You should make Sarah Palin your mentor

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Is no one going to say that Sarah Palin rocked the vice presidential debate? Who is so arrogant to think that they could do better with just five weeks’ preparation?

She did a great job. She memorized speeches that she trotted out in good moments. And she had such nerve! Most of us would be too shy to flagrantly disregard the question, but she knew that was her job. She knew her job was to give set up answers and fit them in the best she could, and she did that. She delivered her lines very well. She played to the camera. She was friendly, and charming, and eloquent as long as you didn’t mind that she talked about whatever she wanted.

The thing is that most of politics is not about giving the right answer. It’s about giving any answer the right way. The world is not bashing Kennedy for beating Nixon in the classic debate where Nixon wore all the wrong stuff and the wrong makeup and could have said anything and he still would have lost. No. No one is complaining about Kennedy’s dependence on style in that debate. And we didn’t generally bash Reagan for being a great orator even though we thought he was probably losing his mind even before he got to office. He was still a great orator and could deliver his messages in a mesmerizing way.

So give Sarah some credit. She did a great job. Sure she’s probably not ready to move into the White House. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t do a great job. She can only do her best. And she did. And you have to respect someone who takes a huge risk and does a good job. Look, if you think she’s unqualified, don’t vote for McCain, because he’s the bozo who selected her. But since she’s there, learn something from her. Take advantage of a fun, capable woman who is rising up to the occasion. She’s ignoring the taunts (even I have thrown some) and she has enough of a sense of self that she’s plowing forward.

But really, it’s hard to believe that she will be on the winning ticket. It’s hard to believe that anyone could choose McCain after he has shown such poor judgment. But Palin will land on her feet. She’ll get some TV commentator job, or some interior secretary job, and she’ll learn the ropes, and she’ll succeed.

If you are wondering why your own career is stalled, consider that it’s because you don’t have mentors like her. She is scrappy and she knows how to manage her image. It’s not small peanuts, and it’s hard to find a woman who is as good at it as she is and public about how she’s doing it. Take advantage of the learning opportunity.

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  1. Robert Avsec
    Robert Avsec says:

    Very insightful analysis, one that the mainstream media does not engage in. I think you are at your best when you “tackle” these kinds of topics and issues in a way that others do not.

    • David Rotter
      David Rotter says:

      Anything Sara Palin is a gimmick, a failed attempt by out dated ideas to try and bamboozle voters into electing anyone but the black guy. Just like the idiots in Virginia who advertised “Republicans vote November 4 all others November 5” This is the Palin way.

  2. Le
    Le says:

    I agree with Robert – this is vintage Ms P at her best … and how do you manage your public image Penelope … this blog is part of it I imagine .. cheers le

  3. Ray Saunders
    Ray Saunders says:

    I have enjoyed following this blog and delving through the archives, but I’m afraid I have to take exception to today’s posting.

    “Who is so arrogant to think that they could do better with just five weeks’ preparation?”

    I and many people I know could do better. In fact, if all she learned in five weeks is what she presented in public, she is a slow learner, besides starting out pretty ignorant. I can excuse (regrettfully) such ignorance in a guy flipping burgers, but not in a public official, certainly not at her level.

    “She delivered her lines very well. She played to the camera. She was friendly, and charming, and eloquent as long as you didn’t mind that she talked about whatever she wanted.”

    Well, I did mind. If I ask you a question on behalf of the public and your response is to babble about something entirely unconnected, then you are arrogant in assuming you are above being questioned. An rude to boot, for assuming my question didn’t deserve an answer.

    “The thing is that most of politics is not about giving the right answer. It’s about giving any answer the right way.”

    Style is indeed important, but only because many people do not look/see beyond it. What this says is that politicians are manipulators and the public is naive and unperceptive. That’s probably true to some extent, but it does not make that sort of behavior admirable.

    “Sure she’s probably not ready to move into the White House”

    Understatement of the year!”

    “It’s hard to believe that anyone could choose McCain after he has shown such poor judgment.”

    She didn’t choose McCain – his handlers chose her and she jumped at the chance for advancement. She is ambitious, but ambition without integrity is dangerous and I see arrogance rather than integrity in Sarah Palin. Sometimes there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, and Palin is way over the line.

    “She is scrappy and she knows how to manage her image.”

