Mrs Palin – the movie

Mrs Palin has electrified the race to the White House. Apparently the ratings of the channel screening her first TV interview as candidate are soaring. Politics is interesting again! Republicans want to watch her because they think they are going to agree with her, and think she might stand up for them in Washington. Democrats want to watch her to see if they can trip her up.

I was witness to the passions she generates even on this side of the Atlantic at a lunch I attended in the City yesterday. Under Chatham House rules so I cannot quote or name individuals I listened to a succession of “liberal” women condemning Mrs Palin. They thought her Christian views unacceptable, condemned her lack of experience, disliked her approach to foreign policy and commented on how we only knew so far the views of her speechwriters when we needed to know what she really thought, with the implication that that would be far worse.

I was the only knight to ride to her support. I did so not because I support many of her views or because I have sufficient knowledge of how good an adminsitrator and Governor she is, but because the condemnation was so unfair and biased.

She was condemned for wishing to prosecute the war in Afghanistan – yet that is also Obama’s policy and he too has called for more troops to go there. If you condemn Palin for it you should condemn all leading US politicians for it, and Gordon Brown too.

She was attacked for allowing someone else to write her speeches. I thought that was what Obama – and most other US and UK senior politicians did. I am unusual in always creating my own speeches and blog articles. Just because Mrs Palin uses a good speechwriter does not mean she fails to direct and amend the speeches they write.

She was attacked for being inexperienced, yet I thought she was the only one of the four principal contenders for the White House who had ever run anything.

She was attacked for mentioning God. Apparently you need to be an atheist to run for office.

There are lessons from the Palin effect for the UK. Because Mc Cain is a maverick within the Republican party, who gets on well with Democrats, he needed someone who could engage and motivate the Republican base if he was to have any chance of victory. Mrs Palin so far has done that brilliantly. Republicans trust her and like her views, so they will now work and vote for the ticket.

Because Mrs Palin uses stronger and clearer language than most spin age politicians she communciates directly with more people. Some will dislike her and react strongly against, but many more seem to be liking what they hear and are reacting positively.

If you want to revive interest in politics it is necessary to cut through the miasma of politically correct press releases and pager statements and say something different. It is necessary when communicating to motivate some and annoy others.

Mrs Palin has made Mr Obama look ordinary, tired and very negative. That’s not good for the candidate of hope.


  1. Tony Makara
    September 12, 2008

    Those who are dazzled by Sarah Palin are clearly looking for a certain brand of politics, rather than the open and pragmatic politics needed for the important position of vice president. We all have our core views and those fundamentals form the backbone of our personal manifesto. However the art of government and statesmanship requires more than a personal mindset. It requires the the swiftness of mind to adapt and change with ongoing situations. John McCain has some of those abilities but Sarah Palin appears to have none, she is the archetypal intransigent and this will have serious implications if she is ever in a position to impose her 'rapturepolitik' on US foreign policy. I was never a fan of Mrs Clinton but I have to say that on a purely intellectual level Hillary Clinton is light years ahead of Sarah Palin. The likes of Putin, Medvedev and would run rings around Palin, she is sub-standard, America and the world deserves a better vice president than Sarah Palin.

  2. Feminist
    September 12, 2008

    Feminists have always said that we would know when women had equality with men when a mediocre woman was appointed to a top job. Looks like we made it!

    1. Stuart Fairney
      September 12, 2008

      What is your basis for declaring Governor Palin a mediocrity?

    2. James
      September 12, 2008

      Mediocre women appointed to top jobs…

      (Ed – list of senior Labnour women supplied!)

      Looks like the gender wars are over!

  3. Stuart Fairney
    September 12, 2008

    Following Palin's impact, am I being cynical to wonder how long it is before we see pictures of Cameron shooting a Mouse or something?


