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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Is Sarah Palin America's Princess Di?

Is Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting, gun toting, America loving, mother of five, GOP vice presidential candidate, America's princess Diana?

It takes a couple readings to understand the UK's Daily Mail piece which states in their headline "Sarah Palin is as popular as Diana in the hearts of the American public," but the piece brings the comparison down to basics and while not all will agree, some might say it makes an interesting read.

Princess Diana was known as the people's Princess. She cared, she thought of people before she thought of politics and in the Daily Mail piece they point out how some of those not from America are seeing Sarah Palin and they are making the comparison between the two much talked about women.

Feminists have long stated multiple goals, many claiming their main objective was to see women treated equally as men are in every aspect of world affairs.

Clinton feminists and supporters who have come out in support of Sarah Palin on the John McCain/Palin ticket, state they are multiple issue voters that can disagree with Palin on specific issues yet appreciate a working mother, that can handle a demanding a career and raise a family at the same time.

Obama supporters that are feminists seem, to many, to focus only on specific issues such as abortion, to which Palin is a strict opponent of, therefore many state that voting for Palin is voting against feminism.

The Daily Mail piece deals with different issues.

The pro-life, devoutly Christian, happily married mother-of-five has emerged from the political margins to become the most intriguing and divisive woman in today's America.

She has enraged the Left in general and feminists in particular at every turn. What infuriates them most is her rapid rise to the national stage and her ability, like Ronald Reagan before her, to talk to the people in a language they understand with a fundamentalist message many of them want to hear.

The point out Palin's ability to speak to every day Americans, those largely unheard in the political realm, as Diana spoke to and for the people of her country.

In their eyes, while the political elite seem to despise Palin, middle America sees her as a new, fresh face, a new voice, of someone that speaks for them, stands for them and will stand up for them.

They speak of kids skipping school, mothers taking days off of work so they can see her speak, chanting "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, " and they point out it is likely that American women will be the deciding factor in the 2008 elections.

Women are traditionally more likely to vote than men. And recent polls show most women prefer the McCain/Palin ticket by a margin of anything up to 20 per cent.

One explanation is the Hillary factor. Disgruntled by Obama's rejection of Mrs Clinton, many of Hillary's female supporters, especially the swing voters, are switching to Palin.

Hillary had 10 million women vote for her in the Democratic primaries. There's a lot to play for - and Palin is playing them like a maestro.

Indeed, the Obama camp is so spooked by this shift in the female vote that it has started a frantic campaign to win them back.

They've bought wall-to-wall advertising airtime during women's TV programming, with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton herself spearheading the push.

Their problem is that they - like many liberal commentators - just can't fathom why Palin is so popular.

Daily Mail calls her a small town "gal" that has captured the imagination of the American public and has dominated the national conversation.

They point out when they were in Washington, how whether they were at hockey rinks, hair dressers, restaurants or bars, everyone was talking about Sarah Palin, whether they loved her or hated her, she was dominating the conversation.

Each publication had its own take on what she represents. Here was 'Serious Sarah', carrying the hopes of a nation on her shoulders; here was 'Mom Sarah', carrying her Down's syndrome baby Trig on her arm; here was 'Salacious Sarah', dogged by the scandal of her unmarried daughter's pregnancy and claims that two of her teenagers have taken drugs.

These are the complex contradictions that Palin projects - the power-dressed working mum who is pro-life, pro-family, pro-women and, above all, pro-traditional Americans.

Even her mishaps have become her strengths. The moment she arrived on the national scene, she admitted: 'I'm not perfect, my family's not perfect.' And, boy, was she right.

The article points out that no much how much mud the "Democrats" throw at Palin, none seems to stick as the personal attacks actually end up working in her favor.

In Palin they see optimism; in Obama cynicism. In Palin they see pride in her country; in Obama an element of shame.

They also quote an analyst stating, "When most politicians talk of tackling corruption or inefficiency in their own party, it is usually just that - all talk. She's full frontal, she takes no prisoners and has made enemies as a result." They go on to say when she says she will take on the "good ole boy network" she means it because she has done it in her own state of Alaska.

The article continues to attempt to explain what has been called the "Palin phenomenon," but their bottom line is they see a comparison between her rise to popularity and taking over the political conversation, and the way Princess Diana captured the imagination and hearts of people across the world.

There is much more to the Daily Mail article, which should be read in full, but there basic premise as implied in their title is guaranteed to have some disagree with it and wave it away while others sit back and think of everything that Princess Diana stood for and think about the comparisons and ask themselves if they are valid.

Either way, some American's may find the view from across the pond to be interesting while others will surely decry they know not what they speak of.

What cannot be argued is that it is not only Americans trying to determine what to make of Sarah Palin, but those around the world are also curious and making their own determinations.


Personally, I find the comparison kind of weird, we do not have royalty here in America and I do not see Palin and some sort of Princess.

With that said, I can see how her speaking as one of the people, does compare to how Princess Diana presented herself.

I just find it quite interesting to see how other countries are looking at palin and making these determinations for themselves.