    You are right on this to some extent, but I suspect the image-management that succeeded in Alaska may not be as successful when subjected to more intensive national scrutiny. Time will tell.

    “Take advantage of the learning opportunity.”

    I shudder to think what young women would learn from Sarah Palin. She is not a suitable mentor. She is an excellent bad example.

    Your admiration for her behavior is rather like admiring the Nazis for their efficiency in carrying out the Final Solution.

    • maylo
      maylo says:

      This is ridiculously after the fact, but I am so shocked by Penelope’s take on Sarah Palin that I couldn’t help but read the comments. I found that Ray Saunders’s comment saved me the trouble of commenting. All I have to say is….EXACTLY, perfectly stated. Thank you.

  4. Brady Wood
    Brady Wood says:

    New reader and I have enjoyed the in your face attitude. I agree with you fully concerning Palin. She is doing a great job, deserves respect. I am happy to have a woman in this sort of role.

    However, we are talking about a position that demands the most qualified persons.

    When a team loses the super bowl, they don’t go home a winner, but a loser. You don’t get anything for losing.

    I am just wondering, is she the best we have to fill that role?

  5. Katybeth
    Katybeth says:

    “if you think she’s unqualified, don’t vote for McCain…” The focus needs to stay on qualifications. Plain and simple. And doggone it,
    let’s hope that if Obama becomes president that he faces his learning curve with the same strong mentors,and is as fast a learner as Palin has been. Of-course, he won’t need help “dressing up” after all he is from the big city of Chicago. Is this post sincere? I would like it to be- but I keep hearing the whisper between the lines…. you can not make a silk purse from a sow’s ear…”


  6. Ask a Manager
    Ask a Manager says:

    Oh come on, she acted like a cocktail waitress, with the winks and the flirtiness. I wouldn’t hire someone who behaved like that in an interview, and definitely not one who announced she wouldn’t be answering the questions I asked. This woman is doing terrible things for professional women.

  7. Glad Doggett
    Glad Doggett says:

    A good job? Any actress could do the same “good job.” She reminds me of the plucky character in Legally Blonde. Fun to watch, but WAY out of her league.

    I find her mannerisms and obnoxious “down home style” over the top. She’s Cotton Candy – sweet, fluffy, but no substance. Too much of it rots your teeth and makes you sick.

    What I’m afraid of is that people will vote for her (err … I mean … McCain … we still vote for President in this country? Right?)not because she is qualified, but because she “plays up to the camera and is friendly and charming.” Being “scrappy” and “in control of her image” are not the skills we need in the leader of our nation.

  8. Bob
    Bob says:

    Sorry to see that we can’t avoid political pontificating even in a career management blog. Maybe I’ll add you back to my RSS reader after the election.

  9. PunditMom
    PunditMom says:

    Sorry, Penelope, got to disagree with you on this one. Palin did NOT do a great job. She did a lousy job, even at trying to do the things you say she was supposed to do. She couldn’t even speak in complete sentences, constantly winked at the camera in her girly way, invoked the name of Biden’s dead first wife in an attempt to make herself look warm and fuzzy … need I go on?

    And there are plenty of people who could have done way better with five weeks to prepare … dare I say I could have, you could have and your other commenters could have.

    What will be left of her image after November 4 if she loses? Nothing. She had the chance to be the next star of the GOP and she has done nothing by make a laughing stock out of herself. Even if it means my career would tank, I would never model myself after her or anyone like her.

  10. MJ
    MJ says:

    I absolutely agree that delivery and confidence counts for a lot. In my field, especially with two former coworkers who stand in my mind of examples of What Not To DO, we have the problem of technical ability and NO delivery. I’m starting to agree that a polished, confident but glib delivery goes over better with an audience (even an astute one) than 30 minutes of “um, um, well uh, um, this is actually a facet of formulary apportionment, which, um, you know, um is part of the Constitutionality, um, of interstate taxation, you know.” I just sat in a professional meeting where one task force head gave an update on his group – FIVE MINUTES of “um, you know, uh, um, you know.” Guy knows more than I probably ever will on the technical details, but no one has patience for the “Um Report” any longer.

  11. Paul
    Paul says:

    Palin pulled off what has become the classic conservative move: disguise your hatred for anyone not as white/christian/conservative as you with a charming smile and vapid non-responsive answers that duck any tough question.

