Sarah Palin: The Most Significant Woman Of The Past Decade? Hardly

Just how significant is Sarah Palin in the grand scheme of things?

The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, who is the author of The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and, well, here’s the conversation:

GEIST: You said a minute ago, Matt, she’s the most significant woman of the 21st century. I can just hear our viewers screaming at their TVs. What about Hillary Clinton? Do you really think she’s the most significant, more so than Hillary Clinton?

BRZEZINSKI: I can’t, I can’t –

LEWIS: I said arguably, and I think you could make a case for Nancy Pelosi, as well, by the way, and Hillary Clinton and I’m sure some others. But I think you could make a good case for Palin because of the way — look at the Tea Party movement, which she was sort of at the forefront of. I think you could make a good case that Sarah Palin was in fact the most significant woman in terms of driving the debate, and certainly in terms of media coverage Sarah Palin has dominated it.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, but so does Paris Hilton, but that doesn’t mean they’re significant.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on one second, don’t — let me stop right here. Don’t compare her to Paris Hilton.

BRZEZINSKI: I didn’t. I’m just saying –

SCARBOROUGH: You said so is Paris Hilton. You put her in the same category.

BRZEZINSKI: No. I’m saying there are people who get media coverage that maybe shouldn’t?

SCARBOROUGH: She’s one of two women — hold on a second, Matt.

LEWIS: The death panel comment is –

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, hold on, hold on. Okay, let’s put it in perspective. I’m tired of her. People ask, “Why do we bring her up.” They’ll ask, “Why are we talking about her here.” You talk about Paris Hilton. I think that feeds into that narrative. Here’s the bottom line: She is one of the two only women who have ever been nominated for vice president of the United States of America. That ain’t nothing. It’s just like Dan Quayle for four years after he was vice president –

BRZEZINSKI: Okay, you’re going to have to let me respond.

SCARBOROUGH: — garnered more attention than that. That is why she remains significant.

BRZEZINSKI: No. I’m going to tell you there already was one and given the women that we have on the global landscape today, like Hillary Clinton, I mean, my lord. I’m sorry.

SCARBOROUGH: She’s in the top 10. I’m not saying she’s the most significant. You compared her to Paris Hilton.

BRZEZINSKI: No. I compared his statement about media coverage to Paris Hilton, okay? So, you know, you can jump on that like some of the –

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey concentrates on Mika Brezinski’s comparison of Palin with Paris Hilton, which may have been a little over the top. However, the broader point that the media has spent the last two years treating Palin as a far more important figure than she actually is happens to be pretty close to the truth. Every utterance, every Facebook note, every Tweet ends up being fodder for the insane world of cable television political punditry. Why? It’s not because the media hates Palin, it’s because she (1) is a constant source of content, (2) draws viewers. The same thing could be said for coverage of Lindsey Lohan’s court battles, Charlie Sheen, or the Casey Anthony trial. If I was going to compare Palin to anyone, though, it wouldn’t be Paris Hilton, it would be her fellow TLC alumnus Kate Gosselin in that they both seem primarily concerned with the trappings of fame and celebrity.

Has Palin had an impact on politics? Certainly, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near the impact that her supporters, and the pundits, tell us it is. She was the bottom half of a losing Presidential ticket, in that regard she belongs in the same category as Geraldine Ferraro and Dan Quayle. As much as I like Matt Lewis’s writing, the idea that she’s anywhere close to being the “most significant woman” of the past decade is just silly. If that title belongs to anyone, it would be someone like Hillary Clinton or, to look across the ocean, Angela Merkel. Palin was Governor for two years, ran for Vice-President, quit her job, and then endorsed a few candidates in 2010. Since then she’s distinguished herself mostly by writing some stuff on Facebook and Twitter and taking a bus trip. If that’s all she ends up having done politically, then she’ll be remembered as the first female Republican candidate for Vice-President, and that’s it. If she doesn’t run for President, then ten years from now there will be a lot of people who are likely to be wondering whatever happened to that Sarah Palin person.

