Monday, July 6, 2009

What About the Next Palin?

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Sarah Palin shocked the political world late last week by resigning her position as governor of Alaska, effective at the end of July. Some people have blamed the press and "elitists" for her downfall, while others just don't think she was cut out for the job. Either way, almost everyone agrees that barring a miracle, her political career is likely over.

I won't rehash much of what has already been written about her recent decision, instead I'd like to focus on what Mrs. Palin's rise says about America. From mayor of a small town, to governor of a small state to vice-presidential candidate of the most powerful country in the world...all in a little over 6 years. President Obama also rose to the heights of American power quite rapidly, but he at least spent 4 years on the national stage prior to his election. Sarah Palin was on the national stage for a matter of months before the country was asked to a make a decision about her, and it showed in her first national interviews.

On top of the botched interviews, the press began to dig into her background, discovering numerous mini-scandals such as Trooper-gate, Todd Palin's membership in a secessionist party, etc. It soon became apparent to Democrats and Independents that she was completely unprepared and unqualified for the position she was running for.

Despite all that, she remains extremely popular with a significant portion of the United States. As of late June, 45% of the country held a favorable view of her. Which way is that segment of the population trending? In another 8/12/16 years, will another "Palin" come along? And if that person isn't running against one of the most impressive and charismatic politicians of all time, does that person win?

I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that a democracy that can no longer tell the difference between a capable and incapable leader is a democracy that won't be around long enough to get lucky.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
July 7, 2009 at 7:51 AM Delete Comment

"elitests"

Is that a non-elitist spelling? A joke? Irony?

Anonymous said...
July 7, 2009 at 9:10 AM Delete Comment

Excellent point, Mike. With charisma an increasingly influential factor in our culture and political evolution, it's likely that we will see an increasing number of candidates who make their mark with Palin-level personas. On the other had, it's rare that such charisma is combined with intelligence and thoughtfulness - Obama is very much an exception to the rule.

Mike said...
July 7, 2009 at 11:43 AM Delete Comment

Caught me! Should have ran spell check. Fixed.
Thanks for pointing that out, even if you were trying to be funny.

Anonymous said...
July 7, 2009 at 11:51 AM Delete Comment

There is no mystery here. Our leaders refelct ourselves. We will see more of Sarah Palin, and others like her as long as our school system continues to produce ignorant semi-literates. In any large organization, the level of acheivement and sophistication rises only as high as it's lowest member.

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