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Sarah Palin Headshot

A conservative U.S. politician from Alaska.

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Who Did We Talk About Before Sarah Palin?

  • Nov 17, 2009
  • by
This is the first time I've reviewed an actual politician.  It's hard to be "unbiased" in this sense, but Sarah Palin is an interesting woman.  When Palin is on television... or when she speaks... people listen.  I listen.  Politics is not one of my strong suits, but I paid an enormous amount of time to the past election and I tend to watch a lot of the news and read a lot of things.  Blogs, comments... youtube comments (which will turn you into a retard) etc. 

Sarah Palin is a pretty savvy woman.  This much we can say right off the bat.  When she first appeared on the national stage at the Republican National Convention most of us had never even heard of Sarah Palin before.  And when she first appeared she gave (love it or not) a breathtaking speech.  Very few politician's got onto the national stage with such fury and furor as Sarah Palin.  It was almost like the first time we saw Barack Obama, who gave a mesmerizing speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.  Sarah Palin, just the same, has a unique look and feel to her.  People can definitely relate to her.  Much like George W. Bush you sort of feel like you can just sit down and have a beer with her. 

At her core she's probably a traditonalist.  Many of her conservative values are very old fashioned.  It wasn't until she was put on the national stage that she began to get so radical.  Before running for Vice President she had the highest approval rating of any Governor in the United States.  However, once she jumped on McCain's Straight Talk Express she became a very different from the woman most of us probably read about.  And she was, indeed, a very curious figure.  Very few modern day conservatives can move the conservative base like she can.  But more than that, she was a new face on a national level.  Unless you lived in Alaska, chances are you didn't know who Sarah Palin was.  When McCain picked her as a running mate you were probably thinking, "Who?"  And what a way to be introduced on the national stage!  As a vice presidential candidate. 

As a result of this, everyone wanted to know Palin.  Who was this mysterious woman from Alaska?  This Hockey Mom who had core family values?  Was she likable?  Sure.  Was she pretty?  Perhaps (I just don't have strong physical attractions to people I see on TV, though).  She has, in a word, personality.

Yet with that introduction to the national stage comes someone who people will pick and prod at.  Indeed.  Even I'll admit that Joe Biden makes a good joke.  But a lot of the so-called scrutiny that Palin receives, she brought on herself in many ways.  Despite giving a brilliant speech at the RNC that had Democrats shaking and wondering if McCain would actually win the Presidency, those fears were quickly put to rest when we realized that while Palin was this All-American woman we'd all love to have a beer with people began to question just what exactly her qualifications as Vice President would be.  Much of this was apparent when she began giving individual interviews.  When asked about the Bush Doctrine she appeared not to know what it was.  "So what?" most people might say, "I don't know what the Bush Doctrine is either!"  Well, that's good when you're not running for Vice President.  While most can forgive Palin for such a thing, it did start to slow down momentum.  Then, of course, there was that Foreign Policy experience in which Palin responded with her experience being that she could see Alaska from her house.  Fox and Friends went on to say that Alaska being right next to Russia gives her excellent Foreign Policy experience.  Well, no, not really.  That just means you can see that country from your house. 

Perhaps the biggest hit to Palin was the Katie Couric interview during the campaign where she couldn't give Couric specific examples of McCain being for deregulation or really dig into her foreign policy.  People also like to talk about the idea that she couldn't name specific news sources. 

It was after this that Palin became famous for doing something else: Blaming the media for everything.  In 1995 Bill Kristol once said that the media isn't as biased and liberal and that it is often a fallback excuse Conservatives rely on for Conservative failures.  Sarah Palin is actually a pretty good example of this.  She often berates the media for what she says... and then continues to talk to Newspapers and do Television interviews.  It's something I don't quite understand.  If the media is so mean spirited toward her... why does she continue to talk to them?  There's a funny saying that goes something like: "The definition of stupidity (or insanity, depending on which one you read) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  Well, Palin keeps complaining about how the media misrepresents her and then suddenly decides she wants to use the media to set the record straight?  But beyond that, when a clip of you actually saying what you said appears, it's a little hard to blame the media for actually saying whatever it is you said.  Perhaps it's best just to not get caught saying it.

