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  • Friday, September 05, 2008


    Background on Sarah Palin

    While I'm sure there are plenty of critiques of Mrs. Palin, the Republican Vice-President candidate, I haven't read many of them. I was, however, drawn to About Sarah Palin: an e-mail from Wasilla because of its informed firsthand content and tone.

    Assuming it is authentic (in an election season I take nothing for granted,) it provides a picture of her that focuses on her local accomplishments and the tenor of her administration skills. I prefer this kind of evaluation to more polished punditry.

    What interests me as well is whether people will ignore her qualification shortcomings to support her because of particular identity issues: Anti-choice, Christian, woman, authoritarian, "soccer mom," etc.

    Not the least of her apparent qualifications is her conventional attractiveness. When my mother, a dyed in the wool Republican her whole life, described McCain's pick she didn't once mention Palin's qualifications. Instead my mother described Palin: her hair, her clothes, her energy. I asked about Palin's skills and my mother brushed that aside as if it were insignificant and unimportant. I admit I was a little shocked. It seemed like a "cult of personality" attitude, except my mother didn't even know Palin's public persona well on that first day.

    I'm actually looking forward to how the Republicans are going to present her and, more importantly, whether people will accept the image uncritically.

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