 

That last part may be the thing that finally gets Palin into the 2012 race, by the way. If she doesn’t run then her place in the GOP is going to be eclipsed, by the eventual nominee and by Michele Bachmann. She may think that only by getting into the race can she protect the all important Palin Brand which she has, after all, trademarked. If that’s her thinking, then the fact that she absolutely, positively cannot win a General Election wouldn’t really matter to her.

 

 

FILED UNDER: Politicians, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Hillary, Pelosi, Condi Rice…

    ….what exactly has Palin done to influence anything?

  2. PJ says:

    FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Doug Mataconis, Politicians, US Politics

    Whis is this filed under Barack Obama?
    Are you trying to hide your Sarah Palin posts? 😉

  3. ponce says:

    ….what exactly has Palin done to influence anything?

    She won Obama the presidency.

  4. @PJ: Mistagged, obviously 🙂

  5. PJ says:

    @ponce:

    She won Obama the presidency.

    I’d argue that not picking Palin wouldn’t have helped McCain.
    Picking Palin has overshadowed the other crazy things McCain did, like when he stopped his campaign to focus on the economy.

    But I think the pick helped electing Democratic Senators and Representatives.

  6. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Oh bloody. Did you really have to link that Hot Air article? I must have lost 20 points of IQ reading the comments alone.

    None of the morons was able to realize to what the remark was a followup, despite the fact that the whole interview was printed verbatim in the article.

    Instead they all agreed that it was a personal attack and proceeded to a) personally attack Brzezinski b) personally attack Hillary Clinton and c) make bad jokes about women.

    What a bunch of idiots.

  7. John Malk-o-vich says:
  8. Cynic in NY says:

    If anything she may be significant in the views of US female conservatives, in being able to top her fellow Neocon sisters Coulter and Malkin in hatred from the left.

  9. Jay Tea says:

    Doug, name a woman who has influenced your blogging at least half as much. Who’s been the subject of anywhere near as many postings as Palin.

    I double-dog dare ya.

  10. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Who’s been the subject of anywhere near as many postings as Palin.

    C’mon. That was the whole point of that quote. Being talked about does not make one The Most Significant Woman Of The Past Decade. If it did, she wouldn’t stand a chance of claiming that title against Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga.

  11. Jay Tea says:

    So, Ebenezer, by that reckoning, Hillary Clinton is just one crotch-shot away from achieving true legendary status?

    J.

  12. ponce says:

    I

    f it did, she wouldn’t stand a chance of claiming that title against Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga.

    True

    Marketers use Q rating, which factors in both how well known a brand is and how well liked it is, to judge a brand’s worth.

    In Palin’s market segment, there quite a few NASCAR drivers and country music singers who regularly earning between $20-40 million a year…well above Palin’s reported income.

  13. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    So, Ebenezer, by that reckoning, Hillary Clinton is just one crotch-shot away from achieving true legendary status?

    Probably. I mentioned that I consider it an idiotic theory, rightly criticized by Brzezinski, didn’t I ?
    😉

  14. Jay Tea says:

    Fair cop, Ebenezer. But note that Doug focuses on politics. I’m hardly an expert on his volume of work, but I know he does Palin stories with exceptional frequency — and I don’t recall him covering any of those others.

    But then again, I tend to ignore them (and articles about them), so I very well could have missed it.

    Confession time: Hillary was NOT my first choice for that example. But if I’m gonna get myself banned from here, it’s gonna be of my own time and circumstances — and this ain’t either.

    J.

  15. Wiley Stoner says:

    She is to you Dougie. You have written more about Palin than you have about the President or any other single topic. Admit it, you are smitten. I have not researched it, but I am willing to bet there are over 50 articles by you on Palin this year alone. If she is not significant, why are you writing about her? I also bet you downloaded the released emails from Alaska and are reading them, not for content but to find some dirt to throw.