Admittedly, after the campaign this became a bit worse.  Suddenly everything Palin said or did was somehow the fault of the media.  In a way, Palin rarely took responsibilty for anything she said or did.  Palin didn't even try the same old tired excuses.  "I was taken out of context..." or "I mispoke" or anything like that.  It was always just, "That evil evil media made that up... now excuse me while I go talk to the media to set the record straight... Okay, I DID say that... but they made it up!"  

Despite the election being over, it seems as though Palin is a stronger presence after than she was during.  And she continues to move the Conservative base like never before... and divide them at the same time.  She has a lot of traditional core Conservative values which a lot of people really like.  Plus, she still manages to maintain that sort of All-American Girl thing that so many love.  She really IS relatable to most Americans.  Unfortunately, that's part of the problem.  What about the Americans that don't relate to her?  One of the things that's always amusing about politics is this sort of, "I want someone who embodies America!"  Well, America is also a melting pot of several different people and personalities.  Some people want a beer, some want wine... and others want to just sit back and drink Pepsi.  Some people like hunting and some people don't.  Sarah Palin is American Girl, but it isn't because she goes hunting or has these family values or anything.  It's because she's a citizen of the United States.  The "All American Girl" stereotype that Palin fulfills for some people is an America that exist in some places but not others.  We could go on all day about what makes an American, but the truth is simple: No single person can embody everything (or even half) of what America is.  She energizes the Conservative base, sure, but that doesn't mean she has no Conservative opponents.  Once she hit the National Stage... some Conservatives didn't want to support McCain.

What is more amusing about Palin as a whole isn't that she continues to move the conservative base (and turn other conservatives away) it is actually more so the damage she has done to herself since after the election.  There was quite a bit of damage during the election, but it wasn't so bad that it turned Conservatives away.  However, after the election there were certain things that made us sort of turn our heads to Palin in a way unlike any other.  There was, of course, blaming the media.  Then there was that famous David Letterman incident.  In spite of David apologizing, Palin went a little overboard in dragging out a fight for political gain and not making many political statements.  And what statements she did make she never really embodied or emphasized.  She made a pretty bold statement about why girls have little self esteem but did she decide to advocate for those little girls or something?  No.  It was a comment that eventually fell on deaf ears.  But then she went a little too far in portraying David Letterman as some kind of sexual predator who was a threat to all girls under the age of eighteen.  Even Conservatives were put off by it after a while.

Of course, it doesn't stop there.  Just recently she resigned as Governor without actually finishing her term.  Her reasoning being that she's a fighter, mostly, but is she really a fighter or is she simply stepping down for other reasons?  Wouldn't a fighter stay and... fight?  Tough it out?  We could throw out what most Democrats are thinking: "If she quit as Governor of Alaska she might decide to quit in the middle of a presidency," but that seems like a political cheapshot.  What I'm more concerned about is why it's so sudden.  Most Governor's stick around and finish their terms... even in a lame duck session or with low approval ratings (and I don't think Palin's approval ratings are actually low, she's no longer the highest ranked Governor in the nation but most of Alaska is on her side).  She's an unpredictable force, but her statements and actions leave a lot to be desired.  Is this really someone the Conservatives want as a leading voice in the party?  She moves the base, but what about Moderates or Conservative Democrats... many of whom are starting to jump off the Palin Bandwagon?  She was an interesting face when she was first introduced onto the national stage, but the more she stays the less interesting she becomes.  She's kept in the spotlight for her nearly infinite popularity, but that popularity seems to come for very different reasons.  It's not about her looks or anything: It's about being able to move the Conservative Base.  And she can.  But the big question is... do the Republicans really want to gravitate to someone like Palin to lead their party?  She holds onto traditional values but as the Nation changes (and I'm not just talking about Barack Obama) the Republicans can't afford to stay in the past.  Most of us can agree that perhaps the reason McCain got her for Vice President was entirely political and hardly based on her own merits.  But the reason she stays is because people like her.

