Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UK--Loathing or Loving Sarah Palin


articles printed in their entirety

Sarah Palin 'boycott': Is Sarah Palin past it?
By Alex Spillius, Washington 8:00AM GMT 25 Jan 2011

Sarah Palin’s critics have, by now, learned the lesson of writing her off. Many did so when she quit as governor of Alaska in July 2009 with a rambling speech that created the impression (not entirely misleadingly) that she couldn’t cope with the stress of the forensic media focus on her.

Look at her now: with two multi-million selling books, a lucrative Fox News commentary contract and a reality show about her family and Alaska, she is sensationally rich.

The undisputed favourite of the tea party movement, in 2010 she was unmatched as a kingmaker and conservative leader.

But her problem remains the same as it ever was.

She is sensationally popular but with critically small number of people. Despite the slavish media attention devoted to her, her fan base has not changed since she became an instant household name when Senator John McCain chose her as his running mate in 2008.

Her appeal lies with hardcore conservatives - but by no means all of them - who are passionate but who still do not form a critical mass of the Republican constituency.

The fact that she has 2.6 million Facebook followers and 387,000 followers on Twitter is beside the point. Those numbers illustrate her celebrity pull, not her political popularity.

Polls show that among voters, her negative ratings remain sky high. In a recent Politico poll she was viewed “very negatively” by 39 percent of respondents, and “very positively” by 14 per cent. For President Obama, the equivalent figures were 33 and 22.

For someone who has not served in the White House and is not even running for it again, that 39 percent is a damaging figure. It also matches numbers about the time of the 2008 election.

There has been immense heat and light and around Palin for two and a half years, but one thing remains clear, opinions about her haven’t changed that much.

Liberals loath her, and (some) conservatives love her.

Sarah Palin 'boycott': highlights from a memorable career
By Alex Spillius, Washington 7:00AM GMT 25 Jan 2011

September 2008

Sarah Palin became a household name in America with her vice-presidential running mate speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Describing herself as a “hockey mom", she said: “I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.

July 2009

At a hastily-called press conference in her hometown of Wasilla, Mrs Palin stunned Alaska and the rest of the United States by announcing her resignation as governor. She went on to endorse candidates for elective office through her own Political Action Committee, accept speaking engagements, work as a commentator on Fox News, and star in her own reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

February 2010

Mrs Palin addressed the inaugural National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. In the Q&A session after her speech, Mrs Palin glanced down at her hand during an answer and a photograph later revealed that she had the words “energy", “budget cuts", “tax” and “lift American spirits” written on her hand.

March 2010

Mrs Palin’s website listed 20 representatives that she wanted to see defeated under the heading “TARGETED!” over a map of the United States with a gun sight placed over each politician’s home district. It came back to haunt her when (inaccurate) accusations were made that the map had inspired the Tucson gunman Jared Loughner.

July 2010

Mrs Palin tweeted in a post, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” The message was removed in minutes. But in November, “refudiate” was announced as the year’s best new word by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

January 2011

Mrs Palin accused her accusers of “blood libel” for linking her to the Tucson shootings. She went on Fox News to declare: “They can’t make us sit down and shut up.”

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