Formidable Talents of Sarah Palin: Like Her or Not, She’s A Natural Warrior Woman

1. She can deliver natural and biting satire in a funny way: parfum of The Simpsons, paraphrasing her speech here: ‘When they haul the Styrofoam pillars off Obama’s stage…. what is left that is real?’

2. She hired a writer who is an original rather than a ‘speech-writery’ one… one who apparently enhances how/who she is, rather than trying to make her say lofty things. That’s not her style. (The speech writers of this election cycle, from ALL sides, often sound like the writers tacked together aphorisms from quote books they thought were deep, just changing the words around a bit.)

3. She has a huge talent for mimicking others, for observation of human traits, for memorization, as well as the knack for delivery that appears sincere; her gestures are absolutely cohesive.

4. She is fiercely feminine.

5. She is ace-smart

6. She is an outsider who tonight, consistently says disarming things ‘insiders’ would never say, hardly even think to say.

7. She has a good voice, not a whiny one. It’s slightly, as I said, to the satiric side, but also warm, clear, articulate.

8. She is bold and common-sensical regarding her own milieu, political and familial.

9. She is completely comfortable and gives the appearance of realness, as opposed to some of the thick personas slabbed on by some Washingtonians.

10. She is not afraid, not self effacing, not woman-only identified. She is a protectoress, a woman who guards the perimeters.

Later, I’ll offer some thoughts on the potential danger areas of some of her strongest traits.

For now, her standards and values and beliefs will no doubt be supported and quarreled with, slammed around, uplifted, condemned.

But, her innate gifts that she has honed and turned toward leadership, toward being a running mate now, her talents will continue to make her a formidable opponent. For anyone.

It would be an error to think she is Senator Biden’s opponent. She isn’t.

She is Senator Obama’s opponent.

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

  • Ricorun

    It would be an error to think she is Senator Biden’s opponent. She isn’t. She is Senator Obama’s opponent.

    Interesting observation. But so far anyway it’s true — McCain has been irrelevant the last few days. Maybe the RNC will decide to let him deliver his speech by video tomorrow night.

  • T-Steel

    I deferred to my wife who is an Obama supporter and mother herself. She watched Palin’s entire speech intensely and only said:

    I do not like her. Seems fake to me. I like McCain much better.

    Personally I didn’t like the whole mocking tone concerning community organizers. My wife and I have been community organizers since graduating from high school. We’ve been part of and are still part of Junior Achievement, Salvation Army community organization, Habitat for Humanity (led several builds) and a few other grassroots initiatives. It isn’t some little job on the side. So the Republicans really got underneath my skin tonight in a bad way.

    And she seemed to “play the dozens” with Senator Obama in her speech. Real tough. I can see Obama’s campaign rethinking their strategy. A kind of “so she wants to go there” kind of approach from them. I don’t know how it will play out but the crowd ate it up.

  • Ricorun

    My dad was chairman of the Republican town committee of our little town (pop about 6-8000 at the time) for, well, forever. He served on the town council for a couple of decades and served two terms as first selectman (that’s what they call the mayor in many areas of New England).

    He also had a day job.

  • archangel

    wow t-steel, Junior Achievement, Salvation Army, me too. But, T, what is ‘play by the dozens?’ I’m not familiar with the phrase.


  • T-Steel

    “Playing the dozens” is a African-American (Black) oral tradition where two people basically trash talk either for sport. Each putdown just ups the ante on what the other will respond with. Gov. Palin “played the dozens” with Senator Obama in a political way (my take anyways).

    And Ricorun, my wife and I have day jobs also. I miss your point. I just don’t like the phrase “community organizer” framed as some sort of odd job. Those same Republican delegates are community organizers. And??

  • CharlesRevere

    She did well in reaching to her audience, which is those who do not realize that when a speaker is railing against Big Government in Washington that Spends Spends Spends, the reality is that it is the Bush administration that has been in power for 8 years and expanding the role of government and ballooned the deficit.

    She did a great job and has locked up the Stupid Vote for sure.

    Obama camp should not underestimate her. She is smart and feisty. She will do well on the campaign trail until one of the many skeletons in her closet (such as her affair with her husband’s business partner) blows this carefully crafted illusion to smithereens.

  • dgulbran

    1. She did have some good one-liners…

    2. She didn’t hire any speech writer… the McCain campaign was *all* over that. There were several lines (notably the “Obama is using change to win the election, McCain will win the election in order to change gov” lines have showed up in many other speeches at the convention.

    3. I dunno, at times I really felt she was reading, although at other times, she was on.

    4. No argument there.

    5. She’s definitely smart.

    6. I’m not so sure about that. I thought she was geared toward the base quite a bit, and it’s been pretty clear (I’ve even seen the *video* of her supporting the “Bridge to Nowhere”) that she’s not as much of an outsider as has been made out. And I think playing to that in her speech was a mistake. Those kinds of flip-flops, which *all* politicians will do–will come out more and not being up front about them hurts credibility.