Is Sarah Palin dumb?  I don't think so.  When it came to the past election it must've been a surprise to Palin herself that she was selected as McCain's running mate.  Alaska is what she knows.  I can forgive her not knowing a whole lot on a Natioinal level.  She didn't exactly have to.  And it isn't as though she was expected to know such things right off the bat.  Of course, now she blames McCain for quite a few things.  Palin didn't lose McCain the election, but she certainly did hamper due to a couple of bad interviews.  But no, Sarah Palin isn't dumb.  There are certain things she doesn't know, but she certainly isn't dumb.  As I said before, however, when it comes to being a heartbeat away from the Presidency... I do want someone who knows a bit more on a National Scale.  That's not to go against Palin.  I rather like her (and no, I don't think she's hot) but not as a Politician, more so as a person.

On the other hand, while she seems very sure of her beliefs and whatnot, since getting onto the National Stage she seems to have really become entangled in the game of politics rather than actually doing what might be best for America.  She's now a Conservative celebrity.  And why not?  She is relatable.  Sort of.  In the sense of personality she is, but let's be honest... Sarah Palin isn't exactly your average middle class American.  There's something strange about saying Hollywood celebrities can't relate to "Normal Americans" (whatever THAT means) but we can say Sarah Palin can... despite that Sarah Palin doesn't really have to worry about losing her home or anything like that.  Palin has achieved a status that most people in Middle America could never achieve.  I find it odd, then, that she's seen as a symbol for Middle America when it's quite clear Palin doesn't have to worry about many of the same things Middle America doesn't have to worry about. 

I'll be honest.  When I vote I hardly care whether or not someone is "relatable" to me.  Let's be honest... I don't know Sarah Palin.  I can't really "relate" to someone I don't know.  I can relate to my friends because we know one another... we've had years to get to know one another.  I've only had the pleasure of seeing Sarah Palin on television, reading about her in magazines etc.  I'm just as skeptical of the media as anyone (for different reasons) but if truth be told, before hitting the National Stage I have to wonder about who Sarah Palin was.  Before the Natioinal Stage no one ever heard a peep out of Sarah Palin.  So in all honesty... did Palin build the Conservative base or did the Conservative base build Palin?  The statements she says now are statements which we'd have never heard before she hit the National Stage.  Sarah Palin IS an interesting woman, but the question now becomes if we're actually getting to know her, or if she's really just playing politics.  I admire Palin, sure, but she has now become a celebrity that makes statements that seem to be more based on playing Politics than anything else.  And this comes from being on the National Stage.  When you're drawing the attention of the media and getting yourself out there... you tend to want to keep doing it.... and for some that means putting on a show.  I have no idea if that's what Palin is doing or not.  All I DO know is that I don't know Sarah Palin outside of what we see on television.  And without that personal touch it just seems unrealistic to me that I could say I relate to her.  So many do, but the question is really WHY do they relate?  

She HAS become a celebrity, though.  The reason she attracts so many people, however, has little to do with who she is and more to do with the fact that she's still a relatively new face that people want to know more about.  She has charisma and at the moment is still fascinating.  Again, however, it's strange that she has become such a Conservative Celebrity.  It seems strange that Obama was often criticized for his so-called "Celebrity" status when Sarah Palin reaps oodles of praise.  Moving the Conservative base is good.  Moving the Liberal base?  That seems to be akin to pleasing Satan.  There's something VERY odd about that and something VERY wrong with this "My team needs to WIN" mentality of politics.  I won't call it hypocrisy, I'll just call it Two-Faced Politics.

As for 2012?  We can't say how Palin will stack up for 2012. It is 2009 going on to 2010.  By 2012 Palin may have more knowledge than what she entered the 2008 race with.  Things change quite fast.  Especially in politics.  Remember, three years ago no one knew who Barack Obama was, and when he threw his hat in the ring for the Presidency there was still this, "Who IS that guy?" thing going.  Now look where he is.  Don't think the same can't happen for Sarah Palin.

We've talked a bit about Conservatives here, but let's talk about the Liberals and how they reacted to Palin for a second.  If only because I think there's an odd thing that people keep throwing around that seems backwards.  There's this idea that Liberals only criticize Palin because they see her as some kind of threat to them politically.  I find that an odd statement.  If that's the case then one could easily assume the Republicans are deftly afraid of Obama (no, not the kind of paranoid fear Glenn Beck expresses, I'm talking the same kind of fear people accuse Liberals of having of Sarah Palin).  It doesn't seem like that's the case.  Liberals seem to criticize Palin for the same reason that Conservatives criticize Obama... Politics.  It's about your team.  

