes that she already mentions government reform on the stump. I see several advantages to this.

First, this scratches an itch that the American people actually have. They saw Katrina. They saw Iraq. They see right now the mismanagement of the financial system regulatory framework. She can bring up examples from her own time as governor cutting budgets, etc.

Second, it attacks one of her perceived weaknesses by focusing on her strengths. Barack Obama and his campaign attack her for not having experience (never mind that he has less). By talking about what she has done here, it addresses that uncertainty. This does not weaken the reform message.

Third, it expands the positive contrast with the other ticket. With John McCain, we have leadership and reform. Palin has reform and adds management. This is in contrast to "change" (and what?). This is more meat on the bones of the McCain-Palin ticket. At the same time, this inverts the "experience" attack by talking about the category of government experience that none of the other national candidates have.

Fourth, I think that it continues to innoculate against the Obama attacks of McCain=Bush. I was struck by this from Joe Trippi:

The brilliance of the McCain strategy and messaging is that it includes a trap for Obama. To push back on the McCain claim of "country first" and "the original mavericks who will shake up Washington" the Obama campaign’s attack of "four more years of George Bush" becomes a problem. In a country that yearns for post-partisan change the Obama campaign risks sounding too partisan and like more of the same.

Emphasizing management and attacking Bush examples slides into that post-partisan and anti-Bush space that makes it harder and harder for these attacks to stick.

Imagine how this might work. A big event on government management rolling out some plans and bio material. Carli Fiorina, Mitt Romney, Rob Portman and others could validate it with examples of their own government management. An event every other week through the end of the campaign.

Categories: Syndicated