  4. FW
    September 12, 2008

    Interesting piece – I don't suppose you can see a similar need in David Cameron's team for a similar "reassuring rogue" can you? Or have I missed the real point of the article? 🙂

  5. Frederick James
    September 12, 2008

    FW… snap! 🙂

  6. adam
    September 12, 2008

    You have found them, John. There are lots of them, they really hate her, especially the feminists.

    How dare a woman represent the republicans, how dare she with those awful views and then to learn that she is popular as well.
    All too much for the left, suddenly the cause of women is put aside, what a silly girl she is with silly hair.

  7. R
    September 12, 2008

    Mrs Palin is the wrong choice… (comments against her personality)
    From a British stand-point, Obama is better, he had made a tour of UK. He is not clueless, like a lot of Americans who have not been outside the USA. And will make a better president then Bush.

    1. Puncheon
      September 12, 2008

      You're being satirical aren't you. Personality – she's a real person as opposed to the synthetic, media construct that is Obama. "Obama isn't clueless about Europe" – he does one whistle-stop tour and you're wetting your knickers, here's me outside the Eiffel Tower. And on that tour he decided to omit the US hospital in Berlin when he discovered he couldn't take his media entourage with him. Palin made a private visit to that hospital last year with no media presence. Palin has had more executive experience that Obama and Biden put together. Your comments remind me of the preposterous Kinnock criticisms of Ronald Reagan for lacking experience, when Reagan had been Governor of a State almost as big as Western Europe, and Kinnock had had the impressive experience of running the Cardiff Tech's student union under his belt. You lefties should just go out a bit more, and perhaps grow up.

  8. Neil Craig
    September 12, 2008

    Elections are won by getting out your own supporters as much as persuading floating voters. She will certainly do the former & if they can't find any dirt on her, which I doubt they can, will persuade many of the latter, hence the desperation to find anything to critcise. The spectale of "feminists" saying she can't do the job & look after her family properly is disagreeable but predictable.

  9. tim holden
    September 12, 2008

    The Clintons want their money back. It is likely that Obama's meeting with Bill Clinton yesterday had something to do with this element of the equation ($20m?), where Hillary's prospects for next time round include a possible one-on-one for the Presidency against Sarah Palin.

    The McCain selection for vice president appears to be an excellent move that has wrongfooted the Democrats. The Obama reaction, the confusion, and the sudden realisation that Biden's blue collar appeal has left a yawning gap on the flank coincides with their alarm at an unexpected increase in Republican funding.

    And if Obama has to ensure that the Clintons get their money, he diverts funds that he might badly need as his popularity diminishes. And when will he have to pay the Clintons for their support? Their current silence, or half-hearted assistance ruins him. But once they are paid, if before the election, the stiletto may flash – because Hillary definitely wants another chance at the job.

  10. Jeremy Wallis
    September 12, 2008

    Another excellent article!

    A most splendid cat has been thrown in amongst the pigeons!

    The same thing happened here in the late 1970's

  11. […] Posted by davidburbage on September 12, 2008 I’m a fan, like John Redwood . […]

  12. mikestallard
    September 12, 2008

    According to the paper she has worked wonders in Alaska.
    As a Christian, Democrat and true Liberal I am absolutely delighted to see that those London people who have usurped these wonderful words now look so passe.
    And as a rustic who lives in the country, I am doubly pleased because those pseuds have nothing much to do with the people I meet here.

  13. alan
    September 12, 2008

    Well said Mr. Redwood. I am truly amazed at the condemnation Mrs Palin is getting from women. I read one from the States yesterday that said something along the lines that Mrs Palin was chosen because she had not had an abortion! Goodness knows what planet that woman came from!

    The left do not like women who are loyal to their country! Who back the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Who are Pro Life ,anti abortion and who believe in God!

    It makes me wonder how these people take the oath of office!

    But I take great heart from all this because it has shown the Obama cult to be a heartless, shallow bunch of travellers who I most certainly would not go on any journey with.

    Wouldn't it be just absolutely delicious should McCain and Palin win!!

    I am, though, Mr Redwood surprised at the company you keep!!