On the other hand, the idea of "Liberal Bias," gets tossed around a bit too much.  For example, it wasn't exactly "Liberal Bias," to ask, "What qualifications does she have to be Vice President?" (the same was asked of Joe Biden too, but for some reason people are either ignoring it, or are just that much more fascinated with Palin).  That's not Liberal Bias.  That's a question that's often asked of people running for office.  No one screamed "Conservative Bias," when people asked whether or not Obama had enough experience (or "Liberal Bias" for that matter).  So I'm not quite sure why it's bias to ask about Palin's qualifications but totally unbiased to ask about Obama's.  We get it, they were two different things President and Vice President... but remember that Vice President is just a heartbeat away from the Presidency.  So most of the cries of "Liberal Bias," isn't really Liberal Bias.  They're actually questions to Sarah Palin that most people would actually be curious to ask.  Just because most Conservative news outlets didn't want to ask the question doesn't make the question itself Liberal Bias.  With how crazy people have gone with "Liberal Bias," it seems like Conservatives would claim that asking Sarah Palin what she had for lunch would be a bias question.  It's not.  

In the end, Sarah Palin is quite an extraordinary woman, but for some reason she's been turned into a symbol of the Conservative Party (not really so much Republicans... just Conservatives) which makes it seem as though we're getting to know her less rather than getting to know her more.  I'm curious about Sarah Palin. I admit I like her, but sometimes it seems as though she's being used as Political Puppet.  Is she running the Conservatives or are the Conservatives running her?

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March 04, 2010
You need to do an updated version of this now that we know so much more about her.
January 12, 2010
Great review, and fair take on Sarah Palin, Sean.  I'm sure you heard the news today though, about her inking a deal with Fox News, so it looks like she's probably not going to run for Presidency in 2012.  However, I think we're guaranteed that she and her family are going to be talked about tons over the next few years!
January 12, 2010
The more I look at Sarah Palin, the more it seems like she's becoming more of a political prop than anything else, and it's really sad, if that's the case.  Before she became this national figure she actually had a really good reputation.  Once the most well respected Governor in America and now she's playing a game that she's just not ready to play.  Alaska is what she knows, and that's great, but now she's discussing on a National Level when she hasn't attained all the knowledge.  I know that Palin is supposed to embody America, but she left the Middle Class a while ago.  I can't reconcile this, "Sarah Palin is just like me!" and be so upset with Hollywood Celebrities when she's been toted around as a Celebrity herself.

