One thing I’ve learned in my almost 42 years of observing and listening to people (as well as doing my fair share of talking) is that human beings are by nature very fair. They are good about giving someone the benefit of the doubt – but they can also smell someone who’s disingenuous a mile away. Once they’ve made this determination, they write them off. Humans have little patience for self-serving folk, and I think it’s clear to those who don’t drink the kool-aid that that’s the kind of president we have in office.
Conversely, if someone is principled, honest, and has his or her heart in the right place — even if he or she isn’t impressive on paper — it is natural for humans to embrace such a person. I believe this is why people have warmed up to Sarah Palin and turned against Barack Obama. (There was a “shocker poll” in December that the Obama-Palin gap melted to one point.)
Obama may be better educated than Palin – Lord knows he sounds a helluva lot better when he opens his mouth – but eloquence only matters if the other stuff (authenticity, good ideas) are there. Palin is an interesting bird. Hard-core conservatives love her because, well, because she’s conservative — and that’s enough for any far right person. But Palin has a long way to go in terms of her overall knowledge of politics. If she surrounds herself with the right people, she’ll do well eventually. (Reagan was no intellectual either.)
Palin represents something new — an outspoken, female conservative who isn’t afraid to stand up to the powers that be — and that alone is refreshing. She’s also a populist, and thus her timing is great. Still, I’d like to see her take some lessons in conversational banter and start talking some specifics. If she improves in this area, I’d be glad to have her represent me.