Show me what you have – literally

A young Sarah PalinSo much of life is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  Andy Warhol predicted a future that would make everyone famous for 15 minutes.  Combine that with the Peter Principle, which tells us in essence that everyone rises to the level of their incompetence, and you have Sarah Palin.

Mayor.  Governor.  Vice-Presidential candidate.  Now, author The erstwhile Republican overachiever has now written a book, largely as a way to make money and keep her name in the public eye as she contemplates her next move.  If achievement were tied to qualifications, her decision would be at which fast-food joint she should seek to flip burgers back in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.  But achievement has nothing to do with ascension in American politics, as the election of Barack Obama showed us, and now Palin is contemplating a run for the same office that Obama currently holds.

Her biggest drawback is also her biggest qualification for success in American politics in 2009:  she has no creditability.  She is polarizing.  You either love her, and believe every word she says, or you hate her, and disparage everything she says and does.  There is no middle ground, and there is no debate about what she says.  You either believe her or you don’t.  Conservatives, who have latched on in love, believe every word that comes from her mouth.  Liberals believe none of it.  The question becomes whether enough conservatives can coalesce to once again foist their opinion on the American population, as they have done in the not-too-distant past.

In a somewhat laughable way, Sarah Palin’s rise through the Republican ranks has mitigated the universal popularity she would have likely enjoyed for eternity if she had remained a small-town mayor.  In towns across America, there are a good number of small-town mayors who are extremely popular because they fit the role they are playing.  They are boosters for their town and do not become immersed in the political quandaries in which people find themselves bogged down at higher levels of the political food chain.

Palin was in the right place at the right time, however, and her small-town popularity as mayor propelled her to the governorship.  There, she encountered some controversy that came with the first signs that she was now in over her head.  Next came the vice-presidential nomination, which showed what an empty suit she is and what an empty head she has.

But her lack of qualification does not really matter.  Politics is as much about personality as it is about true traits of leadership.  And, for many Republican men, there is probably a bit of fantasy that they project as a connection between themselves and Sarah Palin, much in the way we were told women fantasized about Obama after his election.  Evidently, many Americans want politicians to “show me what you have,” but not in a mental way. – George Curcio


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