Wait, Sarah, Wait September 25, 2011Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
A friend on Free Republic has written a most insightful article about Sarah Palin’s apparent “delay” in officially entering the race. Brices Crossroads has graciously given me permission to repost his interesting piece here. If you would like to read it in its original context, as well as the comments and discussion it generated, you can find it Here. Enjoy! Thanks, BC!
It is hard to argue that Sarah Palin’s delay in formally announcing her candidacy has been anything other than a smashing success. I have been among a minority who have contended from the outset that Governor Palin’s delay in announcing was prudent strategy both for financial as well as political reasons. She has been able to campaign both in Iowa and New Hampshire within the last month, garnering huge amounts of publicity and the largest crowds of the campaign season. Her crony capitalism speech in Indianola on September 3 has driven the debate (as well as the GOP debates) even in her absence from the stage. It exposed the first chink in the armor of James Richard Perry, who has continued to bumble his chances, as some of us predicted he would. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann has virtually disappeared from the radar screen, and is rumored to be broke, having poured every resource she had into winning the meaningless Ames Straw poll and paying the likes of Ed Rollins. And Mitt Romney remains in the low twenties, unable to put any daylight between himself and the weak field he faces. Romney’s weakness–in the face of his opponents’ implosion–has led the Establishment to begin to trot out what must be its last reserves, to wit: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a liberal Establishment Republican to the left even of Romney.
Sarah Palin has positioned herself beautifully, as events have unfolded in the last month, by not formally announcing. And she has spent not one dime doing it. On August 14, I argued here that the principal reason for her to delay is financial. The Establishment is already funding two major candidates, Romney and Perry. They are trying to launch a third, Chris Christie. Well heeled to be sure, the GOP Establishment does not have limitless funds, and the burn rate for Romney and Perry (plus Christie, if he gets in) will stretch its resources to the limit.
Sarah Palin will, I argue, have adequate funds, but she will not be able to match the Establishment dollar for dollar. By waiting, she spends nothing while the Establishment spear carriers flit from straw poll to straw poll to fundraiser, spending cash by the boatload, to so little effect that a third major Establishment candidate is now poised to enter.
Sarah Palin is husbanding her resources while the Establishment is spending hand over fist, while dividing its admittedly much larger warchest several ways. In effect, Palin–who will be the insurgent candidate–is evening the odds. She is learning from some of the mistakes of the 1976 and 1980 Reagan campaigns, which overspent early in both cycles and ran out of money both times, costing the Gipper the nomination in 1976 and very nearly derailing him in 1980. Her delaying game, coupled with the multiplication of Establishment candidacies (a divide and conquer strategy, so to speak), has put her in the catbird seat.
Moreover, her delay is forcing the Establishment to play its cards first…to put its candidates out front first for the public to scrutinize. Palin knows that her formal announcement would take the spotlight and scrutiny, as well as the pressure, off the Establishment candidates since all eyes would then turn to her. And she is not about to give her Establishment opponents such a break. The vetting process has been very hard on the new candidates so far, and Palin is wisely allowing it to continue.
Meanwhile, under the radar screen, she is better organized than any of the declared candidates, with her O4P legions in nearly every state, particularly Iowa, quietly assembling names of volunteers and positioning themselves to strike as soon as she gives the word.
A Civil War analogy comes to mind. At Second Manassas in August 1862, Robert E. Lee was confronted with two Union Armies, whose combined strength was far greater than his own. He realized that he had to prevent them from uniting in order to defeat them separately. Understanding that the first Army–commanded by the timid George B. McClellan—would move slowly, Lee turned his attention to the other, commanded by the impetuous John Pope. Lee sent half his Army under Stonewall Jackson, perhaps 25,000 men, to lure Pope into battle, while keeping the other half, under James Longstreet, with him. Jackson mounted a lightning strike on the federals at Cedar Mountain, driving Pope back to the Rappahanock River, and then old Stonewall vanished into the Bull Run Mountains. Jeb Stuart hit him next, raiding Pope’s headquarters and making off with $350,000 in cash and Pope’s dress coat. Pope, enraged, took off after Jackson. When he finally found him two weeks later, Jackson was dug in on the railroad cut at the old Bull Run Battlefield from a year earlier.
Pope hurled his army of 62,000 against Jackson, trying to dislodge the stubborn rebels. At the end of the first day, Jackson’s lines had wavered but held. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Pope, Lee had brought up the second half of his Army under Longstreet and positioned it on the federal left, concealed by the dense foliage. The next day, Pope renewed his attack on a two mile front, stretching Jackson’s line to the breaking point. Civil War historian Bruce Catton sets the scene:
“The Yankees drove against Jackson on a two mile front stretching his line to the breaking point. His men threw rocks at the attackers when their ammunition ran out. Still Longstreet waited. Not until the last Yankee reserves had been thrown against Jackson did he take action. Then he launched his counterattack. An artillery barrage smashed the left side of the Union forces. Rebel infantry, ‘screaming like demons emerging from the earth’, fell upon the surprised Yankees as Longstreet’s five divisions rolled against the Union flank…. As Pope tried to halt Longstreet on his left, Jackson hit him on the right. The whole Union line bent like a horseshoe.”
Palin’s hit and run tactics of last summer in Iowa and New Hampshire are reminiscent of Jackson’s and Stuart’s tactics in August 1862. She continues to live rent free in the heads of the permanent political class, and her lightning strikes have forced them to react to HER, rather than forcing her to react to THEM. Just when the Establishment begins to hope it is rid of her, she pops up unexpectedly, and strikes it a blow that sends it reeling. At the same time, she manages to keep her intentions (and especially her timing) obscure enough to deny her enemies an easy fix on her as a target.
The huge vacuum in the current field, coupled with the many hints she has dropped over the last four months, suggest that Palin will enter the fray, but at the last possible moment, when the maximum amount of the Establishment’s reserves, both financial and political, have been exhausted, or at least committed. Her entry will generate a tidal wave of excitement and energy, a political feu d’enfer reminiscent of the artillery barrage at Second Manassas, through which her legions of supporters will pour to vanquish the tattered, dispirited Hessian hirelings of the Establishment.
To those who are pleading “Run, Sarah, run”, my rejoinder is “Wait, Sarah, wait.” Strike when the maximum advantage has been gained. Not before.
Feel free to pass this around. Just make sure that Brice’s Crossroads gets the credit.