  16. A voice from another precinct says:

    I think all you guys should quit picking on Doug about Palin and PDS. Doug is a product of a media-driven business and knows that if he want’s to generate “buzz” about himself, he’s going to need to rile up the great unwashed–i.e. you guys. Compare the thread lengths for his posts to the thread lengths for Joiner or Taylor and tell me who has the readership (which, in the end, is all that matters in blogging and Q factor).

    In some ways, this all reminds me of something Muhammad Ali said about his early boxing career. He noted that his schtick was part of his personality but that it was particularly important in the South because when he would make his predictions, recite his poems and such the people would flock to the box office for tickets to “watch the braggin’ [expletive, deleted] get his.”

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    She is to you Dougie.

    @Wiley Stoner:

    Ya know, Doug has his faults, (don’t we all) but has it ever occured to any of you idiots that every time he “complains about Sarah Palins latest utterances” he is not really complaining about her latest utterances….

    BUT THAT YOU IDIOTS ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THEM???????

    Ok ok…. I am calmed down now… got that off my chest….

  18. Tom p, but Doug isn’t even commenting on Sarah Palin’s utterances. Now the obsession has bled over to having to comment about other people commenting about Sarah Palin so he has another chance to say one more time just how terrible she is.

    Whatever. I just think the Sarah Palin obsession is bizarre. I’m beginning to have trouble with the cognitive dissonance between the “got to make sure the wrong people don’t get in the tent” and the “we have to make the tent big enough to win” memes that get thrown out whenever anything is published or televised about Sarah Palin or Sarah Palin’s comments or Sarah Palin’s non-comments or what someone else thinks about Sarah Palin or Sarah Palin’s comments or Sarah Palin’s non-comments.

  19. DMan says:

    Fact is, rightfully in my opinion, people think Sarah Palin is some combination of a crazy, intellectually dishonest, intellectually lazy, opportunist. She also had widespread support of one of the two major political parties in this country. Some political pundits and commentators choose to ignore her hoping she would go away, and others decided to taking a more active approach in covering her actions to demonstrate her ridiculousness and even covering the larger media circus that treated her seriously. She hasn’t gone away by any means, but it appears through active coverage, she is at least being taken less seriously by the voters.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/palins-popularity-declines-among-republicans/

  20. DMan says:

    Whatever. I just think the Sarah Palin obsession is bizarre. I’m beginning to have trouble with the cognitive dissonance between the “got to make sure the wrong people don’t get in the tent” and the “we have to make the tent big enough to win” memes that get thrown out whenever anything is published or televised about Sarah Palin or Sarah Palin’s comments or Sarah Palin’s non-comments or what someone else thinks about Sarah Palin or Sarah Palin’s comments or Sarah Palin’s non-comments.

    Makes sense you would be confused, you’re actively in one tent and have lost objectivity as a result. You’re trying to square what’s good for the tent’s long term goals with what’s currently in the tent. You have a troublemaker in the tent with enough support to damage the tent as a whole if she is ostracized. Ignoring her would be the best option in this case, as you can keep the tent the way it is and work on expanding it. You’re confused because this makes sense to you, yet she isn’t being ignored. Perhaps if you stepped outside the tent once in a while you’d realize why many people dislike this woman yet continue to cover her. Note, some of them are in an opposing tent, and yet others remain objectively out of any tent and have seen her for what she is.

  21. DMan, Thanks for the advice on how I can be a good libertarian.

  22. DMan says:

    @charles austin:

    No problem, I was once a good libertarian. After struggling with it for a while, I felt I was rationalizing my position far more often than being rational. It was getting so bad that I was starting to believe that wherever market failure existed, (which was always over blown in my opinion… because I was a libertarian and knew better) I felt the free market would eventually find out about it and fix it!

    Anyway, removing that identity has made me wary of identifying too strongly with any label. In just the same way, I wouldn’t trust a scientist who started with a conclusion and then “proved it.” Having a little doubt in any hypothesis can go a long way towards a more objective conclusion.