Jon believes Palin needs “three things” to be “substantive leader of a political movement:”
- A clear, but sophisticated, political philosophy
- A serious governing strategy to move the ball forward on her political philosophy
- A support base, including grassroots and elite infrastructure, that can mobilize to defend her and advance her agenda
My sense is that she could easily assemble the third, but needs work to develop the first two.
While I beileve she has many of the qualities (i.e., natural gifts) of Ronald Reagan, she has, as I’ve noted before, not yet come close to realizing her potential. Jon seems to agree:
At least, not right now. Remember, Ronald Reagan spent decades writing, speaking and working on difficult political issues, thinking deeply about what he believed and why, before he was taken seriously as a major movement leader.
That can be remedied. In commenting on Palin’s RNC-financed campaign wardrobe, Lisa Schiffren suggests she buy some books:
I would be really happy to know that, should she find herself back in Alaska for the next four years, (or, for that matter, in D.C.) she chose to spend a little of the money that would otherwise go to her clothing budget on a personal library of conservative classics. Going upmarket intellectually will complete the transformation, and make her truly prime-time ready.
Gifts similar to the Gipper have served her well in this campaign. And she has become a better candidate, handling recently a tough CNN interview without the awkward moments of her exchange with Katie Couric.
She needs, however, a stronger command of political philosophy and public policy. The good news for her is that Ronald Reagan once lacked those things. He gained them, not through a university curriculum, but through years of intense reading and intelligent conversation. The Gipper was largely self-taught.
Now that the conservative movement has come to embrace her, she can more readily reach out to leading luminaries of the right to help her identify the right books to read and to serve as sounding boards as she develops her ideas.
Here’s hoping she continues her education in Washington rather than Juneau.