Palin 1, Pundits 0

Everyone -- especially those in the political pundit class seems to be calling Sarah Palin a loser, a quitter, a committer of political suicide by leaving office mid-term.

They are all very wrong.

What's being missed is that the usual political calculations simply do not apply to Sarah Palin, one of the most unusual public figures to come along in years.

With this decision and this announcement, Sarah Palin has been absolutely true to herself. Long-term, this will translate to a success that will leave most political pundits in the dust.


The pundit class is basing their analysis on calculations of the past (i.e., people who got elected president didn't quit as governor) and on the assumption that Sarah Palin made a political calculation in resigning.

They are simply not seeing either Sarah Palin for who she is, or what truly matters to the millions who support her, and they can't compute that there were no political calculations involved.

Her decision was one with her brand for two main reasons:

1) She's practical and holds government to the same standard. This means that when she was watching millions being spent on what seems to amount to frivolous investigations against her, she couldn't stand by and watch the money be wasted. Not only was she being hamstrung in her job, but dollars were being thrown out the window. Her frustration over this waste showed at her press conference. Not only does this point back to the sincerity of her brand and reinforce that she actually cares about every taxpayer dollar, but it puts her "quitting" in a different light -- by stepping aside and risking hurting her political career, she is actually saving Alaska money (one of her core promises she made to the people of that state).

2) She embodies family values and put them first. For the political class, a family is often an accessory, but even so, families are semi-sacred ground for the media, that is except for Sarah Palin's. By any reasonable standard, her family was dragged through the mud. The wife and mother making the announcement on July 3 was someone who could not and would not bear any more. She made a choice that came out of the deepest part of herself (her core brand) -- no wonder the political class was left scratching its collective head. They hadn't taken her claims of loving her family seriously. But the wives and mothers who make up Palin's supporters got it.

Fact is, as Stanley Fish over at The New York Times pointed out: if you just listened to what Palin said at her press conference, you'd understand that this was not someone making a traditional political calculation. This was someone being real about her choices and her pain.

And that's why Sarah Palin has just strengthened herself for the long run (if she ever chooses a political future). She wasn't erratic at all; she was true to the things she believes in.

Just look at her latest interview with the Associated Press:

You would be amazed at how much time and resource my staff and I, the Department of Law especially, spend on this every day. It is a waste. We are spending these millions of dollars not on teachers and troopers and roads or fish research and other things that are needed in Alaska."

She's a woman who means what she says and does what she believes. But the pundits simply aren't listening.

So let the pundits piece this out over the months and years ahead, but one thing is already clear: her base is still with her, and Sarah Palin is poised to grow.

And remember, things are always easier to understand when you keep marketing and branding in mind.

John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert and the founder and president of Marketing Department of America.