Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sarah, the popular mean girl

This morning David Brooks wrote in his New York Times column, "From voters, the demand is: Surprise Me Most. For candidates, the lesson is: Weirdness Wins."

Brooks thinks Obama has ceded the weirdness edge to McCain--which in itself is weird, since Republicans are not known for weirdness. McCain's vice-presidential nominee, Brooks wrote, "came out of the blue and seems totally unlike the regular crowd of former eighth-grade class presidents who normally dominate public life."

When my daughter Heidi was four years old, she gazed at us gathered around the dinner table and pronounced, "You know, weird runs in this family." So of course I forwarded Brooks's column to her. She came back with this insightful observation:
"I think Sarah Palin is EXACTLY like an eighth-grade class president. She is, in fact, the popular mean girl. That's why everyone is getting off on the fact that she can smile while she's mean. Unpopular girls like Hillary Clinton can't smile while they are mean. Popular girls in eighth grade do, and they always win."
I remember eighth grade, and it still hurts.

The photo is of Sarah Heath in high school.


KaTo said...

OMG, that's it! Bush does the same thing with that obnoxious smirk of his. LaVonne, you and I could have hung together in eighth grade.

Molly said...

Be careful. All four of the current candidates were jocks in high school. None have release info about any other leadership positions outside of sports. Hmmm.

(Hillary was student council VP, by the way)

Douglas LeBlanc said...

Given the invective directed at her family for most of this month -- Breeders! Fundamentalists! Trailer trash! Christianists! People who pray aloud in church! -- I find it amazing that Sarah Palin now stands accused of meanness.

None of the bullies I knew beginning in seventh grade had much use for people with Down syndrome. I cannot square this argument with the daily reality of modern politics, much less with the life Sarah Palin is living.

Amy Tracy said...

The seventh and eighth grade were hell years for me. The mean girls called me "aroma," and pushed me around. However, in my view, the yearbook and govenment crowd were not mean, just distant and focused on their own thing. The meanies were cheerleaders, and pretty girls that wore cool clothes. They had the time and the inclination to persecute odd ducks.

Palin, like most women in power (or at least the ones I've known and worked for -- Christian and non-Christian alike), are focused, compassionate, and dynamic ... but they also have a hard edge. Do your job well, be their advocate, and don't cross them.