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PALIN FLASHBACK: Fred Malek, Sarah Palin and the Case for Loyalty

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 15, 2011

Chris Cilizza at The Fix reports on his interview with Fred Malek about Governor Sarah Palin in this article.  My favorite quote from the article:

“She has that Ronald Reagan quality,” he said of the Alaska governor. “She has that magic.”

Fred Malek, Sarah Palin and the Case for Loyalty

Fred Malek has emerged as the leading defender of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Photo by Nikki Kahn of the Washington Post

Fred Malek is, by his own admission, loyal to a fault.

“My strength is loyalty, my downfall is loyalty,” Malek acknowledged in a recent interview with the Fix. “I’m the guy who waved goodbye to [former President Richard] Nixon from the White House lawn.”

It is that sense of loyalty that has led Malek, a prominent Republican rainmaker, to emerge as the leading defender of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the wake of the 2008 election where she served as the party’s vice presidential nominee.

Palin’s surprise resignation last week has made Malek a wanted man — one of a coveted few in Washington who have a relationship with the Alaska governor.

Malek insisted that “everybody is trying to over-analyze” Palin’s resignation, attributing it either to a need to escape ethics charges or as part of a grand plan to position herself for a presidential run in 2012.

“She’s not that calculating,” said Malek. He added that viewing Palin’s resignation through the 2012 lens is a mistake.

That Malek has come to be regarded as the authority on Palin — or certainly one of the few — is remarkable in its own way.

Despite being at the center of Republican politics for decades — after spending four years as an aide to Nixon (former secretary of state Colin Powell referred to Malek as Nixon’s disciplinarian) he chaired George H. W. Bush‘s campaign for president in 1992 — Malek had never met Palin before she was picked by John McCain (Ariz.) as his running mate last fall.

Shortly after that selection, Palin and her husband, Todd, spent 90 minutes with Malek at his home in McLean, Va. where they chatted and the campaign filmed footage for several commercials.

Aside from seeing her occasionally at fundraising events during the fall, Malek had little contact with Palin until McCain’s defeat last November. As the obituaries of the campaign began to be written — and Palin began to be savaged by former McCain aides — Malek found himself more and more annoyed. “It really torqued me,” he explained.

Malek proceeded to take Palin under his considerable Washington wing, inviting her to attend the exclusive Alfalfa Dinner in late January as his guest and hosting a foreign policy discussion attended by the likes of former secretary of defense Frank Carlucci and former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott.

What has led Malek to put himself so far forward for Palin even as many other longtime Washington insiders scoff at the idea that she can be a serious national figure or presidential candidate?

“You can teach people to read a [tele]prompter, you can teach people to spout policy but you can’t reach people charisma and magnetism,” explained Malek.

Malek is quick to note that he has absolutely no idea whether Palin will ultimately run for president and, even if she does, he isn’t pledging his support for her.

But, he does have some advice for the soon-to-be former governor if she wants to continue to keep her name in the mix as a national figure and/or potential presidential nominee.

Malek believes Palin should keep her hometown of Wasilla as a home base and make two of three trips a month out of the state. Those trips should include appearances for candidates — Malek said former Virginia state attorney general Bob McDonnell is very interested in Palin coming to the state — fundraising for 2010 candidates, a paid speech or two and perhaps an event for a charity of her choosing.

Should Palin really want to run for president, she would need to get “more serious on substantive stuff,” hire a speech writer, pen an occasional opinion piece to flesh out her world view and make a foreign trip (Palin recently traveled to Kosovo) every six months or so, according to Malek.

Regardless of what Palin does next, Malek will be watching.

“She has that Ronald Reagan quality,” he said of the Alaska governor. “She has that magic.”

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 8, 2009; 3:15 PM ET

One Response to “PALIN FLASHBACK: Fred Malek, Sarah Palin and the Case for Loyalty”

  1. […] PALIN FLASHBACK: Fred Malek, Sarah Palin and the Case for Loyalty […]

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