What’s the best way to defend Sarah Palin? John McCain, former presidential candidate has been asked to defend his former running mate for the hundredth time, following the release of the HBO movie Game Change.
While the film is vaguely sympathetic to Palin, as she struggles with the immense personal stress of the campaign, the film’s recurring theme is that she was wildly unprepared on both personal and professional levels. Staffers are seen in the movie explaining to Palin endless basic facts re the workings of US government, including the meaning of the shorthand phrase “the Fed”. McCain in a recent interview said he had not seen the movie and has no intentions of doing so while Palin describes the film as “historical fiction”.
McCain said in the interview that Palin is a “good and decent person” and “fine family person” and “someone who energized our campaign”. With words like these, reinforcing a perception that she was the soccer mom running for high office, he will continue to be frustrated in putting his choice of running mate firmly behind him.
The PR Verdict: “D“ For McCain and his defense of his Sarah Palin. Stop talking about her personal qualities and start talking about a broader perspective now that the campaign is well and truly over.
The key learning from Game Change is that the McCain /Palin campaign was battling not only under the stress of the existing 24-hour news cycle but the advent of YouTube. This allowed everyone to see reruns of Palin messing up, eliminating the possibility of the “forgive and forget” failed interview. Until McCain publicly reflects more broadly on his campaign, he will be obliged to defend his running mate on the same homely qualities that provoked such derision. In so doing, both Palin and McCain will face ongoing frustration in their efforts to put the past behind them.
How would you rate McCains interview on Game Change? What’s your PRV?