Sunday, June 21, 2009

Being Sarah Palin

There were many intriguing results from last year's presidential election. Of course, the biggest was the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American president.

After that, ranking number two on that list might be the emergence of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) as a possible presidential candidate in 2012. Her position as the Republican's vice presidential nominee last year certainly had its ups and downs, but she will have support if she runs in 2012.

At this point, Palin is a polarizing figure. People seem to either love her or loathe her. She is not a person that generates wishy-washy opinions.

The big question is: Why?

For those doubting she is a lightning rod, her recent skirmish with comedian and talk show host David Letterman provides ample evidence.

As the host of a late night talk show, Letterman often skewers political leaders that are in the news. In this case, Palin and her family were making an appearance in New York where Letterman tapes his program.

On each night of her visit, Letterman poked relentless fun at her, but he went over the line when he made a joke about her daughter attending a New York Yankees' baseball game.

Palin has several children, but the daughter who attended the game was her 14-year-old, Willow. In the joke, Letterman made a wisecrack about one of the Yankees' players getting her pregnant.

Even though our society is incredibly jaded, most Americans showed that some limits still remain when it comes to humor. Letterman was roundly criticized by the Palins and the public. The next night he made a half-hearted apology on his program.

The biggest mistake Letterman made was ridiculing a child of a politician. These children should never be served up as cannon fodder when it comes to political humor.

These kids did not ask to be put in the position they find themselves. It was wrong when conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh made fun of Chelsea Clinton during President Bill Clinton’s time in office. It was wrong when Letterman made his jokes.

Let's hope the media will leave the children of President Obama alone. Think about the pressures we all went through when we were growing up. Now, think about those pressures if we had gone through them with the whole world watching.

In my case, it would not have been a pretty sight. The bottom line is the children should be left alone.

As for Palin, I believe there is a simple reason why she is such a lightning rod. She is an attractive woman who is charismatic, and she can deliver a strong performance when reading a prepared speech.

She still has to improve her chops when it comes to interviews and other events that are not well scripted.

Charisma can carry politicians a long way. It was certainly an important aspect of President Obama’s victory last year. We’ve seen it with other politicians in recent years, most notably President Clinton and President Ronald Reagan.

However, the primary reason some hate her is because she is pro-life when it comes to abortion, and she is a supporter of gun rights.

For many feminists, these positions (especially the one on abortion) scare them. Therefore, they feel they have to neutralize her as quickly as possible.

This is why we see many trying to portray her as a dumbbell. Letterman even referred to her personal appearance and her make up as 'slutty.' I have not heard many male politicians attacked for their personal appearance.

Sexism is alive and well in 2009. Get ready for more as Palin advances her career.


Mister Jimmy said...

Letterman's not funny, he's mean-spirited and he has a lot of nerve mocking people who parent illegitimate children when his how child bears the same stamp. Did I mentione he's not funny?

Joltin' Django said...

As for Palin, I believe there is a simple reason why she is such a lightning rod. She is an attractive woman who is charismatic, and she can deliver a strong performance when reading a prepared speech.

You're exactly right. You're also right to say that she needs to develop her off-the-cuff chops a bit -- she probably needed some more seasoning before being thrust into the midst of a national campaign. However, let's not forget that in the days after she was picked by McCain, and after her withering anti-Obama speech at the GOP convention, she was the toast of the town ... and McCain actually moved ahead in the polls. Indeed, it wasn't until McCain started looking like he could win that the media started a constant drumbeat of negativity directed at "the former mayor of Wassilla" that she started to be seen as "polarizing." (If Palin were a pro-choice liberal the mainstream media would've been, and still would be, touting her as a political rising star.)

I see Palin as someone who definitely will be a major political player for years to come. She may not ever be president, or vice-president, but I see her in the U.S. House or Senate, sooner rather than later.

Joltin' Django said...

Here's a great blog post, re: Sarah Palin

Joltin' Django said...

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