Sarah and Hillary: A study in contrasts


 

Sarah and Hillary: A study in contrastsAside from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, the respective campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin remain the highlights of the last political season. Clinton got 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries and nearly became the nominee. Palin came out of nowhere to energize a lackluster McCain bid, and, for a couple weeks in September at least, helped him take a lead in the polls. Since then, she has easily become the most sought after personality in the GOP.

Last Sunday, both Clinton and Palin were in the news, albeit for different reasons, and made it clear why both fascinate the media and the American public. The Secretary of State  was on Meet The Press doing a one-hour interview. Meanwhile, Palin was delivering her farewell address to the people of Alaska. Events dealing with health care reform and yesterday’s ‘Beer Summit’ limited the interventions of the two politicians to one-day news stories. I might add regrettably because both these political figures will continue to play a vital role in the public life of the United States.

Clinton was truly at her best. If anyone had any doubts about her qualifications or her expertise in foreign policy, they can rest assured. The world according to Hillary is one where diplomacy, respect for international institutions and groupings, and multilateral initiatives are the cornerstone of American foreign policy. To her, it was clear that the moral outreach of American ideals reinforce its power and strength in the world. Pushing for peace with adversarial countries is not seen as a sign of weakness. Changing course when it is obvious there is little progress is also not a sign of weakness. Appointing reputed high-profile envoys like Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell to hot-spots is evidence that effectiveness and obtaining results trump ego with this Secretary of State.

Being a team player in an Administration that has been characterized as a cross between a ‘team of rivals’ and ‘the best and the brightest’ shows that the national interest carries the day over personal interest in the case of Clinton. She seemed in sync with Obama on the vital issues. Finally, when asked if the President consults her on other issues outside of national security and foreign policy, she replied in the affirmative. It speaks volumes about how the Administration operates and how vital Hillary has become.

Palin, on the other hand, was not at her best. She chose to castigate everyone from Hollywood producers to mainstream media to politicians who choose to complete the mandates they were elected for. It was quite a performance that seemed to appeal to her audience at the farewell gathering. She can do no wrong when it comes to the social conservative base of her party and this unique performance probably reinforced her credentials for her post-Alaska life. While she strays little into policy matters beyond the standard Republican credo of conservatism, she does have a populist streak that is guaranteed fodder for sustained media interest. A Palin presence draws crowds and coverage.

Next stop is a high-profile speech at the Reagan library. With the eventual publication of her life story coupled with numerous speaking engagements, we can assume this will make her a wealthy person able to pursue her political career at the national level. The Fox News types just love her and the cynical crowd like Maureen Dowd, columnist with the New York Times, are salivating at the thought of more Palin days. She is telegenic and unpredictable, two ingredients made for reality TV. The detractors now say gleefully that she has three advisors on staff in a permanent capacity–me, myself and I. At the end of the day, like her or not, she will be a force to be reckoned with within the Republican party.

It is difficult to find greater contrasts between two individuals. Clinton is a classic liberal Democrat while Palin is a social conservative Republican. One served as a Senator of an influential state while the other was a Governor of a small state. They differ widely on policy issues. Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. You either support them or you oppose them vehemently. What is most interesting beyond the politics of each is that they have become the most fascinating political personalities outside of President of the United States. When was the last time that two women in American politics became so prominent?


 

Sarah and Hillary: A study in contrasts

  1. We shouldn't forget that Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House as well. That's three high profile women at the heart of the public debate all at the same time. Surely, this can only lead to widespread consensus building and limited partisanship that we're continually told will result when women start to have more influence in the traditionally alpha-male dominated political realm, right?

  2. Interesting post . Quite frankly , I think Palin is a flash in the pan who depends on her looks , period . no substance on policy . Shows how McCain was out of it . To have her a heartbeat was scary . I agree on the advisers . She has not a clue on policy . Just says what pops in . Less qualified than Dan Quayle.
    Pelosi is more influential but far less interesting for the media . But she has substance .
    Palin attacks the media but it was the media that put her in the limelight . She blew when they saw how weak she was.

