Wednesday, September 01, 2010


"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. ... We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very, pro-America areas of this great nation."
-Sarah Palin

As of this point, whatever opinion you might have of Sarah Palin, its clear she's one of the most powerful figures in the Republican Party. After sweeping clear the old guard GOP out of Alaska last night, she's proved to be a very reliable kingmaker and is a huge draw at any speaking event.

Its interesting the divide she causes. Most people on the left consider Sarah Palin an idiotic fluff headed cheerleader lightweight, an imbecile who can't even talk right and a hick. Most people on the right find her charming, fascinating, and very well spoken. It seems to me that there's two basic causes for this:
1) Confirmation bias. For the left, she's a conservative, and thus must be some mouth breathing cretin. For the right, she sounds conservative and so she's liked for what she says.
2) Culture bias. For the left, she epitomizes rural America, with her speech patterns, life style, clothing and actions. For the right... she doesn't epitomize urban America; both sides agree, but each one has a different perspective on what that means.
In essence, Sarah Palin is the physical embodiment of the divide in America, and while the press and popular culture have managed to turn her into an idiotic caricature so effectively that most independents don't think much of her, everyone is going to have to start taking her more seriously, including me.

*UPDATE: Let me expand on the divide theme a bit with a shirt image courtesy Tim Blair's blog:

Palin Shirt
Now, for some in the US, this shirt is awesome, representing core values and ideas of they've grown up with (especially women). For some the shirt is ironically hip and satirical: look at what this hick beleives in!

Think back to November 2008 when Sarah Palin was interviewed on TV about thanksgiving in front of a turkey slaughterhouse. The left thought it was just awful she was seen talking about turkeys in front of a place where turkeys died, it was gruesome, someone with real class would not have even allowed that camera shot. Others in America shrugged and thought "what's the big deal, you figure they're born in that plastic package with the pop up "done" button in them?"

Sarah Palin may not be terribly impressive as a person, she may be no good as a politician or leader, but she's a perfect icon of the cultural divide in America: the secular leftist urban elite, and the rest of us.


eric said...

I'll continue to take Palin as seriously as her rhetoric and posturing indicate she deserves. I think she is an excellent operative within the movement, but I like her less and less as a professional politician. I think you are correct that she represents the cutural divide between the urban and the rural, but I sometimes think there are an awful lot of suburban conservatives who project their idea of rural culture onto Palin. A lot of Palin's persona is actually much more "modern suburban professional woman" than country gal, but since she hunts and is from Alaska it is easily spun as being rural.

Christopher Taylor said...

I agree that she's more a suburban mom and not as rural as people think, and I don't consider her as great as some conservatives.

Yet she does represent the divide well and people's perception of her are an expression of this divide. The left thinks the divide is between educated, secular, caring people and heartless, creationist Jesus-freaks but they're out of touch with the bulk of the country.

Sarah Palin is religious, but not very much so. She's not a very strong social conservative at all, really.

ck said...

She's right where Reagan was, hated by the media/left and the country club republicans. No one debates her/Reagan on policy, only style. But, we knuckle draggers in flyover country listen to what she says, not what tina fey says on her behalf.I don't give a damn about sitting at "the cool kids lunch table", I'm a Sarah fan.

Unknown said...

I still think McCain picked her as a publicity stunt in his run for President. It didn't work and now I think she is just making herself lots of money. I do not think she is going to run in 2012 but she is going to make lots of money from the rubes in the build up to it.

Christopher Taylor said...

Actually, Lance, when he picked Palin he immediately got like a 5 point uptick in the polls. What killed him was an idiotic response to the banking crash.

I think she's not presidential material, but she's not the retard leftists seem to think.

Unknown said...

I do not think she is a retard. But I do not think she is different then the rest of the politicians either left or right. She like the rest of them is looking out for number 1. I do not think she has the best interests of America at heart. I do not think Obama has the best interests of America at heart.