THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

First Hillary, Now Sarah

Here we go again. Hillary was made out to be a she devil, too unqualified from her first lady status to run for Senate, with the same thing being said during her presidential campaign. Now we've got the demonization of a diva. It all amounts to the same thing. With Sarah's book being fact checked by the AP before it hits bookstores. Did this ever happen with Newt's book? The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Andrew Sullivan has the distinction of being in Sarah's sights over the bogus baby Trig pregnancy scandal, something that would never have happened to a man:

Ms. Palin was particularly angry at bloggers and the media, associates said, for speculation that her baby Trig was really the child of Bristol, her daughter.

At one point, according to people familiar with the discussions, Ms. Palin considered pursuing a libel suit against at least one blogger, the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. Ms. Palin decided against such a move because of the publicity it would bring.

Mr. Sullivan, in response, said asking "factually verifiable questions is obviously not libel."

The roll out to Sarah Palin's book has already been a strange trip, as we all wait for the big Oprah interview on Monday. The usual suspects are acting up, with Sarah squarely in their target range. Except for one, Chris Matthews, who never said a nice word about Hillary Clinton as she clawed her way up, with Bill Clinton still on his hate list. But Matthews has been laboring relentlessly to heap praises on Sarah, no doubt having chills run down his legs over the daydream that he might be the chosen one on MSNBC to actually land an interview with Sarah. Eat your heart out, Pat Buchanan.

I haven't read Palin's book and few of the people opining on it have either, I suspect, so I'm not going to posture about it. I'm also going to resist going down the usual low road when it comes to Sarah Palin. It's sport to hate Sarah, just like it used to be to hate Hillary. But to note, the weirdest thing to come out so far is the clip CBS has of Sarah and Oprah where she talks about Levi Johnson. It's hard to know what to make of that one, except that Mr. Johnson gives us his view:

"She's being smart," said Johnston, when a reporter told him last night that Palin didn't blast him in the interview she taped with Winfrey Wednesday afternoon. "She knows what I got on her. It's a smart move on her part."

What a crew. Not exactly First Family material, now is it.

That's on top of Sarah Palin's gravitas questions, which some on the right point to, in addition to her foreign policy knowledge canyons, which have still not been addressed.

However, for Sarah Palin, score settling is job one.

Matthew Continetti, who has written a book about Sarah's "persecution" by the media, has some advice for Mrs. Palin, as she begins her rehabilitation, get reacquainted with the real Sarah tour:

During her book tour, Ms. Palin is sure to mention that the Obama administration's opposition to offshore drilling and domestic nuclear power, and its support for an onerous cap-and-trade scheme, will raise energy prices across the board. But she also might spend less time discussing campaign intrigue and Alaska trivia, and more time outlining how to spur job creation through tax reform.

She might mention, too, that the Democrats' health-care plan would hike taxes, raise the cost of doing business, and lead to rationing down the line. She might point out that, on top of health care, the stimulus and bailouts, President Obama's 2010 budget will further bury the United States in debt. Every time the media try to shift the conversation to personal gossip or past mistakes, Ms. Palin should pull it right back to how the Obama agenda will hurt the middle class.

I realize I'm the only progressive who believes Sarah Palin is not done on the national scene, and that there is a lot of time for her to reinvent herself. She's going to need it, but she's getting a lot of help in an atmosphere that's a great stage for someone like her.

On the right, Joe Scarborough has pronounced her unelectable nationally, quarantined to getting 25% and that's all.

This analysis is not only wrong, but belies the appetite the American people have for comebacks, at least where men are concerned.

It also ignores two things many Democrats are dismissing, to our detriment. That there isn't a politician on the right who comes close to her charisma, crowd drawing power and ability to reach into people's hearts. And that the American people don't vote on intellectual prowess. They vote on emotion, which Sarah sure knows how to tap. That alone should make Democrats take notice. No doubt it has Romney and Pawlenty stewing.

Still some aren't buying it. But they don't understand how this works.

The Republican strategy Sarah is using has been around since Rush started wailing on radio. It amounts to turning on the emotional engine, which ends up fueling Republican surges. It's the best GOTV, throw the bums out tool the right has, because people like Sarah Palin not only know how to turn it on, but she's actually capable of delivering the message and hooking into people's hearts. As with all issues that hit people personally, non fact based motivation works for getting out the vote against us, as we saw with Palin's "death panels" squeal tour, but can also crystallize what they are for, as was the case in NY-23 where tea party activists and what they believed fueled the rise of a talentless spokesperson simply because he spoke their language, who almost took everyone down and now is wishing he hadn't conceded because the vote totals are getting that close.

Stranger things than a Sarah Palin comeback have happened. George W. Bush beat Democrats twice, the second time based on emotion that keyed in on the bigotry of people thinking America was changing just a little too much, with anti gay marriage amendments the tool. Are people really going to argue that Bush is smarter than Sarah?

And don't underestimate the bailout blues people are experiencing across this country, regardless of party affiliations, topped off by the Democrats seemingly aligning themselves with Wall Street. The populist anger exhibited through the classic brawl of Wall Street versus main street, something Sarah Palin knows how to tap into, is very dangerous for Democrats.

But whether Sarah runs for national office or not, you can bet there will be a huge audience for her interview with Oprah, as her makeover begins. At the very least, she's getting revenge and doing so by traveling battleground states one by one hawking her bestselling book.

People love to hate Sarah, just like they did Hillary. But strong, resilient, determined women can survive anything and live to rise again.

Taylor Marsh, with podcasts available on iTunes.