Obama and the Media is Why Palin is so Successful

Americans love to be led by what they feel are ordinary folks. They want to assume that their sons or daughters could become a representative, senator, or even a president. It’s a can-do nation filled with folks that feel they are just as good as the next citizen in line. This is why Sarah Palin is so successful.

The reason for this goes back even before the American Revolution. Americans built this nation by the sweat of their brows, the brawn of their backs and their God-given abilities, a veritable natural aristocracy among men. They looked to leaders from their own strata and looked askance at any that claimed a noblesse oblige.

In fact, it was seen as so untoward for America’s early leaders to appear ambitious of position that politicians did not directly campaign for office nor did they often publish policy discussions under their own names. This is the reason why the Federalist Papers were published under the name “Publius” instead of under the names of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, its actual authors. It wasn’t even widely known who wrote our most famous political treatise until a decade after its publication.

This desire to appear un-ambitious and “regular” didn’t stop with the founders either. When President Andrew Jackson ushered in the “era of the common man” in the 1830s this idea that just anyone could become president reached new heights. Famed visitor Alexis de Tocqueville, who noted that the common man in America enjoyed an unprecedented level of dignity and success, made this a central theme of his famous book “Democracy in America.”

Many presidents were presented as the fellow next door. William Henry Harrison was a “log cabin” candidate (even though he was born to a well-to-do family), Lincoln was “Honest Abe” the “Rail Splitter,” Grant was the hard-fighting general that struggled his way up by his own efforts with no family help, Truman was just a regular guy. On the other hand, many presidential candidates that lost did so in part because they could not shake the accusation that they were “elitists.”

John Quincy Adams, for instance, lost his second run in small part due to this perceived elitism. Closer to our own day it was widely thought that Democrat Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson was too brainy and high class to appeal to the average American and he went down to defeat to the regular guy Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower. Not long ago both Al Gore and John Kerry were denigrated as too upper crusty to appeal to most Americans. They didn’t seem like regular folk to the regular folks. Heck, even with his Hollywood pedigree, Ronald Reagan stressed his hardscrabble upbringing as a common man in Illinois.

It’s a long, long tradition of the upper crust trying to take on the mantle of the lower classes and losing elections if they fail.

Then came Barack Obama. Mr. Obama is one of the few American presidents easily able to overcome the appearance of the nose-in-the-air, scion of the university that he is and get elected anyway and he didn’t do it by appearing as if he was a commoner. So, Obama is one of the exceptions to the usual American political practice of putting on the cloak of the common man. The American public decided that his upper crustiness wasn’t disqualifying but since he’s been in office his arrogance has come to grate on more and more Americans. This sneaking suspicion that Barack Obama doesn’t like us lowly Americans very much only adds to Palin’s appeal.

Writing for the New York Review of Books Jonathan Raban recently stumbled upon the core appeal of Sarah Palin to right of center Americans. He attended the Tea Party convention in Tennessee in March and met a woman who was effusive over Palin saying that she was a “normal person like you and me.”

“She was me! She’s so down-to-earth! If Sarah was sitting here with us now, she’d be just a normal person like you and me. You could say anything to her. She’s not like a politician–she’s real. And Sarah always keeps her word. If Sarah promises something, you know she’ll do it. She’s just am az ing.”

And therein, with one quote, lies Palin’s appeal to America. This is something that Barack H. Obama, with his nose ever in the air, can never achieve.

Palin’s success at becoming a focal point for conservative America is only facilitated by the hatred of her that the Old Media wallows in. It is they that have propelled her past what might have been her likely expiration date having lost her bid for vice president. I mean, let’s face it, few losing vice presidential candidates are ever heard from again politically. Palin, though, has been a glaring exception to that down and forgotten rule for losing vp candidates. And the reason for that is the Old Media’s obsession with her coupled with her own innate ability to hit the Old Media where it lives.

The media mercilessly attacked Palin from the second the McCain campaign announced her as its pick for the number two slot. They attacked her children without pause and smeared her with lies at every turn. But one of the main things that the Old Media’s overt, wild-eyed attacks on Palin did was to cement her in the minds of potential supporters as the quintessential woman of the common people.

There are hundreds of examples, but let’s take a recent one. On May 5, New York Magazine posted a report on Palin’s appearance at the Time 100 gala. Every last word of this report is dripping with sarcasm, hatred, and condescension. But that all this snark comes from a “New York” Magazine only cements her as the representative of the commoners that look askance at anything New Yorkish.

For NY Mag, Jada Yuan and Tali Yahalom — yes it took two of them to roll out these Palin jabs — Gov. Palin is painted as uncaring toward her daughter Piper, callous of her husband’s needs, and completely addicted to the glare of media lights. It doesn’t help this New York rag’s position with “the folks” that the two reporters don’t sound remotely “American,” either. It all just cements Palin’s position as the queen of Jill and Joe Six-Pack.

But the Old Media can’t help itself, can it? They despise her very existence and must indulge their inner schoolyard bully by constantly attacking her.

At some level, despite the anguish that the Old Media have caused Sarah Palin and her family, that same media has made her what she is today; the representative of the average folks.

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