Sunday, 19 September 2010

Being (in love with) Sarah Palin

You may know her as the beauty queen from Alaska or as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party on the ticket with McCain in 2008 - she is the incomparable Sarah Palin. She is also a phenomenon. An incredibly captivating phenomenon who dominates media coverage across the United States. Either she is speaking or being spoken about, and across the airwaves, including in the mainstream press. Her tweets serve as breaking news stories. Her Twitter account has a moderate following of 256,000 and counting; her Facebook profile significantly more, with over 2.2 million fans. Her book Going Rogue has sold over 3 million copies and rivals any political memoir to date in popularity. Yet, countless critics dismiss her, especially those who believe her type of politics, her personality doesn't have appeal. Most recent was a piece in Vanity Fair titled, "Sarah Palin: Sound and Fury," which portrayed her in a very negative light and was extremely dismissive. These pundits miss the point. Palin is popular. She is a political icon. And she's not going away.

Most recently, in the lead-up to the elections in November, she has been supporting a number of candidates in the Republican primaries, often in opposition to favorites of entrenched political operatives like Karl Rove. She has dove-tailed with the Tea Party (and Glenn Beck) to create a new pillar of influence in American politics. What is her appeal and message? Here's her latest speech from Iowa just yesterday:

Her opening? A story about running in the heartland being a warm refresher after just having been caribou hunting in Alaska last week. It is this type of thing that satirists like Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey have exploited to caricature Palin (click here for a clip). However, all this is but a red herring, distracting observers from the deep and real support that Palin engenders for her cause (whether her message merits the attention is another story). I leave you below with the recent 'posts' on her Facebook wall, to help illuminate what drives the love for Palin:

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