  3. Decent article.

    I disagree on at least one point: "Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. "

    Oddly enough, that's not true. Many on the right have a lot more respect for Hillary than either Obama or McCain. Had the ballot been a 4-way race with 1st-2nd choices listed, a lot would have picked Palin and then Clinton. If you are looking for a very public example of this thinking, look up noted conservative Ann Coulter's public statements on the subject.

  4. Decent article.

    I disagree on at least one point: "Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. "

    Oddly enough, that's not true. Many on the right have a lot more respect for Hillary than either Obama or McCain. Had the ballot been a 4-way race with 1st-2nd choices listed, a lot would have picked Palin and then Clinton. If you are looking for a very public example of this thinking, look up noted conservative Ann Coulter's thoughts on the subject.

  5. Decent article.

    I disagree on at least one point: "Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. "
    Oddly enough, that's not true. Many on the right have a lot more respect for Hillary than either Obama or McCain. Had the ballot been a 4-way race with 1st-2nd choices listed, a lot would have picked Palin and then Clinton. If you are looking for a very public example of this thinking, look up noted conservative Ann Coulter's thoughts on the subject.

  6. Decent article.

    I disagree on at least one point: "Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. "

    Oddly enough, that's not true. Many on the right have a lot more respect for Hillary than for either Obama or McCain. Had the ballot been a 4-way race with 1st-2nd choices listed, a lot would have picked Palin and then Clinton. If you are looking for a very public example of this thinking, look up noted conservative Ann Coulter's public statements on the subject.

    Also, I'm not sure what a "Fox News type" is, although evidently it's something with which Parisella is not entirely familiar. Fox News was widely acknowledged by Clinton supporters to be the only network that treated her fairly during the primaries. Again, it speaks to the point in the previous paragraph.

  7. Was your column inspired by Maureen Dowd's NYT column earlier this week on the very same theme?

    • Probably.

  8. Palin came out of nowhere to energize a lackluster McCain bid,

    * * *

    What 2008 did you live through? Or is that just the worst misspelling of S-I-N-K ever?

    • It's called polling. After her speech at the Republican Convention the polls showed McCain/Palin winning against Obama/Biden, which was the first time McCain had led during the race so far as I know. I'm guessing you didn't know this because you were sticking to blinkered news sources that wouldn't report it.

      Later the polls went the other way, after Palin fell apart on Couric. But initially there is no question she energized McCain's losing campaign and briefly gave him a shot at winning.

      • After any convention, the polls go towards the party that just had the convention. After the Democratic Convention, the dems were up by a massive margin, far greater than they held leading into the convention. It's called the convention bump and it always happens. It wasn't Palin, it was simply the fact that the Republicans got all the press for the week.

        Going into the convention, the polls were on Obama's side, but not decidedly so. Once the craze caused by both conventions died down, McCain started slipping further and further. Palin only energized his campaign for the people who were already going to vote for him, then she slowly killed it, and not just because of the Couric interview (though that was a nail in the coffin). McCain had a shot before Palin, not a good one, but a shot. Once Palin got out there, his campaign was done for.

        • Yeah, I agree Craig, Palin's great rehearsed speach at the convention really got the right excited, as with most carefully crafted convention speaches. Then the real Palin came through when she had to ad-lib with the Rose and Couric interviews.

  9. Decent article. (?!)

    I disagree on at least one point: "Their electoral bases reflect the polarization of American politics of the past three decades. There are no crossover votes with these two political figures. "

    Oddly enough, that's not true. Many on the right have a lot more respect for Hillary than for either Obama or McCain. Had the ballot been a 4-way race with 1st-2nd choices listed, a lot of voters would have picked Palin and then Clinton. If you are looking for a very public example of this thinking, look up noted conservative Ann Coulter's public statements on the subject or check out the almost universal relief on conservative blogs when Hillary was chosen as SecState.