    7. She has an odd accent… but I like it. Is that a common Alaska thing?

    8. I don’t think she came off very familial. In fact, tonight was the *first* time I’ve ever seen *her* holding Trig.

    9. She does come off as being real. But so does Obama. And McCain an Biden *both* come off as Washington, to me.

    10. I don’t even know what that means.

    She is definitely *not* Obama’s opponent, and that would be a critical error for the party to make at this point. McCain’s name is at the top of the ticket… and if they try to make the campaign too much about her–it’s McCain who will suffer–not Obama.

  • Leonidas

    The Democrats may have met their worst nightmare, a smart intelligent, charismatic, and very conservative pit bull in lipstick who has awakened the real America outside the beltway.

  • T-Steel

    I think Gov. Palin has made it tough for Senator McCain. He can’t been seen as less dynamic and forceful than Palin. It just wouldn’t look right (not a male-female thing but president-vice president thing).

    And who is this “real America”, Leonidas? Small towns? America is much more diverse than small towns.

    Personally I found Rudy Giuliani’s speech more interesting than Palin’s. But she did score more points in tone.

  • Dividist

    “It would be an error to think she is Senator Biden’s opponent. She isn’t. She is Senator Obama’s opponent..”

    Perfect. Great review Doc.

    So it is to be Experience and Eloquence vs. Eloquence and Experience. Interesting.

    Hey Steele – this whole Maddow – “oh it was inappropriately mocking and sarcastic…” meme comes off as kind of whiney. And the notion that somehow the Dems have been withholding fire up till now? Gimme a break.

  • Leonidas

    “This woman isn’t an answer to Hillary Clinton, she’s a cultural torpedo aimed directly at Barack Obama. She is Norma Rae America”.

    — Chris Matthews, MSNBC.

  • Ricorun

    T_Steele: And Ricorun, my wife and I have day jobs also. I miss your point.

    The point is that he did his mayor thing on nights and weekends — in a town of a size comparable to Wasilla.

  • Leonidas


    I specifically said out the beltway. She is small towns, she is the wild west, she is the union workers the city, she is the soccermom in the heartland, she is the small town in the South. She is the middle class and blue collar America not an ivy league ivory tower. She is meat and potatoes not Fondue.

  • T-Steel

    Maddow’s full of crap. Can’t stand her in the slightest. I’m not whining at all. It’s simply that I’ve dedicated boat loads of my time in community organization and can’t stand when people treat it like some “stupid hobby”. Note, I only emphasized the “community organization” bit. Other than that, I had no problem with what else was said. And delegates are community organizers themselves. Why talk about something that you are?

    If that’s whiny, then BS smells quite rosy…

  • T-Steel

    You know Leonidas, I couldn’t disagree with you more on your point:

    She is the middle class and blue collar America not an ivy league ivory tower. She is meat and potatoes not Fondue.

    She is a portion of the middle class. There is also a portion of the middle class that is me. Another like someone else. Wild west? Union workers in the city? My father was a skilled tradesman for Ford Motor Company for 40 years. I’ve seen a diverse group of union workers. Some gritty. Some refined. Some over-the-top. Some down to earth. Palin appeals to an image of a certain type of American. And she does a damn good job of appealing to that certain image.

    Sorry Ricorun. I get what you are saying now. Late night with little sleep.

  • laxcoach

    I don’t think she was putting down community organizers. I think she was making the point that as a political resume it is thin. I volunteer too. I don’t “answer to the people” in elections at the end of the day.

    The people in charge could tell me to go home, but there is no inherent responsibility in the position other than trying to be a good human and do good things. It’s a direct response to the “no experience” and “small town mayor” label that some are trying to attach.

    as to the wives… I shut my mouth and watched mine. She didn’t get some of the political jabs that referred to Obama quotes. But she did tear up at more than one point. She also said “my G*d this woman could be President someday.”

  • T-Steel

    Well I could be a little sensitive on the community organizing bit. So I’m going to drop that now.

    I REALLY feel that if Palin was at the top of Republican ticket then this race would be EXTREMELY interesting. Palin and Obama are around the same age. They both have their own unique ways of getting their points across. Palin’s much more energetic and lively than McCain. As I said before, McCain has a tough task ahead to better her speech.

  • Dividist

    I didn’t really take it as a shot at community organizers, but can understand how you took it that way. I saw it as a counter punch – the Dems have been disparaging her role as Mayor of Wasilla for days – including Obama himself in an interview with Anderson Cooper. She shot back. Pretty good shot too.

    The problem for the Dems, is that every time they take a shot at her experience, it inevitably results in a comparison to Obama’s experience. And when the resume for the top of the Dem ticket is being compared to the resume of the bottom of Rep ticket, it is a losing argument for the Dems, no matter how it turns out.