    If the same people who voted TWICE for George Bush haven’t LEARNED anything from that, if those same people vote for the McCain/Palin ticket… well, then our country gets what it deserves.

  12. Heather
    Heather says:

    You didn’t lose this reader with this post. I agree completely. I’m not planning on voting for McCain/Palin, but I have to admit she came off very well in the debate. Although I like Biden’s message better, which is why I’ll be voting that way. But I give props to Palin for being so scrappy – a term that’s used for me often. We need to celebrate us scrappy women often!

  13. GenerationXpert
    GenerationXpert says:

    I don’t think I agree with you on this one. I think she came across like Margie from the film Fargo (but not quite as smart.) When she did say something relatively smart I just wanted to yell, “Ya Maar-Gee” (actually I did Tweet that quite a few times during the debate).

    I also think that Biden could have taken her down a couple times, but he seemed like he was trying to be a gentleman. That bothered me, too, because if a guy was doing the whole “Joe Six Pack” routine, Biden would have verbally slammed him into the podeum.

  14. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    Who kidnapped Penelope and submitted this post under her name?? This post doesn’t seem to have any purpose – just a rah rah rant for Palin, a great actress with little real substance. Come to think of it, this post seems to resemble her speaking style – meandering and pointless. I would have expected better.

  15. Anna
    Anna says:

    Sure, she formed (mostly) coherent sentences. I applaud her for that. But I don’t think that’s such an amazing accomplishment that we should all now fall to the ground and praise her talents. A high school debater could and would have done a better job.

    It still remains–I’m not buying what she’s selling. And I think (though I don’t have the data to back it up) most undecided voters didn’t buy it either.

  16. david rees
    david rees says:

    ok, in the few minutes from opening my favorite pages to getting to the comments, the number of comments goes from 1 to 12 and I bet its around 20 by the time I finish and submit.

    Look, I will be the first to concede that McCains chances are looking slim. The problem is really McCain – the right has never been excited about him and while Sarah has rallied the Republicans, she is still only the VP.

    That said, I commend you on the brilliance of this post. Several of my friends (why are all of my friends for Obama?) have tried to go with “she didn’t answer the questions!” or “she was not even debating Biden, she was just getting out her message! (the second point is how her message is all lies).

    My response is that she played it exactly right. The point of the debate is not the debate. Just like the point of a war is not really to shoot guns and kill people. She realized what her purpose was (1 – don’t look dumb, 2 – attack Obama) and she got it done.

    Some brief points:

    1. I am from Wasilla. (I never knew Sara Palin) So I get the whole moose killing, ANWR drilling thing.

    2. Nobody in Wasilla talks like Sarah Palin. I seriously don’t know where the hell that accent came from.

    3. I actually thought she did horribly in the debate: The “folksy” style REALLy turns me off and I thought she looked fairly inarticulate and not particularly deft in the format. (I was relieved to hear everyone else thought she did well)

    4. (Last point) I saw the softball interview on Foxnews where they asked her about the Katie Couric question about magazines and news papers. I know nobody else on here will believe me on this one, but her answer (“I read everything – the same as everyone else”) actually made perfect sense to anyone from Alaska. You would not believe the questions Alaskans get about living up there – do you live in an igloo, do they have roads, how do you mail things, do you have a pet polar bear, etc. Her frame in answering that question was defensive, but distinctly Alaskan – she did not take it as face value, but took it as “what sort of media actually makes its way up there?”.

    5. The cynical part of me can’t help but wonder if you are only able to be objective about Sarah Palin now that they are 7 points down :)

  17. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Wow. Such widespread disagreement with me. I get where you guys are coming from. She’s not my dream candidate or anything. But still, I want to take a shot at clarifying myself.

    The range of men who are in the spotlight and showing the underbelly of their career maneuverings is very wide. We have lots of biographies, and tabloids, and live role models in our own workdays of men like this. The number of women in positions like this is much smaller.

    But the best way to figure out who we want to be ourselves is to gather information about a wide range of possibilities for ourselves. I like watching Palin because she is full of possibilities that I haven’t seen in the spotlight before.

    For example, I am a casual public speaker, and it feels very natural to me. I get criticized sometimes for not being more formal, but most of the more formal speakers are men because most public speakers are men. I like seeing the informal speaking model reflected back to me. (Whether or not it’s good for the country.)

