An excellent piece by Daniel M. Ryan appears today at Enter Stage Right. Excerpts follow:
Perhaps because he was stung by conservatives calling him a Beta male, perhaps because his disappointing poll numbers are finally getting to him, perhaps as a combination of the two, President Obama is letting the public know what kind of Alpha he really is. In mid-April, he invited Paul Ryan to a function and then roundly criticized him when at the microphone. That’s indicative of what kind of Alpha Obama is: a scold, who likes to secure dominance by calling someone on the carpet and making an example of him. To put it mildly, this isn’t the kind of leadership style that endears one to the typical American. Americans are more likely to flip the bird at such a character. Enter another charismatic, this one a Republican who’s quite different from Obama otherwise. Sarah Palin’s latest adventure in “going rogue” does involve subtly flipping the bird, but not to President Obama directly: she’s twitting her real and disguised critics in the mainstream media. Her “One Nation” tour was not run by the mainstream media in advance; it got them following her instead of her ingratiating herself to them. Her instincts are good: flipping the bird, subtly, is what’s called for. Her down-home irreverence works. It’s an example of why, to borrow a phrase used late in the 2008 campaign, Republican politicos are best off letting Palin be Palin.
Republican charismatics tend to be out-of-the-box campaigners while Democrat charismatics are not. The Republican breed seems riskier. Democrats follow a stable pattern: they’re excellent speechifiers and charming face-to-face campaigners. Other than that, they’re system people. They don’t mind being handled, and work well with handlers for that reason. They’re dependent upon the staff, and they mostly don’t mind being so. President Obama’s now-notorious gaffeing without teleprompter clearly indicates his dependency.
On the other hand, a Republican charismatic is more independent of his or her handlers. It’s charisma that comes from the base up, by direct bonding with ordinary people. It isn’t confined to speechifying and campaigning; it’s an amalgam of personal style and inner character. That’s why Republican charismatics are more like genuine celebrities than are the Democrat variety.
It’s a shame that this trust barrier exists, because Sarah Palin is easygoing; she wears her authority lightly. She tends to wield authority like a teacher, the kind who lets all students have their say if need be. Let me be the first to say it: should Sarah Palin become President, diligent members of her Cabinet who liked school will find her a pleasant boss. She’ll be very unlike Bill Clinton, who needed George Stephanopoulos as his morning punching bag.
Once again, Republicans need to hear it: let Palin be Palin. Her snubbing of the mainstream media on her One Nation tour was a subtle response to President Obama revealing his inner scold. Her kind of irreverence makes for a good paper to Obama’s rock. Although she has made a few gaffes, she’s far from being a slob. The way to handle a charismatic like Sarah Palin is to trust her, and run guard for her if needed. As a side benefit, Republican strategists and handlers would be far less the worry-wart.
Read Ryan’s entire piece here. It’s well worth your time.