Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is 'Palin Effect' already wearing thin?

San Francisco Chronicle

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin blew onto the national political scene like a surprise hit movie - with an exciting script, a new landscape, a fresh face - that suddenly everyone wanted to see and talk about.

But now that the Republican vice presidential candidate has been seen and heard by millions - and parodied on "Saturday Night Live" before millions more - a question has been raised about the "Palin Effect." While GOP loyalists apparently still love the movie, is it starting to wear thin on the rest of America, particularly the legions of middle-of-the-road voters?

"Is she a one-hit wonder? Unless she does something radically different from what she's currently doing, yes," Cal State Sacramento political communications Professor Barbara O'Connor said this week. She said that in the 23 days since Palin was named the GOP vice presidential choice, her script has been a limited and increasingly predictable one. "It's fine to say she needed some time to get her footing ... but we're well past that."

Palin's decision to postpone a two-day fundraising and campaign trip to California this week also might say as much about John McCain's campaign troubles this week as it does about her own, insiders say.

Campaign officials said Palin will bolster her foreign policy credentials by appearing with McCain at the United Nations next week. But the Alaska governor has been rescheduled to be almost exclusively at the side of McCain until the election - in part because she boosts the size of GOP activist crowds that the party's presidential candidate can't attract.

Jon Fleischman, the Southern California vice chair of the state GOP, said Palin remains enormously popular with Republicans - and a huge plus for their presidential campaign message.

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