Monday, October 27, 2008

Sarah Palin: The Hannah Montana of American Politics

I got nothing against Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, or 98 degrees. They are perhaps half way talented people that are rich and famous. Good for them. But there's something about the way they rise that is a little irritating.

Some singers and bands become rich and famous because they are just extremely talented. Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but the guy can sing, dance, and write music. He's good. And he rose to fame and fortune because of that. Elvis earned his stardom. He wrote great music and performed it incredibly.

These manufactured bands don't really earn their fame based on their talent. Their fame is created in a board room, where Disney executives simply choose a talented person and create huge marketing on their behalf. They pay writers to write their music. They teach them to dance. They perform as directed, and become stars. Miley Cyrus can sing better than your average girl, but her fame is not so much based on her talent as it is on the decision of certain executives to make her a star. You would suspect that there are people much more talented that simply aren't known because they were not fortunate enough to be chosen by the executives. Hundreds of girls could have been just as successful as Miley Cyrus if they had been given the chance, because her success was not about her talent and smarts. It was about the marketing and song writing of people in the background. Not so with Michael Jackson, Elvis, and the Beatles. Their success had more to do with their talent, and this is why they deserve more respect.

Leaving aside the positions on the issues for a moment, consider a politician like Ronald Reagan and why he was considered presidential material. Here is a guy that looked at the issues of his day and actually pondered them. He began to form a certain philosophy about the issues. He then toured the country speaking to all the groups of people who would listen about why he held the beliefs he held. He interacted with these people in order to refine his own philosophy and come to his final conclusions. Finally, after spending years forming a philosophy and forming conclusions, he ran for president in 1976 and again in 1980 when he won. This is the type of person you are looking for. A person that has thought about the issues and come to conclusions based upon rational deliberation.

Compare this with Sarah Palin. Her interviews suggest that she really hasn't pondered many of the issues of the day. Don't worry, say her supporters. She'll be ready by inauguration day.

Really? How do you know she'll hold to the right opinions? I normally expect presidential candidates to think about things and draw conclusions based upon rational deliberation. If that is how she will do it, then how do you know she'll come to the correct conclusions? Maybe she'll conclude that talks with Iran make sense even without preconditions. Maybe she'll conclude that $800 billion in bailout money to banks that made poor decisions really isn't helpful. If she hasn't thought about the issues, then how do you know what conclusions she'll come to when she does think about the issues?

On the other hand, if she's an empty vessel that really isn't going to spend time rationally deliberating, but will simply parrot the correct lines, then in that case I suppose you can confidently claim that she'll be ready by inauguration day. But is that what we want in a vice-president?

The picture that emerges is that Palin was simply picked in a board room. Maybe Rove and Bill Kristol were present. They said "Here's a talented girl. She's pretty. She's got a great family and a great story. I bet we can market her. I bet we can write the proper lines, and when she says them the crowds will eat it up. It worked for Hannah Montana. It'll work for Sarah Palin."

I got nothing against her. She's moderately talented. But I want a candidate that has earned their status. I want a person that has already thought about things and knows why they think what they think. I don't listen to Hannah Montana. I prefer the Beatles.

1 comment:

robb. said...

britney spears was on the mickey mouse show. she was a mouseketeer. when i lived in the south, i realized there are a million girls just like britney spears down there.

she, too, is a product of the disney board room.