  14. nigel jones
    September 12, 2008

    I don't particularly follow American politics, but it strikes me that it's even more about PR and presentation than ours. Formula politicians churning out formula lines which sound good, mean whatever you want and actually mean nothing, all well skilled in deflecting questions with other questions.

    Palin's a breath of fresh air.

    I like the moose hunting – I bet she uses her own load own and butchers
    them herself. I don't much care for the creationism and good ol' religion, but this is America.

    Then there's the Beeb, drooling over the possibility of any slip and having to admit that there was some hesitancy but she did OK.

    I particularly like the bile she generates in the left liberal wimmin. It's like they wanted it, they got it, why the long faces? Well you know, someone stands for office and you have to celebrate their diversity.

    In the end, she's only a candidate for VP and there's nothing we can do from this side of the pond apart from watch.

  15. Johnny Norfolk
    September 13, 2008

    I think they are afraid of her, she does not waffle she has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve, I see her in the Thatcher mold. She is just what is needed in this day of double speak and lies and spin.

    I think the republicans will win and the democrats know it.

    I wish we had someone like her.

  16. Johnny Norfolk
    September 13, 2008

    Should be mould

  17. Bazman
    September 13, 2008

    Who in the right mind is going to support Palin? To get a good idea about what is she is about, find out in what she does not believe in. She doesn't believe in birth control, sex education, a free and open library system, gun control of any kind, corporate taxes, free press, limits on fishing, or government protection of wildlife (especially polar bears). Evolution, man has any effect on the climate, abortion for any reason, sex education, rape victims and homosexuals punished. But believes Alaska should secede from the USA.
    (Words left out-ed)

  18. Deborah
    September 13, 2008

    "Because Mrs Palin uses stronger and clearer language than most spin age politicians she communciates directly with more people. Some will dislike her and react strongly against, but many more seem to be liking what they hear and are reacting positively."

    Yep, she looks straight past the commentariat and talks to the voters. No wonders the media is screaming.

  19. Adrian Windisch
    September 16, 2008

    So some people are making personal attacks, but then wernt McCain/Obama similarlt attacked? The difference with Pailin is she is a woman and she manages to appear victimised.

    What we should be discussing with Palin is that she is a creationist so doesn't believe in science. Also a climate skeptic, but has papered over some cracks between her position and McCains. Potentially one heartbeat away from world leadership, you should be worried. And it shows a distinct lack of judgement of McCain.

    She does appeal to republican supporters, but they cant win with that alone. She has created a media stir, but when it calms down how will the majority of the USA respond to her, we shall see.

    Reply: Unfair or untrue personal attacks are not a good idea whether about a man or a woman.

    1. Neil Craig
      September 16, 2008

      Well no they weren't. Throughout this campaign everybody has been walking on eggshells not to say something nasty about Obama on the grounds that even an innocuous term (one supplied)might be portrayed as being racist. Even when Palin compared being mayor to being a state appointed community organiser she didn't mention that she got voted in against the wishes of Alaska's (questionable-ed) machine while Obama was appointed by Chicagos' (questionable-ed) political machine. Her being a woman counters Obama being black in the "vulnerability" stakes.

      She isn't an out & out creationist. If you check you will find that what she has said is that if the question of creationism V evolution comes up in class it should be discussed, but that there need not be special funds devoted to that. That is a proper scientific attitude & evolution can certainly survive strong debate with creationists better than it can survive the "support" of those Luddites who talk about "consensus" as disallowing debate on stuff like catastrophic warming.

      On GW her official position is "What is justified is worldwide concern over the proven effects of climate change" (which can be taken 2 ways – either that the effects are proven or that we should worry about effects if they are proven). I hope this is the sensible political reticence of somebody who knows that denying that we are currently suffering from unprecedented warming will get even heavier brickbats than not denouncing creationism.

      Personally I think the fact that he bucked the Washinton "consensus" to choose somebody whose only achievement was to get an 80% approval rating among her out of the way constituents shows real character & judgement on his part.

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