One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Stop the Sarah Palin comparisons

By now, we’re all sick of hearing that Sarah Palin compared herself to a pit bull with lipstick.  As the media frenzy that’s surrounded her gradually slows to a mood of reflection, I’m getting sick of all the other comparisons being made of the previously obscure Alaska governor.  Conservative voices proclaim she is “the next Ronald Reagan.”  Eve Fairbanks at TNR argues that she resembles Bill Clinton, another former backwater governor who emerged on the political scene just in time for a presidential contest.

I’d thought the comparison to Clinton was a stretch — even if argued gamely by Fairbanks — but then I checked out The Huffington Post.   One blogger there says Palin is “Steve Forbes in a skirt,” while another goes so far as to draw a parallel with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Never mind that Palin was supposed to attend a protest against Iran’s infamously anti-Semitic leader yesterday, he nonetheless takes top billing in the completely irrelevant category of comparing “out of all the Middle Eastern leaders.”

Both Ahmadinejad and Sarah Palin were governors and mayors before running for national office. However, Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran, with a population of 10 million while Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, with a population of just 7000.

Both ran for their mayoral positions on a very populist agenda: diminishing corruption, fighting against the party establishment, and speaking for the people.

Ahmadinejad’s major foreign trip before become president was limited to a trip to Russia. Palin is also proud that she can see Russia from her house. Both were unknown on the national stage before running for presidency or vice presidency, and, more importantly, both are extremely ambitious.

Yes, this is sarcastic.  And yes, there are some similarities between Sarah Palin and lots of people.  But the need to constantly create a frame of reference for Palin that involves a famous leader?  Perhaps this reflex stems from her status as an unknown phenomenon, but as more and more is uncovered about her, and percolates into the mainstream, this justification becomes less tenable.  What’s emerging is that she is a small-town mayor from a rather oddball — and conveniently tucked away — state.

This is not “liberal condescension.”  From a partisan point of view, it’s simply to acknowledge that expanding the Palin bubble with such inflated comparisons are not doing much to bring it down to reality.  And objectively, these comparisons don’t do much for accuracy or analysis either.

The “lipstick on a pitbull” comparison doesn’t even seem to grate on me that much anymore.

September 24, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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