Sarah Palin’s Comeback Tour
Sarah Palin is kicking off the promotional tour for her book Going Rogue with an appearance today on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and an interview tomorrow on “Good Morning America.” The book’s already a best seller, so the main benefit of the campaign is a chance for Palin to rebuild her image.
She needs it. A recent CNN poll showed that, while two-thirds of Americans see her as “a good role model for women” and a strong majority think she’s caring and trustworthy, a mere 23 percent think she’s qualified to be president. Indeed, 47 percent of Republicans think she’s unqualified.
Politico‘s Johanna Blakely thinks Palin’s appearance can be good for both Winfrey, whose ratings have slipped since she inserted herself into the 2008 campaign by stumping for Barack Obama, and the erstwhile Alaska governor.
Palin’s book lays out the trajectory of a self-made woman who rose from humble roots to the national stage, a career description — and cause — that Winfrey has embraced. Palin’s attraction is strongest in the flyover states, where Winfrey’s devoted audience has made her talk show No. 1 in the nation for 23 consecutive seasons. A Lear Center/Zogby survey conducted in August 2008 found that, among 26 celebrities who had publicly endorsed a political candidate, Winfrey was far more likely to be considered “well-informed.”
[T]he presence of Palin on “Oprah” will most likely produce a ratings blockbuster, which may attract new viewers who stick around to watch future shows.
Will the two women reminisce about beauty pageants past (Winfrey was, after all, Miss Black Tennessee) or bond over their mutual love of Burberry cashmere scarves? Will Palin mention the story about her sister who thought it was awesome that she’d been elected governor of Alaska, because she might get to be on “Oprah”?
The problem, though, is that the book itself could be a problem for Palin. While it’s getting good reviews in the Wall Street Journal and will likely solidify her support among Republicans unhappy with the moderate direction John McCain was taking the party, it’s rather clear that many parts of the book are self-serving if not outright lies. HuffPo’s Sam Stein has several emails sent during the campaign that directly refute many of Palin’s assertions.
When Palin resigned as governor, she gave away her best chance at rebutting the impression that she was unprepared for the highest office in the land. Had she worked to enact a bold agenda and then gotten herself re-elected, she could have brought a more impressive resume to the table. Instead, she decided to double down on her pop culture celebrity.
Right now, people think she’s a lightweight but one who’s likable, charismatic, and decent. It’s not at all clear how putting out a book that alienates a prominent wing of her own party and calls her integrity into question will help her.