Fox News sounds apt for her, although I still think that's its part of the media building her up and not herself.  Along those lines there's also something strange about how the Media is so "Evil" because she can't stop talking to them... and then actually going to work for the media.  Which only makes me think more that she's become the creation of the media.  We're not seeing Sarah Palin as she really is, only seeing her as a public figure.  She was branded this Anti-Politician who doesn't play by Washington's rules... but that image seems destroyed because of how much stock primarily Republican (although so do Democrats for very different reasons) Senators and Congressmen put in her... but for all the wrong reasons.  What we see on the surface could potentially be an act or a status that was given to her and not necessarily achieved.
January 05, 2011
Ah, but she's not working for the Evil Media-she's working for Fox which is "fair and balanced" and represents all that is pure and noble in this world.
November 27, 2009
nice analysis, you made yourpoints very well while staying unbiased.
November 18, 2009
Before Sarah Palin we were talking about Anna Nicole Smith and what a nasty woman she was, but then she died and since tradition holds that one doesn't speak disrespectfully of the dead, we turned her into a martyr. I'm willing to bet that when Sarah Palin passes on, she will become marginally more intelligent. ; )
January 12, 2010
I've always loved Anna Nicole Smith, but point understood ;)
November 17, 2009
I totally agree with your assessment of Sarah Palin. As a fiscal conservative/social libertarian, I'm not sure if she is so much a symbol of conservatives because I can't really say that she symbolizes too much as to how I feel.
More Sarah Palin reviews
review by . February 09, 2011
posted in Politics Your Way
 As a longtime follower of politics, I am surprised by the power Sarah Palin has in the American political environment. She repeatedly demonstrates that she lacks the knowledge to run any major organization, for example she thought Africa was a country. She also lacks the courage and decency to complete her term as governor of Alaska, opting to resign and offering some of the lamest excuses ever put forward in American politics.    Her political star will fall quickly as the …
review by . January 19, 2011
I suppose the good news is that Palin is eminently forgettable. Folks will be quoting Ronald Reagan and William Buckley long after Palin is gone, but are very unlikely to find her much of an inspiration any more than Dan Quayle will be. Her name will be forgotten in the sands of time while the intellectual giants of American politics, whether conservative, liberal, libertarian, or otherwise will be remembered. Heck, most Tea Partiers I know don't like her. She is eminently unelectable and yet she …
review by . January 13, 2011
Calling Sarah Palin "divisive" seems like an abuse of the word, when you almost have to create a new word in the Urban Dictionary to describe her. Maybe to go "Palin" as a verb would be better:   Boss: "I went Palin on my staff and now none of them trust each other."   Supervisor: "Divide and conquer - those years of Latin must be paid off."   Boss: "Someone just set fire to the copier machine." The Problem With Palin© …
review by . August 28, 2010
posted in Politics Your Way
Country girl goes to the
It never ceases to amaze me to see how many undereducated people get a gig as a talking head on TV.  The shame of Sarah Palin's story is that she was done a political disservice by McCain.  I may not agree with all of her views; however, she was a rising star in the GOP and if she had been developed properly, she could have been a great leader and possibly very viable candidate for president someday.  Unfortunately, I believe that her reputation was severely damaged with her Kattie …
review by . November 17, 2009
A diamond in the rough??
She is a person who resonates with the folks in middle America who "cling to their guns and religion."   Her new book "Going Rogue: An American Life" has been a runaway bestseller for weeks much to the consternation of her political enemies.  At the same time Sarah Palin remains the primary target of the slings and arrows of the "chattering" class of liberal politicians,  those in electronic and print journalism, the Hollywood …
review by . November 22, 2009
There's a reason why McCain and Company kept her under wraps.
Sarah Palin is what's wrong with so called "middle America".  She is the face of intolerance, ignorance and lack of education.  Whenever she opens her mouth nothing but trouble emerges from it.  Palin should have never even been considered as a running mate for the Republican Party in 2008.  During the 2008 elections, the Grand Old Party was so desperate for votes that they nominated her in a desperation move to try and court the disappointed Hillary Clinton supporters.  …
Quick Tip by . September 02, 2010
posted in Politics Your Way
Sarah Palin is a dangerous, irresponsible religious fanatic. She was unfit for the mayor's office in Wasilla and certainly has no business either seeking or picking folks for higher offices.
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
A true beleiver which is fine. Not ready for prime time. She could have been a great conservative leader had she been developed properly. Now she has painted herself in a political corner as unprepared, ala Dan Quayle. I hope she sticks to making money, I could never vote for her as Pres.
Quick Tip by . April 11, 2010
posted in That's Beat
Anyone naive enough to compare nuclear retaliation with a schoolyard fight should be kept as far away from politics as possible. So stupid!
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
posted in That's Beat
Way to go Sarah Palin. Keep up the good work. It is about time a woman that is not afriad to be womanly survive in the man's world of politics.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this politician


Sarah Louise Palin; née Heath; born February 11, 1964) is an American politician who served as Governor of Alaska from 2006 until her resignation in 2009. She was the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States in 2008.

Palin was a member of the Wasilla, Alaska, city council from 1992 to 1996 and the city's mayor from 1996 to 2002. After an unsuccessful campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska in 2002, she chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 until her resignation in 2004. She was elected Governor of Alaska in November 2006. Palin became the first female governor of Alaska and the youngest person ever elected governor of that state.

In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose Palin as his running mate in that year's presidential election, making her the second female candidate and the first Alaskan candidate of either major party on a national ticket, as well as the first female vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Since the defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket in the 2008 election, there has been speculation that she may run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

On July 3, 2009, Palin announced she would not seek reelection as governor and that she was resigning, effective July 26, 2009, eighteen months prior to the completion of her first term. She cited ethics complaints that had been filed following her selection as running mate to John McCain as the reason for her ...
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Birth Date: February 11, 1964
Gender: Female
Party Affiliation: Republican
State: Alaska
Country: United States of America
Movie Writing Credits: The Undefeated
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