    Most people who have big career success are not public figures — we can’t see really what they are doing. I really appreciate that I am getting a glimpse at something different with her. It’s good for all women. On some level. I just wish we could see that — beyond the politics part of all of it.


  18. The Opinionator
    The Opinionator says:

    Wow, I lost track of the number of “nazi” references in the comments. That tells you more about the commenter than they care to admit.

    Sarah Palin, with six weeks on the national scene took on a sitting senator and two-time presidential candidate and pushed him back at times. She did not make the “Hezbollah out of Lebanon” and “Article 1” errors, he did and they are in his area of expertise.

    In any event, if the McCain/Palin ticket loses, Governor Palin will go back to Alaska and finish her term and likely be re-elected in a landslide as she is the most popular governor in America. In four years, the $40B pipeline deal she negotiated with Canada and the private sector will be under way and she will be well positioned to run for President if she chooses.

  19. david rees
    david rees says:

    Sorry Penelope, the vast majority of people with an ideological preference lack the ability to look objectively at the other side.

    Despite totally disagreeing with Obama-Biden, I actually liked Joe Biden in the debate and I thought his measured, controlled performance was *exactly* what it needed to be and I already aired my issues with Palin.

    Yet most people seem unable to view the “other side” as anything other than evil. They can’t just have a different world-view or a different ideology, no – the only way to discuss them is to cast them as dark, dangerous and evil.

    Framing the decision in terms of good and evil completely transforms the election from a job interview to a moral crusade. I see no signs of this changing.

  20. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    I thought the only thing she did well was ask Biden if she could call him Joe.

    From that moment on, I was struck by how patronizing she sounds–as if she thinks her audience is made up of children. Actually, it’s an annoying way to talk to children.

  21. Hockey Mom
    Hockey Mom says:

    I honestly don’t understand the venom that is spewed towards Sarah Palin by so called “liberated women”. I have no doubt that if she was running on the democratic ticket, she would be greeted with open arms.

  22. Paul
    Paul says:

    Uh, gun-loving, gay-marriage hating, environment destroying, fiscally unsound xenophobes are NOT welcome in MY version of the Democratic party, WHATEVER package they come in, even if she’s a GILF.

  23. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    Love the reference to Legally Blonde! Palin does remind me of Reese Witherspoon’s character, all fluff and little substance. And kudos to the guy from Wasilla for setting us straight on some of her Alaska-isms. It’s an interesting and valid perspective.

  24. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    @Hockey Mom, I find her manner irritating (at least on TV) and her politics abhorrent. Both would be true for me no matter what party she belonged to. Except that because of her political opinions, I can’t imagine that she would run on the democratic ticket.

    By the way, I’d also find that manner and those political opinions objectionable in a man, regardless of party.

  25. Dave
    Dave says:

    So many people assume that “good job” means that she fit what they expected or wanted. They missed your point. She gave a great performance. And just like “office politics” is something people like to think they are above…the “performance” is something people need to learn. It does not matter if you are smarter if no one cares to listen. She has taken great advantage of her opportunity and stayed in the spotlight. The only one doing better than her is Tina Fey.

    * * * * * *
    That Tina Fey comment cracks me up. She is the best part of the political season — by far.


  26. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Penelope, you say “it’s hard to find a woman who is as good at it as she is and public about how she’s doing it.”

    What about Hillary Clinton? I don’t recall you writing this many (or any) posts about Hillary Clinton and her performance during and after her campaign.

    The bottom line is that Sarah Palin was hand-picked by McCain like a daisy from the side of the road on his way to the White House. Her performance at the debate was a surprise because she appeared to be DOING her job. But that doesn’t mean it was a GREAT job.

    * * * * * *

    The what-about-Hilary-Clinton comment is an interesting one. I just wouldn’t want to be her. I’m sure she’s a genius, and a really hard worker. But she’s not fun to watch, she’s not inspiring to me. She seems very my-mom’s-generation to me. Like old news. Or like a great example of a great achiever for someone who is not in my shoes. I love that some Republican-image-maker decided that Sarah can wear her hair sort of like a school girl. Women with power can do that now. Women could not have done that a generation ago, I don’t think. It’s a million things like that that add up to the freshness I see in her.