    Now, it is true that most of the diehard Clinton supporters hated Palin (these being the ones Parisella knows…I doubt he's ever actually sat down for a discussion with a Palin supporter) but that says more about the narrow-mindedness of the Left than the polarization of the overall electorate.

    Also, I'm not sure what a "Fox News type" is, although evidently it's something with which Parisella is not entirely familiar. Fox News was widely acknowledged by Clinton supporters to be the only network that treated her fairly during the primaries…which speaks to both points made above.

    • Very confusing , Gaunilon . The right wing hated the Clintons especially. They went after them on Lewinsky and Whitewater with a vengeance . YOU DON`T REMEMBER ' I guess!!! No way the right wanted Hillary as president unless it prevented a black man from winning. McCain was so weak that Palin gave them hope . It was brief. She will be the nomiee in 2012 as we speak.
      Notice how FOX and the right are out to destroy OBama -not even subtle .

      • This isn't the 90's Jane. It's a whole new world out there. The Right has no illusions about the complete dishonesty of the Clintons, but given the choice between three dishonest candidates (Hillary, Obama, McCain) many would prefer Clinton. She's tough as nails and smart as a whip, both good qualities in a President or SecState, and she does fight for her country's best interests when they don't conflict with her own.

        Here's a clip from Coulter, and here's one from a popular righty blog about Clinton being appointed SecState. The sentiments from both are not atypical on the right.

        Sometimes it's worth reading the views of people on the other side of the political spectrum. At the very least it informs you as to what they think, and sometimes it opens your mind to novel ideas. It's heady. Try it. You'd be amazed at how different the Right is from the MSNBC caricature of the Right. Parisella should probably also try it.

      • This isn't the 90's Jane. It's a whole new world out there. The Right has no illusions about the complete dishonesty of the Clintons, but given the choice between three dishonest candidates (Hillary, Obama, McCain) many would prefer Clinton. She's tough as nails and smart as a whip, both good qualities in a President or SecState, and she does fight for her country's best interests when they don't conflict with her own.

        Here's a clip from Coulter, and here's one from a popular righty blog about Clinton being appointed SecState. The sentiments from both are not atypical on the right.

        Sometimes it's worth reading the views of people on the other side of the political spectrum. At the very least it informs you as to what they think, and sometimes it opens your mind to novel ideas. It's heady. Try it. You'd be amazed at how different the Right is from the MSNBC caricature of the Right. Parisella should probably also try it, at the very least to avoid sweeping errors like this one.

        • READ about David Brock and the propaganda of the right .How they lie , distort and character assassinate . Al Franken and Rachel Maddow fortunately stepped up to the plate`. Their inherent dishonsty. Quoting Coulter is another example . She liked to push Clinton because she hated McCain . They wanted Clinton there to stir up Whitewater crap for another 8 years . They got Bush for doing that .
          READ Hubris by Corn and Ishikoff and you see what COulter really stands up for . Spinning and fabricating lies to justify the war in Iraq. So stop with your pious lessons . We see through you .
          Gaunilon , you pretend to be enlightened but Obama was unexpected and is more elusive than the Clintons. But you are all pushing the birth issue after doing the Muslim thing . Your attacks on Obama are identity inspired . With Clinton , you would be after his library donors and those who pay for his speeches.
          The right likes to use hate mongering and labelling people . This pro Clinton crap is a pure lie . NO CROSSOVER VOTE AND YOU KNOW IT !!!!
          Lighten up on MSNBC and stop getting your talking points from FOX NEWS, an oxymoron if there ever was one .

  10. I would ask you the same question.

    You think Palin sank McCain's bid. Considering how close it was (not a squeaker, but hardly a blowout), that implies that McCain could have won with someone else. Who?

