Archive for August, 2010

Looking again at the Sarah Palin phenomenon

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Sarah Palin was the epitome of a Christian American. She embraced working class America with her hockey-mom wit, her charismatic image and her simple, straight to the point communication style. She was a fierce challenge to Obama’s presidential campaign because she identified with so many regular American people. Not the elite, nor the educated, nor the celebrities - but the many millions of working people in the heartland states who could not confide in Biden or Obama.

Her core skill was to steal away the credibility of the Democratic Party by attacking and slamming all of their policies. Palin had a powerful religious backing from the likes of Evangelical Christians and other members of what is termed the ’religious right’. She was extremely critical of Obama’s plans to create universal health care coverage, even suggesting it would lead to a system involving death panels who would pick and choose those who worthy of treatment (kind of like the current US health care system don’t you think!). Her attacks on the Democrats, however, were at best exaggerated, at worst complete fiction.

Her disastrous interview skills were the primary reason for the Republican defeat in the 2008 elections. Of course, this was because Palin was often unable to answer any of the questions directed to her. When she did answer them, she often struggled or faltered. Her lack of experience in foreign policy matters, in particular, was an enormous problem both for her and for the image of the Republican Party. Especially for someone who had barely ventured outside of her own state, Alaska, let alone the United States!

What did make Sarah Palin popular was her innocence. She evoked the kind of fresh, modern image of a 21st century American woman, in an age where there is yet to be a female US president. She was approachable, anti-elitist, traditional, and had an instant rapport with Americans yearning for a stronger Christian influence in US political affairs. Whether the Republican Party is now better off with her or without her, remains to be seen, however.