osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

What Do Palin and Obama Have In Common?

In musing on the latest round of Palin speculation brought on by her book, I was struck by a comparison between Palin and Obama in the ability to attract strong devotion from a certain core element of their party's base despite very little in the way of a governing record and without a compelling new ideological approach. Indeed, both Obama and Palin claim to be returning their parties to fundamental principles (which they say have been lost by those governing) rather than announcing new directions or purposes such as the Great Society or the New Deal.

My preliminary musing is that, in addition to a healthy dollop of personal charisma, both Palin and Obama appeal to that part of their party's base which wants to imagine themselves in the life stories of these individuals. Both represent a particular vision of American success,and how we would like to imagine ourselves to be. The lack of a record makes it possible for supporters to project what they hope to see in this image. It also combines well with the fact that after about 30 or so years of no new or inspiring ideas in politics, people are ready to believe that there must be a better way.

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