Friday, 5 September 2008

How do they do that?

What is it about right-wing politicians that they can get away with the sort of things for which left-wingers would be crucified? When Michael Foot turned up for a Remembrance Day parade in a (as it happens very expensive) horsehair coat, he was pilloried in the press for wearing a supposedly scruffy ‘duffle coat’. But Boris Johnson can slouch around at the Olympics handover ceremony with his hands in his pockets, his tie skew-whiff and his suit looking like a mix-and-match from an Oxfam rack and no one (except Ken Livingstone, citing his late mum) gives a damn.

More importantly, the likes of Ronald Reagan and George W can turn idiocy into a presidential requisite, as long as it’s delivered with faux folksy charm. And now the Republicans’ vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has somehow managed to turn the fact that she was once the mayor of Tinytown, Alaska, into a plus rather than a possible indicator of lack of experience when it comes to running the world’s only superpower.

This is a clever trick to pull. You’re part of the ruling elite (albeit in Palin’s case, not quite so elite as Reagan the Hollywood actor or Bush the heir to an oil fortune) but you come across as an Ordinary Joe/anna. You even manage to accuse the media of being sexist, never previously a word heard to come from Republican lips, when those few bits of it that aren’t on your side wonder whether you’re up to the job. And despite being leaders of a party that doesn’t even believe in the availability of universal health care for those who need it, you manage to persuade a big chunk of ‘ordinary, hard-working America’ that you’re the best people to look after their interests because you ‘believe in gun rights and the bible, and are against abortion and gay marriage’, as one member of the Texas delegation put it at the Republican convention this week.

How do they do that?


Animals Asia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiona Osler said...

'You even manage to accuse the media of being sexist, never previously a word heard to come from Republican lips, when those few bits of it that aren’t on your side wonder whether you’re up to the job.

I think a lot of the coverage is sexist. And it's not just coming from the liberal/left media. There are a number of very good reasons why she isn't up to job but, giving an examples, both the The Times and CNN have queried how she could be vice president and take care of a baby with Down’s syndrome. Gordon Brown and David Cameron both have children with disability and this has never been flung at them.

Or how's this not sexist, from the Huffington Post:

'Take a look back at the woman who failed to become Miss Alaska, but, if elected, would be only a heartbeat away from becoming President of the United States of America.'

Huffington Post again
'Smoking hot. Sweet Lord, babe in a biscuit hot'

Never mind ...
'Who is Sarah Palin? Few outside Anchorage know. But we uncovered one interesting fact - she came in second in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant!'

'Yukon Barbie - McCain's VP Pick' from Salon.

I could list numerous more examples.



Steve Platt said...

I don't deny the sexism. My point is that it's never a word that's been known to come from Republican lips - until now. And compared to the really vicious misogynist stuff directed at Hillary Clinton from the right, the examples you quote are just joshing.

tamanna kalhar said...

Smokin' hot. Sweet Lord, I'm just joshing baaabe! ;o)

Steve Platt said...

Paul Evans, of nevertrustahippy.blogspot fame, has pointed me in the direction of Snowflake5's blog on the subject of Sarah Palin:

It's aspiration (Obama) versus reality (Palin), according to Snowflake:

'Which will win? Aspiration or Reality? Americans like to relate to their presidents, which is why Dubya, of the bluest American blood (way bluer than the Kennedys) adopted a Texan accent and style and played to certain stereotypes (how much was real and how much was calculation by a shrewd politician is up for debate). Bill Clinton was of course aspiration and reality all rolled into the one complex person (someone from real Arkansas hillbilly stock, as a child he witnessed his stepfather fire a gun at his mother, but he got himself to Oxford) ...

'Those of us in the aspiration wing of politics find Palin a little too ruthless and red-meat for our tastes. Women struggling to be a good mother and good daughter and good careerist at the same time will blanch at the way Palin tossed her daughter Bristol to the wolves by making an announcement about her pregnancy. Then again Bristol knew her mother was in the public eye and still got herself in trouble - no solidarity across generations from either of them.

'Aspiration rules in the UK. We don't know if Brits would elect a chav simply out of identification with them, because no party here would select such a person as a candidate so they wouldn't even make it to Parliament. Reality looks like Nightmare to us, so we steer well clear. In the USA it's different, and it's difficult to tell from this far away how this will play out. But it's bloody good entertainment all the same. No fiction could compare to the US 2008 presidential race.'

anne kilkenny on sarah palin said...

I think that one of the great things America and western democracies have contributed to the world is the ability to distinguish between disliking someone and disagreeing. We all need to work toward being able to agree to disagree. I like Sarah Palin. I disagree with her.

I wrote this letter to friends and family on August 31. It has since circulated throughout the Web.

Anonymous said...

I give Sarah Palin's daughter's marriage 4 years. No make that 4 and a bit to get past the 2012 election.