    • I love this idea that the 2008 election was "close" by any definition. Obama received more votes than any other Presidential candidate in the history of the Republic, beating the old record by more than 7 million votes. He beat McCain by over 9.5 million votes. Obama's 52.9% of the vote was the highest percentage for a Democratic candidate since Carter in 1976. Obama received 79 more electoral college votes than George W. Bush ever received. There's was 7.2% separating Obama and McCain in 2008 in the popular vote. There was 5.6% separating Clinton and Bush Sr. in 1992. Was the 1992 election between Clinton and Bush Senior "close"?

      I agree with you that McCain couldn't have won with any other VP candidate on the ticket (I just can't fathom what VP candidate could have made up a 9.5 million vote deficit, or gotten McCain an additional 97 Electoral College votes). That said, I think almost any serious Republican as VP on the ticket could have made it closer. Palin certainly energized the McCain campaign for a short period of time. Then she started giving interviews.

      • I love that "received more votes than any other candidate in history" line. I think the previous record holder was George W. Bush in 2004. Was that election not close "by any definition"? It has more to do with population than popular support.

        A 53-47 win is solid but close just like winning a football game 53-47 is solid but close.

      • I love that "received more votes than any other candidate in history" line. The previous record holder was George W. Bush in 2004. Was that election not close "by any definition"?

        A 53-47 win is solid but close just like winning a football game 53-47 is solid but close.

      • I love that "received more votes than any other candidate in history" line. I think the previous record holder was George W. Bush in 2004 (52-48 margin). Was that election not close "by any definition"? It has more to do with population than popular support (well, that and the thousands of fictional voters signed up by the community organizers at ACORN).

        I loved this line too: "Obama's 52.9% of the vote was the highest percentage for a Democratic candidate since Carter in 1976."
        Meaning Obama got a higher percentage than Clinton, the only other winning Dem candidate since 1976. Says more about the general failure of Dem presidential candidates than about Obama's landslide 53-47 victory.

        A 53-47 win is solid but close just like winning a football game 53-47 is solid but close.

        Were I a Dem strategist I'd be more than a little worried that after a two-term Republican President at an all-time low in the polls, during a major financial crisis, with overt and near-complete fawning support from the media and a hugely popular Dem candidate running against a Republican generally disliked by his base, the Dems were still only able to pull off a 53-47 win. It's kind of amazing actually, and suggests a spectacular Democrat failure is overdue in coming elections.

  11. The contrast is really more simple than Paresella makes it .
    Palin is just dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Classic example of looks over brains . High pitched speeches with no content do not a President make!She is a [personality but no more . What was McCain thinking ?Now I know why Bush beat Mccain in 2000. He was just better. Wow !Never thought I would say that .
    As for clinton . She is very smart , just not lucky in love ,I guess.

    • Yup – it's a profound insult to Clinton that she has to share the stage with a backwater moron like Palin.

    • Stewart, I once wrote something similar to your comment. I once thought Sarah Palin was dumb. I'm not sure I was right back then. Give it the reason you want, but she left office. Whether it is due to legal matters or to study, is not important. One thing is sure : She will earn lots more money than she does actually. You might not like her views, but you have to understand that A LOT of people like her. A lot. If she really wants to have the chance of maybe becoming the GOP's candidate to the White House, she's done the right thing. She'll earn money (and you know how much money you need to become the Nominee) and people will get to know her better. Plus, she'll propably be out of the news for a while (a year or two).

      Clearly, Sarah Palin is not that dumb. Worst thing we can do is underestimate her.

      • Maybe I am too hard on her but I cannot see her winning a nomination . Then again , Bush won . I will take your advice and not underestimate her after all .
        President Palin ? Yuk!

  12. I am not fan of either H. Clinton or S.Palin. However, I tend to think there is one department where Sarah does better than Clinton. And that's authenticity. Clinton is a calculating figure who would even get to the point where she makes things up( recall Bosnia hoopla?) whereas Sarah speaks in a language a regular folk understand. She may fall into media trap often, but a blue colour worker understands her perfectly. Clinton may be the most educated, experienced, and fluent but Sarah excells in genuiness. Love her or hate, there will always be people who like her.

  13. I am not fan of either Clinton or Palin either