  27. Darren
    Darren says:

    Great post! I’m not a fan of Palin’s politics and agree that she’s nowhere near prepared for the White House. It’s so refreshing though to see someone acknowledge the positive rather than take every possible shot to knock her down. Of course she’s not a role model for every aspect of life, but it takes courage and determination to be in her position. She’s no doubt concerned at this point about how every word that comes out of her mouth will be judged–I think that explains her hesitancy to give any answer sometimes. Many presidential debaters have done far worse–including some who won office. Credit to you for being mature and unbiased enough to recognize here accomplishments.

  28. LC
    LC says:

    Sarah Palin is a fascinating lesson in personal branding. Whether you agree with her politics or not, it’s clear that she’s very targeted with her message (or her handlers are), played to her strengths, and is delivering it effectively. The goal was to energize the base and she did that. The rest of us who don’t agree with her politics? We’re not her target audience. It’s niche marketing at its best.

    The other lesson I take from Sarah Palin’s candidacy is to just get in the game. From the PTA to mayor to governor to VP candidate, you have to admire the bio. She’s “only” 44 and has a long and successful political career ahead of her. Unfortunately, since my political views couldn’t be any further from hers.

  29. Alison
    Alison says:

    Thanks for writing this post–I said the same thing on an internet forum and received similar responses. I don’t agree with her politics. I think her lack of knowledge is reason enough to not give McCain a vote. (If I were American instead of Canadian.)
    However, as a 22-year-old female University student, I tremendously appreciate her attitude; I respect that she does the best she can with the resources she has. I haven’t yet learned how to conquer my insecurities in arenas where I don’t feel very competent, despite the fact that I’ve got a lot of useful skills at my disposal. Sarah used the skills she did have, and managed to keep her head above water. Examples such as Sarah Palin are appreciated.

    Alison (new reader)

  30. The Opinionator
    The Opinionator says:

    @ Paul, Sorry to see that Joe Biden has no place in your party (Biden said no on gay marriage, is a Clean Coal supporter after BO took him aside, and is the owner of two guns).

    If it makes you feel better, Palin vetoed a bill in Alaska that would have denied benefits to same-sex partners.

  31. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    She did okay. She sounded more sure of herself than she has done in recent interviews. She had that folksy charm going on. She said what she wanted to say. But I would not go so far as to say she “rocked the debate”. I’m not saying that I would do better with five weeks’ preparation – though I would argue that the VP needs more than five weeks’ preparation and that is, perhaps, the point. But really, she was not that convincing. Her job WAS to answer the questions or at least to engage with them in some way. I’m sure her performance would have played well with the base. I can’t imagine for a minute that it would have convinced any swing voters who are in fact looking for answers to hard questions.

  32. Jeff S
    Jeff S says:

    Penelope, I think you have it backwards.

    Sarah “rose to the occasion” with “5 weeks of prep” from the most elite minds & resources of modern day political stagecraft.

    If that inspires you – more power to ya.

    But the real “mentors”, in the true sense of the word, are the people, ideas and techniques that enabled Sarah to pull it off.

  33. Lisa H.
    Lisa H. says:

    Right out the door, we get a supposedly friendly, folksy, “Hi, can I call you Joe?” (to a US Senator!) then we find out it was a calculated set-up just so she could work in “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” (If Senator Biden had said something like “Sarah Plain and Not-So-Tall,” all hell would have broken loose.)

    Folksy my eye. Manipulative, calculating, power-abusing (Troopergate and other issues), hypocritical about government funding, and yet doesn’t even know the name of her own local newspapers. She’s fluff. Dangerous fluff. McCain could have picked any one of a number of women with substance. He picked her, and that makes him fluff, too. How dare he risk putting this country in the hands of someone so vapid.

    And oh, BTW, Penelope, this post isn’t showing up on your front page. I only found it thru RSS.

  34. Dara
    Dara says:


    For a guy so concerned with the conservative party’s stereotypical behavior (“hatred for anyone not white/christian/conservative” as us). You sure do a lot of name calling.

    I’m voting for McCain/Palin, but I thought Biden did a pretty good job of staying calm, cool and collected…even evoking emotion at one point.

  35. Maya
    Maya says:

    I have not read the comments so far but I think we *think* she did really well only because of the incredibly low expectations she had set up for herself so far. Yes, she way a million times better than she was with Katie Couric.

