Matt Lewis
Sarah Palin is setting the record straight about those expensive clothes.



... I'm supposed to go on Neil Cavuto later today to discuss whether or not Sarah Palin has gone "rogue"

Clearly, there is no rift between McCain and Palin -- and there is no doubt she is trying to help McCain win.  Having said that, Palin has clearly decided to seize control of her image from the consultants -- a move I applaud.  Individuals may not be able to control everything in their life, but they should, at least, be able to control their own image.

In his book, "A Different Drummer," former Reagan adviser Mike Deaver recounts how he and other advisers wanted Ronald Reagan to appear in an ad with his blazer draped across his shoulder, the way Jack Kennedy might have done.  Reagan wisely overruled his media gurus, saying it would look fake.  Reagan at this point was older, and he was also the principal candidate in that race -- so the advisers worked for him.  You can understand why Palin might not have initially been comfortable overruling Bush advisers who worked for McCain, not for her, per se.

In my estimation, Palin was ill-served by these same handlers, who are responsible for much of the negative publicity she received following her botched media roll-out.  In addition, they are solely responsible for this ridiculous story regarding the cost of her clothes.

Back in 1952, Richard Nixon understood the damage that expensive clothes could cause (a scandal regarding mink coats had hurt other politicians).  During his famous "Checkers" speech, Nixon went out of his way to say that his wife Pat wore a "respectable Republican cloth coat."  Nixon understood fifty years ago that expensive clothes would send the wrong message.  Sadly, these handlers did not understand this same point.

But aside from the obvious clothing gaffe, Palin's handlers are guilty of what corporate America often does:  They co-opt an edgy business, band, or product, and then use their "proven techniques" to water it down and "package" it for sale.  And by the time these so-called smart people are done with you, you've got this lame, cheesy watered-down product that is no longer appealing.  Immediately after the 2000 election, Al Gore said that if he had it to do again, he wouldn't listen to any consultants.  I think this is why.

Of course, the obvious question is whether or not Palin is already looking ahead to 2012. It would be wrong to conclude that Palin's decision is solely based on her future political ambitions.  First, Palin will be of more service to McCain these next eight days if she is being herself.  Second, even if McCain loses -- and she never runs for office again -- Palin deserves to present herself as she is.  Lastly, yes -- Palin does have a bright future ahead of her...

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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