Palin Lacks the Standing To Criticize Obama


Count FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate and Josh Marshall among the folks on our side who were less than impressed with Sarah Palin’s performance last night.

Nate thinks the good vibes from Palin’s speech will be short-lived, if they happen at all:

I think some of you are underestimating the percentage of voters for whom Sarah Palin lacks the standing to make this critique of Barack Obama. To many voters, she is either entirely unknown, or is known as an US Weekly caricature of a woman who eats mooseburgers and has a pregnant daughter. To change someone’s opinion, you have to do one of two things. Either, you have to be a trusted voice of authority, or you have to persuade them. Palin is not a trusted voice of authority — she’s much too new. But neither was this a persuasive speech. It was staccato, insistent, a little corny. It preached to the proverbial choir. It was also, as one of my commentors astutely noted, a speech written by a man and for a man, but delivered by a woman, which produces a certain amount of cognitive dissonance.

In exceedingly plain English, I think there’s a pretty big who the fuck does she think she is? factor. And not just among us Daily Kos reading, merlot-drinking liberals. I think Palin’s speech will be instinctively unappealing to other whole demographics of voters, including particuarly working-class men (among whom there may be a misogyny factor) and professional post-menopausal women. As another of my commentors put it:

Not only does Palin’s inexperience trump Obama’s… her “otherness” also trumps his. Where she comes from, the way she talks, her bio, lifestyle, and all the moose and caribou stuff… it makes her seem more exotic than Obama, who after all lives in the middle of America and has a life that people can readily understand.

Palin may be just as American as anybody, but she still seems to come from Somewhere Else.

This would be fine… even interesting and appealing… if she weren’t attacking. But we have a deep, instinctive aversion to people who are part of us (even if we don’t really like them much) being attacked by people we perceive as outsiders. Our instinct is to stiffen up, to protect.

This point may be a little bit overstated, but the fact remains that Barack Obama is extremely well known and Palin is largely unknown, and when that is the case, your perception of the known commodity is more likely to influence your perception of the unknown commodity than the other way around. …

BJ at Newshoggers has a nice round-up of Palin skeptics.

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One Comment on “Palin Lacks the Standing To Criticize Obama”

  1. Chief Says:

    I really think Sarah Palin is mis-placed. She acts just like some cracker, red-neck from south Georgia.

    I don’t think she’d take umbrage with that statement. She’d probably wear it like a badge.


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