    Okay, we will give her some credit and learn from her because she did an incredibly good job of dodging questions and fitting what she knew in the right places. But I hope most of America could see through some of this ;) ( yes, and I did learn the wink from Sarah Palin!)

  36. Sara
    Sara says:

    So, she was able to wing a difficult “speech” (because let’s face it, that was hardly a debate) and memorize stuff, and she’s cute and doesn’t have a stalled career. Does that really a vice president make? And are we really supporting someone for office just because we like them and they *didn’t* fail?
    I’m sorry to see such low standards apply to such an important race. We really need to expect more of our potential leaders, folks.

  37. funkright
    funkright says:

    I am sorry to use this language, but this statement by Ray Saunders “Your admiration for her behavior is rather like admiring the Nazis for their efficiency in carrying out the Final Solution..” is fucking ridiculous, to say the least. You were mildly intelligent in your posting Ray Saunders, but the ending really burnt any good ideological bridges you had built along the way..

  38. Stretch Mark Mama
    Stretch Mark Mama says:

    I think for as much as Palin has been ripped to shreds (think: Katie Couric) by the mainstream media, you have to give her props for standing up on two feet at the debate.

    Regardless of what I feel about SP, the obvious bias and hatred against her is what makes me want to cheer her on even more. I consider myself a strong public speaker but if I was in her (red) shoes, I would have crumbled by now.

    Grit, the woman has grit.

  39. Juki Schor
    Juki Schor says:

    @Ray, I liked that one: Your admiration for her behaviour is rather like admiring the Nazis for their efficiency in carrying out the Final Solution.

    I guess you forgot performance. It is important in politics that your performance is convincing, especially if what you plan to do is from a human perspective may be not exactly correct. But I heard she is only interested in shooting wolves from helicopters, not so bad after all.

    “But the best way to figure out who we want to be ourselves is to gather information about a wide range of possibilities for ourselves.”

    Interesting in so far as I thought that we start looking for “who we want to be” in ourselves. And if nothing pops up there, it might help to set a few quality standards before browsing the country of “unlimited possibilities”, who knows what we end up with, only because it is “different” from what we knew so far.

    And I would be interested to understand this:
    “Wow, I lost track of the number of “nazi” references in the comments. That tells you more about the commenter than they care to admit” from the Opinionator. I mean, what does it tell you?

    And of course I am still interested to understand what American politics is about, so I appreciate the comments a lot. The more provocative the post, the more comments, the more I learn. Great system :-)

  40. Benjamin Strong
    Benjamin Strong says:

    I grew up in Wisconsin and Michigan so I feel qualified to talk about her “folksiness”. Her style is not fake! Go to any supper club, diner, American Legion Hall, grocery store or church in the midwest or small town America and you will find friendly, confident, outgoing people who are not afraid to talk your ear off. Her politics may leave a bad taste in your mouth but when she winks at the third grade class and asks if she can call Joe, Joe she is just being friendly. Let’s focus on the bigger issues.

    Besides having her as a mentor we should take a lesson from her in old fasioned manners.

  41. Chris Young
    Chris Young says:

    I have to agree – Sarah Palin rocked…

    But… How do you know she memorized anything? Come on…

    Sarah Palin is the “real deal”.

    Regarding the “was probably losing his mind” comment about President Reagan… That is a new low for you, Penelope.


  42. Jeremiah
    Jeremiah says:

    sarah is beautiful. she stands tall and holds to her beliefs. she is a woman but not a victim which might be why liberals have a tough time with her. hillary gets trampled and embarrassed by her husband and a grossly under qualified candidate so she is acceptable.

    gov palin is not a product of affirmative action. she is a woman of achievement and respect. we should celebrate her success.

  43. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Penelope, a response to your response:

    Reading your comment, I see now that you think of yourself as the “fun, capable woman who is rising up to the occasion.” Who’s “ignoring the taunts and she has enough of a sense of self that she’s plowing forward.”

    And that’s makes perfect sense. She’s around your age, she’s good looking and you think she’s being underestimated because of her age and the way she looks. No doubt, if you were given the same opportunity you’d also grab it by the horns and try your best too. And you’d want others to acknowledge your efforts.

    But for all the “freshness” you see in her, Gen Y women are probably looking at her and seeing that she’s very clearly playing the gender card for all it’s worth. I know I am. She’s playing cute and winking at the camera which really makes me cringe. Maybe her image, her speech and her mannerisms appear “fresh” to the older generations, but to the younger generations, she sounds and looks sort of old fashioned.

