Sarah Palin draws the media like a magnet. Whether we like it or not, judging from the amount of press she gets, it appears she'll remain on the national scene for as long as America and the rest of the world continue to tune in or click. The media loves Sarah Palin which means we'll be seeing her for quite a while.
This sustained interest in Palin appears to be coming from both the Left and the Right, although its unlikely the two sides are interested for the same reasons. The Left's interest is probably driven by a need to understand how a person with so little political knowledge or political curiosity could have been chosen as a vice-presidential candidate, or maybe we're just waiting for the gaffes that are sure to come. The LA Progressive has certainly run its fair share of articles on Sarah Palin for this very reason.
But a large percentage of Republicans view Palin as presidential material. Polls have indicated that Sarah Palin is the candidate of choice for at least 45% of Republicans in the 2012 Presidential race. And, according to the BBC and others in mainstream media, she stole the show at the GOP Governors meeting in Miami.
This month, Mother Jones' Kevin Drum wrote a compelling piece focusing on the oddity of Palin's apparent lack of interest in national policy and how that has not damaged her popularity as a Republican politician.
Wrote Drum, "It's not just that she was inexperienced (Spiro Agnew and John Edwards weren't much more experienced than Palin when they ran for VP) but that she was — obviously, transparently, completely — uninterested in and uninformed about national policy at nearly every level."
Drum goes on to say that she was, "chosen purely at the level of celebrity, and an awful lot of people seemed to be just fine with that. " Hmmm.. At the level of celebrity, kind of like the current governor of California who, in the video below, assesses Palin's readiness to lead the nation.
Palin's treatment by mainstream media continues to boggle my mind but when you consider that the right acts as if she is truly a viable option for national leadership, as seen in the video above, it comes as no surprise that low information voters who base their voting decisions on sound bights and endorsements rather than research and analysis, are completely in the dark.
For those of us who are politically active and politically informed, Sarah Palin comes across as a bumbling idiot. But there are vast swaths of America that rarely, if ever, tune in to the political sphere. During their brief forays into politics, Palin may come across as being reasonably articulate and knowledgeable.
She certainly gets a lot of attention on the Web. In a piece I wrote entitled, Sarah Palin's Feminine Wiles Fall Short, I talk about the spikes in web traffic when Sarah Palin hit the scene. An increase in searches was to be expected, especially in light of the fact that she was a relatively unknown, but what was unusual about the searches for Sarah Palin is that they included key words like "sarah palin legs" or "sarah palin sexy photos".
Compare the results of a search I performed using Google on November 13th. On the right is the name of the candidate, on the left is the number of returns Google displays when searching these names. I performed the searches using Google Search.
John McCain..................168 Million
Barack Obama...............118 Million
Sarah Palin.......................58 Million
Hillary Clinton...................27 Million
Bill Clinton........................20 Million
Al Gore.............................16 Million
Joe Biden..........................15 Million
There were pundits who predicted that Palin would disappear as soon as the election was over. However, this does not seem to be the case. Sarah Palin searches continue to soar, consistently outperforming all other major political players making her a true media magnet. Average Americans and particularly those of a progressive bent should take notice. If this trend continues we may see Palin's name on national campaign posters sooner rather than later.
Although it may be unreasonable to draw conclusions about a politician's electability based on the number of Google search returns associated with their name, you can conclude that there is more information currently being posted on Sarah Palin than for Bill and Hillary Clinton combined. When you consider the amount of media attention given to any Sarah Palin story, for example the attention she got at the GOP Governor's meeting, I think it wouldn't be unreasonable to conclude that Sarah Palin is going to be around for quite some time.
Articles by Sharon Kyle