By Heather Ellerbrock
She is like Hurricane Katrina; loud, confident and will come into your house without even blinking an eye. She is Sarah Palin and for the last six weeks, we have all been caught up in Palin Maina. Her “popularity” is so intense that instead of hearing ‘Sarah Who?’ we are making jokes that this is a presidential race between Obama and Palin. Outlets other than mainstream media (see Saturday Night Live) are making her even more intriguing to Joe 6-Pack with their late night skits that although make fun of her, keep her popular. We must ask ourselves, is her superstar status along the likes of a one hit wonder?
When John McCain chose his Vice Presidential running mate, there was an immediate infatuation with Sarah Palin. Who was she? What was her experience? What does she stand for? All of us ran toward the Palin train grabbing with hooks. Within the first two weeks of her introduction, McCain’s choice gave him exactly the thunder he needed. After her convention speech, 60% of Republican voters were more enthusiastic than usual about voting compared to only 42% the week prior and 39% prior to the announcement of Palin. This effect however did not last long.
About a month after her RNC speech, Palin began losing ground with a conservative base that had welcomed her with open arms. Kathleen Parker, a writer for the National Review and a known conservative, reversed her support for Sarah Palin in an article titled “Palin Problem”. “When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood…It was fun while it lased. Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons…Do it for your country.
Although the infatuation has ended, her “popularity” is by no means gone. Even today, five weeks after Sarah Palin entered our lives her spotlight, although not as bright, is still shinning alongside the economy, the war in Iraq and Bush’s low approval ratings. Only this time, more Americans are concerned rather than excited. As Op-Ed comlunmist Roger Cohen perfectly puts it, “I wonder, after the lying and the dead of the Bush Administration, in the midst of the wars, in the face of 760,000 lost jobs, is Palin’s offer of a “little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street” enough?”.
From the moment she clouded Obama’s acceptance speech to present day when, in the midst of an economic crisis, you can still turn on the TV or open the newspaper and there will be an article about her, it is clear that her spotlight has not gone anywhere. It has always been argued that even bad press is good press. As Frazier Moore with Associated Press states, “You’d hardly know the Democrats have even chosen a presidential candidate, judging from late-night comedy monologues. It was Republican John McCain and…his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, who claimed most of the jokesters’ attention.” Who’s the celebrity now?