    Seriously, a beehive hairstyle?

  44. paloma cruz
    paloma cruz says:

    I’m not going to address the politics of either side. I don’t have to agree with (or respect) what Palin said to acknowledge that she did a better job in the speech than I anticipated. Being in the business of writing speeches and delivering messages, I was struck by the fact that she did seem to speak to her audience well. Her delivery was good and she held her own, even if she didn’t always answer the question asked.

  45. Brian Johnson
    Brian Johnson says:

    I agree with the basic premise of the post and although I think she’s a complete joke of a candidate for U.S. V.P., I admit to being impressed by her performance. Although everyone admits she benefitted from bottom-of-the-barrel expectations, and I’m sure that was at least your subconscious as well.

    But the more important point is what does performing well in a prepared debate have to do with be qualified to think on your feet, inspire millions of people, and make difficult decisions that alter people’s lives in fundamental ways? The skills required for her impressive debate performance are largely irrelevant to what I’d consider to be the important competencies for running our government.

    The connection of this topic to the business world is the difference between choosing between the job candidate that interviews the best and the one that is actually the best for the job. If you don’t hire the 2nd one more often than the first, eventually it will catch up to you.

    Finally, someone please explain to me why our leaders should be someone we can sit down and have a beer with? Why can’t they be someone smarter and with more vision than me? Why can’t they be someone I aspire to be more like? I have plenty of people that I can go to happy hour with. What I need is damn leader that can make intelligent long-range decisions and respond to crises with tranquility, action, and forethought.

  46. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I read a blog post where a woman said she closed her eyes and just listened to the debate so she missed all the winking and smiling and so on.

    She said Biden was clear and logical and Palin was the complete opposite. Everything I’ve heard from her is mostly “word salad” –what brain damaged people produce when their language center is impaired–just a collection of words without grammatical structure or logic or coherence.

    Yes, she is shiny and pretty and it is well documented that people only hear about 7% of what you say and go by how you look/act/project for the rest of it. So by that standard, she will win every time.

    The tragedy is that we need a government of people who can actually string a complete sentence together under stress.

  47. Jeff Payne
    Jeff Payne says:

    What’s equally disturbing is the lack of experience of Barack Obama. Really what has he accomplished? Look at his track record, it’s dismal at best. Go all the way back to when he ran for Senate. Tell me he was more eloquent and had more style and more substance than his opponent Alan Keyes. Not! So the mantra is that America wants change? I can agree but the change Barack is about is not the right kind of change unless you’re an advocate for higher taxes, funding every spending program you can, redistributing income and enlarging government! That’s change? That’s socialism! What are people thinking? So when you question Sarah Palin’s experience versus Barack Obama and it concerns you, give me a break. The reality is we live in a highly irrational world. The vast majority of people just don’t think. How about some real change? Why don’t we reward the risk taker who starts his or her own business rather than take more from them when they succeed and give it to those the government deems more appropriate. Higher taxes, income redistribution, more funding for every social program the government can think of, less incentives to business owners, fewer tax incentives for those who actually work — if that’s appealing vote for Barack Obama. It’s a vote towards socialism.

  48. Juki Schor
    Juki Schor says:

    @Penelope: The what-about-Hilary-Clinton comment is an interesting one. I just wouldn’t want to be her. I’m sure she’s a genius, and a really hard worker. But she’s not fun to watch, she’s not inspiring to me. She seems very my-mom’s-generation to me…Women with power can do that now. Women could not have done that a generation ago, I don’t think. It’s a million things like that that add up to the freshness I see in her.

    I must admit that this response to Kathy’s comment got me worried. After half a year in the white house the freshness will be pretty much gone, and then what? Are you seriously saying that your president and VP’s job is to inspire you, give a fun show and help you overcome inner limitations like “a woman with power can (not) wear her hair sort of like a school girl”?
    What if it turns out that Palin can wear her hair like that because she still is a school girl? Great perspective. I wouldn’t want to be Tarja Halonen (Finnish President) or Angela Merkel (German Chancellor), but I wouldn’t want to exchange them for a school girl, no matter how fresh she looks.
    May be it would be good to have some relevant criteria for the public on how to recognise what makes a “good” politician, seems to me that things have gotten confused a little bit.

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