July 16, 2009

Political ju-jitsu - Palin style?

Political ju-jitsu is an art form - taking the strength of your opponent and using it to your own advantage, and their own detriment or weakness. Conversely, the same can be said for understanding your own weakness and turning it into your own strength or to your own advantage. It's a beautiful concept, but it's something that neither Republicans nor Democrats generally are very adept at doing.

But there are exceptions. And we just might be seeing a brilliant ju-jitsu style play by Sarah Palin and the RNCC. Whether you think Sarah Palin is ready to be VP or not, her political instincts and personality can overcome a lot. Back prior to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, his supporters were regarded as 'yahoos', now he is revered on the right as a visionary President and admitted by many on the left to be a likable guy and a great communicator. He rode his vision and charm to victory and his leadership and character insured a repeat victory of electoral landslide proportions. What did he have that Sarah Palin doesn't?

Well there were some things - he was the most effective elected communicator the Republicans have ever produced. To compare anyone to Reagan's ability to connect is unfair. But it's not necessary - conservatives can win without Reaganesque aplomb - witness George W. Bush. Even the conservatives who liked him couldn't mount a credible argument that he wasn't rhetorically challenged. So he must have had something other than that working for him.

Reagan had an abysmal Jimmy Carter incumbency working for him pre-1980. While Obama's media worshippers may prevent his approval ratings from combing Carterian or Bushian depths, he will not be sitting at 58% approval in 2 or 3 years. Guaranteed. But again, advantage Reagan.

Perhaps Reagan's greatest advantage over Palin was the fact that while he was unfairly portrayed as an unknowing 'cowboy', he did have some intellectual bona fides he could charge back with; for example his televised debate with William F. Buckley over the Panama Canal issue lends credence that he can carry on intelligent conversations. While Sarah Palin doesn't have that to lean on because she simple is much closer to the early part of a political career than Reagan was in 1980 or even 1976, she does have some opportunities to challenge the conventional thinking over the next two plus years. And that's where the political ju-jitsu starts to become apparent in one of two ways. It turns out, contrary to the current conventional wisdom, that the resigning as Governor is a brilliant strategic maneuver for Palin.

Political Ju-Jitsu Item #1

As Governor, Palin was bound to get bogged down both agenda-wise and politically as well. The Democrats and the MSM had her exactly here they wanted her - on the defensive, back on her heels fending off personal attacks (e.g. David Letterman style), fending off personal lawsuits, and trying to explain herself in the face of countless unwarranted and baseless criticisms that were compounding her image as an intellectual lightweight.

If she'd stayed on, the cycle would continue until she had no credibility left in America or even Alaska. In other words, the Democrats smelled blood and they would not have let up until Palin was destroyed. Even if they had not destroyed her, they would have been able to prevent her from doing what she needed to do to improve her image - go on the offensive.

It wouldn't matter if between now and 2012 Sarah Palin learned, understood and memorized every political, economic and foreign relations theory, concept and essay ever put to paper from The Art of War to The Road To Serfdom and beyond. Image is everything. As Marshall McLuhan said, 'the medium is the message', and the medium right now is a pervasive liberal press. It's so bad that many conservatives got into the act of Palin-bashing too. How do you overcome that with out a paradigm shift? You don't.

So what did Governor Palin do? She took that political advantage away from liberals by doing the one thing they had over her - her elected office. Bam - No more frivolous lawsuits. Bam - no more daily news cycle opportunities. She's free to concentrate on fundraising and getting together a game plan and a team for 2012 or whatever her aim is, without the constant filter light of a Yellow Dog Democrat media. Yes, she's still be visible, but the press will be forced to primarily move on to the likes of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee (oh look, it's started). Why? Because on the surface it would appear she's made herself yesterday's news.

Was she honest about her reasons for quitting? Likely - the hounding became a detriment to her family and and her state. And she did mention that she would move on to bigger and better things for the conservative movement. Did she tip her hand at all by hinting moving on? I don't think so - I think she counted on the press doing exactly what they did and it works perfectly if this is as calculated a move as I suspect.

The press was surprised (along with most everyone else). Likely many in the liberal media were full of themselves for destroying a potentially iconic conservative figure before she had the chance to develop into just that. The liberal press mindset: disaster averted, Palin is no longer a credible threat to President Obama in 2012.

Even some of the press on the right forgot to remember who friends were and got into the act. Why did she give up. She's weak. Maybe women really can't compete in the political arena because they're too sensitive to handle it. Tell that to Margaret Thatcher, or Golda Meir. Or the other argument that by giving up Alaska's governorship, she's simply bowing out of politics altogether, and who could blame her after all the savagery from the left. Blindness to reality is pretty easy in a 24 hour news cycle. The big picture often gets lost in the rush to report.

