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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Christian Science Monitor: Sarah Palin & Glenn Beck In AK: Testing The 2012 Waters?

Kingmaker, powerbroker, digital celebrity – by whatever name, and there have been many – Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin herald the dawn of a rising phenomenon. Their ability to use virtually every form of new and old media, from television to Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, to reach large audiences in the service of personal yet political messages is something new on the political landscape, say many political strategists and historians.[...]
Such powerful “candidates without portfolio” are truly a creation of today’s hyper-media-saturated communication landscape, says branding expert Mark Stevens. “We’ve never had people as powerful as Beck and Palin who aren’t politicians with complete access to the entire country every day,” he says. “Who can we equate them to? Nobody,” he says. “It’s a unique phenomenon.”
While Palin ranked first in a July Gallup poll of top Republican presidential candidates, at 76 percent, her – and Beck’s – real motivations are less clear, says political scientist Stephen Medvic, author of the 2009 book “Campaigns/Elections: Players and Processes.” Running for president is much dirtier and less financially rewarding than what either of them is doing now, he notes. [...]
Both Palin and Beck are in a wait-and-see mode, says Jerry Kremer, a 23-year veteran of the New York State Assembly and founder of Empire Government Strategies, a political consulting firm. “Beck is a work in progress, testing whether or not he has the power to influence the national debate,” he says. Palin “takes the oxygen out of every other candidate by her charisma,” he says. “She can take a walk around the block and get media coverage.”
The midterm elections will reveal what kind of base Palin would have to tap in a future presidential run, Mr. Kremer says, suggesting that her endorsements are like money in the bank. “Politicians are all about who owes who what,” he says, “and if the people she endorses win big, then she will have a wide net of people to tap when it comes to the necessary organizations to run a national campaign,” he says. "Right now, though," he says, "I don’t see her building the kind of foot soldiers that would involve.”
However, social media is a potent indicator, says Sherrie Madia, author of the upcoming book “Social Media Survival Guide for Political Campaigns.” [...]
“... it certainly bodes well for any potential candidate to have established bandwith long before any official announcement is made,” she adds.

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