I wonder who it is, especially within the conservative party, these days that gets their voice heard the most effectively.
Lately it doesn't appear that conservative politicians are carrying their messages as widely as conservative talk show hosts. I'm thinking about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann (I know he's not conservative but he is opinionated). Now bear with me. These folks have microphones sure, and broadcasts that reach far and wide. That their messages travel is not unknown, but what I'm wondering is--how has their influence shaped the paths that politicians seek to follow? Said another way, is there a new professional trajectory for politicians that cuts out, or short, the political career and moves to the media because politicians see how effectively the big media players can reach, shape and influence public debate?
Talking with Caryl Rivers the other day started me thinking about this.
Take Mike Huckabee for example.
The man had a failed Presidential run but landed a widely popular TV deal with FOX. His talk show allows him to share his opinions and explore new ideas for a captive audience regularly.
Take Sarah Palin for example.
Sarah Palin's yet-to-be-released book is selling like hot cakes. Sure she did put in some time as Governor of Alaska and she certainly sat in the hot seat, under the bright political lights speaking in front of thousands and thousands of people as the Republican Party's Vice Presidential candidate for the 2008 election season. But soon after she left politics and she landed a sweet book deal. Lots of folks get book deals but what remains to be seen is what Ms. Palin would like to do next.
Some say Palin connects with the public on a very human level. Some say there is no way she'll win the nomination for the Republican Party because she and fellow maverick John McCain couldn't do it in 2008. There is a lot of discussion about success and failure for 2012 but maybe the better question is, does she have what it takes to be a media star if she fails in the election?
Maybe the new trajectory -- at least for those people looking to make some money and make some noise and maybe the newly increasingly effective way to influence change, is to get a media job.