Perhaps many on the right were seduced by the stick-to-it-ivness of President Bush. He stuck to his guns and kept the country safe from September 12th 2001 to his last day in office. Noble. But that same mentality can become a weakness if it strays into stubborn refusal to deal with reality. Palin avoided exactly that - she saw the political reality for her in Alaska for what it was - a flaming wreck of a car crash - and decided to not let that happen.

Because the media primarily followed their anti-Palin playbook, something she no doubt counted on, she liberated herself from a great deal of scrutiny and gave herself room to maneuver over the next few years. That's an important step in changing from a defensive posture to one that's designed to move towards taking a turn on the offensive.

Which brings us to the second tactical advantage she's afforded herself, and the GOP.

Political Ju-Jitsu Item #2

There has been a perceived weakness since last November within the GOP -infighting. And to be fair, a lot of it is deserved. Evidence of the moderate versus conservative conservative wings of the Republican party abounds - Rush versus Powell, Meghan McCain versus most of the party, the RNCC versus Sarah Palin or Rush versus Steele for example. But despite the undercurrent of differing views simmering a potential on-going soul search for the GOP, the infighting has started, mercifully, to die down. Yes differing views exist. That's actually a good thing. We don't need a party that marches lockstep to oblivion the way the Democrats seem to be doing with The One. A party devoid of divergent ideas is a party devoid of thinking. And a party devoid of thought is a party of fools.

Back to Palin. The infighting is a huge weakness for Republicans. They should be focusing on the real opponent - liberals. Even perceived infighting diminishes the party as a credible source of leadership. If they can't get their act together, amongst themselves, how can the public trust them to lead? But the infighting lends itself to a huge opportunity for both Palin and the Republican National Conservative Caucus.

Apparently they've considered the opportunity and are possibly already acting on it. Under the cover of discord, the RNCC and Palin could be divvying up duties and concentrating their respective efforts based on their respective strengths. Palin will work on turnout and fundraising country-wide for congressional representatives for 2010. Meanwhile the RNCC can focus on recruitment and development of quality candidates in districts that don't overlap with the efforts of Palin. Meanwhile, the MSM continues the infighting narrative and loses focus on what's really going on; a developing and co-ordinated effort to affect a massive Congressional change in 2010.

If that's the case, honestly, it's a brilliant stroke. Perhaps the ju-jitsu goes even deeper than that. Back in early June when Palin was invited and then snubbed by the RNCC as a speaker at a fundraiser, there was a lot of finger pointing. What if the supposed miscommunication and/or snubbing was planned? What if the whole thing was a ruse to throw off the press?

After all, as conservatives we know how the press will portray all things conservative. Why not, instead of just fuming about it, pre-determine the what the media spin will be to a given bit of news (in this case political conservative news), and decide how to use it to your own advantage?

Dirty politics? Maybe a little. My question is 'so what'? If you don't get dirty at that level (and this really isn't all that dirty so much as it is sneaky), you're going to lose.

Is it political ju-jitsu on the part of Palin and the RNCC? I hope so. It would be absolutely delicious to catch the media and the Democrats completely flat footed staring into the spin/hype of their own creation.


  1. Anonymous - I'd planned on deleting your comments because of the vulgarity. Not because I'm too good for it, but because expletive-laced diatribe does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to further an intelligent discussion.

    Clearly though, you have no intention of having that type of discussion. You just want to rant, and stomp your feet in the classic liberal "I'm right!" style. Fair enough.

    However, from the tone of your comment, I can tell you are full of angry hate - something you probably profess to be completely against. Your double standard, and lack of quality control - it's Democrats not "deomcrats" - both speak volumes. You are ranting and not impressing anyone other than fellow mindless liberal dogma lovers who believe denigrating the opposition is the same thing as debate. It's not. So I am leaving your post up as a reminder to anyone willing to pay attention, that discussion and denigration ARE NOT THE SAME THING.

    If you can't talk intelligently to someone with an opposing viewpoint you are closed-minded and in your specific potty-mouthed case, hypocritical.

    From your twitter reply ; "it's JIU JITSU. your blog is rubbish. i am personally offended and disgusted by the things you wrote. you disrespected the sport."

    P.S. If anyone needs educating, it's you. There are many spellings of JU-JITSU, JIU-JITSU or JUJITSU. From Wikipedia (not my preferred source but it will do);

    "Jujutsu (jūjutsu), ("jujitsu") literally meaning the "art of softness," or "way of yielding" is a collective name for Japanese martial art styles including unarmed and armed techniques. Jujutsu evolved among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent without weapons."

    It dates back to the 17th century but was brought to Brazil in 1914, which developed into one of many derivatives of the martial arts style.
    If you don't like my blog, don't read it, but if you want to spread hate, go elsewhere. I won't be a party to a shouting match.

  2. Way to go Dean. this type of person can not be to intelligent to use that kind of language to express himself.I would give this person a -F for intelligence.Keep up the good blogging .


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