Saturday, September 18, 2010
Obama and Palin are More Alike Than Either Would Admit
Robert Schmul has an interesting article on AOL's Politics Daily today; one that will upset both Sarah Palin supporters and Barack Obama supporters alike.
He makes the case that Sarah Palin could be the next Barack Obama. Here are the similarities that Schmul found:
Both figures emerged quickly on the national scene and used their considerable charisma to become media-magnified political celebrities.
Both were tapped to deliver major speeches at national party conventions -- Obama's keynote address to Democrats in 2004 and Palin's acceptance of the GOP's vice-presidential nomination in 2008 -- and in each case Americans at large took notice of their rhetorical abilities and other qualities.
Both followed up their initial national exposure with well-publicized books to tell the public more about their lives and views. Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" came out in 2006, and Palin's "Going Rogue" was published last year.
Both became nationally recognized as Washington outsiders with limited governmental experience. Obama was an Illinois state senator when he gave his 2004 convention speech, and he was elected to the U.S. Senate later that year. Palin had served less than two years as Alaska's governor before running with John McCain in 2008. Prior to that she'd been mayor of Wasilla for six years.
Both share somewhat exotic backgrounds far removed from the continental United States, with Obama growing up in Hawaii and Palin moving to Alaska as an infant. In addition, out-of-the-ordinary familial circumstances -- Obama's bi-racial heritage and the Palin family saga -- spark human interest in the two people at the center of the public's political attention.
Finally, in creating their identities within their respective parties, both have positioned themselves in opposition to the existing establishments. Obama had to take on Clinton loyalists among the Democrats to prevail against Hillary Clinton in 2008, while today, Palin is, in part, propelled by the Tea Party movement rather than rank-and-file Republicans.
Are they also very different? Of course. But the parallels are striking and worth identifying. In many respects and assessed objectively, both Obama and Palin are products of a new age that combines politics and the modern media with all their available communication technologies.
Both created followers who are closely connected and willing to work on behalf of emerging and engaging personalities. Experience is less important than excitement, and celebrity sizzle helps, too.
At the beginning with Obama and now with Palin, the perception of being true outsiders becomes a definite advantage, especially when anger among the electorate and a disdain for the status quo define the civic climate.
To read the entire article click here.