Stealing the fire

Melissa Keller

September 14, 2008

Since the 2008 Republican National Convention, the talk of the town is no longer Obama, or even McCain for that matter; it’s all about Palin. The “Palin effect” has stolen the focus of the 2008 elections and has many democrats worried as they struggle to get back that fame that has belonged to them for so long. Many fear that the republican’s lead in polls is more than just a “bounce” from post-convention, but Sen. Richard Durbin assures that this excitement will die out as the election moves away from the convention and more towards the debates in the upcoming weeks.

“Recent surveys show that McCain has gained ground among independent voters and women, who could decide the race in states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.” Peter Wallsten

The women voters seem to be appealing to Palin much more than many had expected, some of whom were previous Hillary supporters. So why did these Hillary supporters suddenly switch over to republican side considering both of their values are completely opposite? The answer is clear, it’s not that they agree on Palin’s policies or stand by her as she tries to make abortion illegal. Instead, they love her because they can relate to her on a personal level simply due to the fact that she labels herself as a “hockey mom”. Everyone remembers as the GOP crowd grew with cheers during her speech at the RNC when she uttered her first famous line, “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit-bull? Lipstick.” This is a great example of why the average American class has fallen for her and wants to see someone like her in office.

With her down to earth image stealing the focus of middle class white women, she has also caught the eye of many male voters as well. Not only does Palin relate to people personally, she attracts them through her looks as well. Sara Palin has now transformed from being this small town mayor into becoming the new “sex symbol” among politics. As Lisa Bloom states, “Her views are so right-wing but nobody’s talking about that. We’re talking about her hair, her makeup, and her clothes.”

Now companies hurry to make replica dolls in her image but distort them into a fantasy doll as she is depicted wearing a mini skirt with a pistol strapped to her thigh. Is this the image the republicans want? Apparently so, since many supporters were seen wearing badges that read “The hottest VP from the coolest state.”

Its no surprise that Palin’s popularity has stirred up anxiety among democrats as Obama struggles to work around this ‘Palin effect’. So far it is obvious that Obama has been trying to avoid any comments or actions that might draw toward Palin and amplify her appeal to what’s left of these white voters. But all hell broke loose last week when Obama made a comment towards the McCain campaign and its resemblance to the Bush administration when he stated that,

“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.”

Obama elaborated when explaining that by electing McCain as president wasn’t going to change our current policies we have with the Bush administration. Of course the GOP jumped to conclusions that this remark was directed towards the Gov. Sara Palin in saying they were appauled that Sen. Barack Obama would refer to her as a pig. Obama argued that the McCain campaign is using a pathetic attempt to play the gender card as he pointed out that McCain too used this “lipstick on a pig” phrase on two other previous occasions.

With the Palin joining the ticket as Republican VP Obama is going to have to do some major work to steal back his popularity. Strategies have been made to avoid mud-slinging and instead attacking through criticism of policies. So far democrats have been trying to simply scare voters away from Palin by reminding them that she is against abortion, sex education in schools, evolution, and characterized a gas pipeline in Alaska as the “work of God”. Will this strategy work? Only time will tell as the campaign heats up and election day draws nearer.

1 Comment

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One response to “Stealing the fire

  1. jeanelaina

    You are so right! It is terrible that politics has turned into such a pop culture environment. Americans need to start focusing on real issues. This is no longer about the issues, but solely a popularity contest. The bottom line should be about who is going to keep us safe, food on our tables and our rights secure. No doubt that I would have a beer with Sarah Palin, but in no way does that mean I would vote for her. I hope American women start thinking about the consequences for favoring a VP on the ticket over the potential the President.

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