  • JSpencer

    Hmmm… I could see her speech rolling up on the teleprompter now and then and see her timing get off a couple times – but she covered well. I can see she will be liked for the sort of homespun persona she was projecting – by some people. I can also see how others will see her as contrived and less than honest about who she really is. I thought her kids were quite adorable. It will be interesting to see how much of a reaction she still has after tomorrow.

    When I compare and contrast what I’ve seen of convention speeches so far, it seems that after you blow away the chaff, what you are left with is one party trying to exploit hope and the other trying to exploit fear. One calls for solutions, the other tries to demonize the other. One enjoys dressing in the trappings of patriotism, the other seems worried about the country.

    I can’t help but think of all the middle-class and lower-class men and women who have given so much to this country, not just by all the grinding work they did through the years, but by their belief in right and wrong, their belief that the truth mattered. I think about all the normal salt of the earth people who made sacrifices for this country in distant lands, at places like Omaha Beach. These weren’t redstate or bluestate people, they weren’t privileged, influential or highly educated. They were united though, and they believed our country was important for everyone. This was a common vision that used to be referred to as the American dream.

    I worry that the American dream is gradually unravelling – despite all the real people over all those years who tried so hard to make it work. It seems to be more and more unreachable for an increasingly large portion of our citizens. These are tough times we are in. I can’t help but wonder how a young Franklin Roosevelt would be received if he came onto the scene in today’s political environment?

    I hope people think carefully about what they’ve seen and heard so far.

  • archangel

    dear dgulbran. sorry #10 might not be clear to all. It’s military talk. Im a USAF wife for 21 years of my marriage. Walking the perimeters is a day or night assignment to make sure the compound, base, camp, piece of ground is secure from intruders. The soldier walks the permieters of the land thereby.


  • archangel

    dear T-Steel
    thanks for that clarification. I get it, it’s like our Latino :Tu Mami! (Yah, your Mother…) I looked around on the net a bit and came with this… some think the origins of ‘playing the dozens,’ has to do with slaves who were devalued for age, or physical or mental condition…. and these were not sold individually but ‘by the dozen.’ Completely chilling. In spanish we call tha game or song that came from experiences of harm, a ‘laughing agony’…or laughing at agony

    And thanks for using the phrase so we could learn.


  • Guest

    This speech was red meat. She performed well. For those who wanted substance, they’d better hope that McCain delivers tomorrow, as it is going to be fodder for the Dems to ask over and over “just WHAT reforms are you talking of?”

    The bridge to nowhere line is a mistake. She was for it. She kept the money that was sent. John McCain opposed it, as well as others she championed.

    That is NOT reform. That’s a small town opportunist.

    Oh and BTW, I’m a councilman in my community of 3200. We have a budget of $57 million (thanks, tourists!). I’m NOT ready to lead the nation when the chances of my president making it to 80 are 1-in-3 according to actuarial tables.

    But I’m sure okay posting here.

    And no, Obama is NOT her opponent. I agree with the poster above, which the author seems to not get: Her vs. Obama is a win for Obama. And McCain knows better. Their ticket together is a much more formidable challenge for Obama/Biden only if taken together.

  • archangel

    Hi there Councilman, having been the chair of the State Grievance Board here for 13 years (retired last year) I wanted to tell you congratulations and condolences…it’s a heck of a civic work you’re doing. If you want to write about how a councilperson is or isnt prepared to ‘lead a nation’ as vp, from your own experience on Council, let me know. I think we could likely run it here as a Guest Voice. I think that would be interesting to our readers.

    I can see too, I should have clarified more in my last line about Palin being an opponent of Sen. Obamas. My thinking is that Palin is on Barack’s opponent’s ticket with her entire milieu of talents, hazards, and what might be ‘unpredictable responses’ to various, et al. I think, just my two cent’s worth, she may be far more a challenge to Senator Obama to carefully pick his way through, than say, Joe Leiberman would have been, who is known entity, with little x factor.


  • pacatrue

    Well, I agree that Palin is smart, a fighter, and strong in her beliefs, all great things. The problem for me is that I disagree with many of her beliefs for the direction of our country. I hope that the idea of actually governing instead of being a cool person with decent political experience and great one-liners re-emerges over the next 2 months.

  • archangel

    “I hope that the idea of actually governing instead of being a cool person with decent political experience and great one-liners re-emerges ”

    exactly: from your lips to everyone’s ears pacatrue…


  • CStanley

    T-steel, I can understand your reaction to the community organizer jab too but like laxcoach I saw it as a counterpunch to the Obama supporters who’ve dissed her resume. I mean, Bill Maher made a joke comparing her to a frickin’ stewardess!

    Your response is natural, of course, and no one can say you are wrong to feel that way- but remember too, that that’s exactly how a lot of people have felt about some of the comments that have come out of the Obama campaign which are seen as demeaning to conservatives, demeaning to small town America, gun owners, etc. So now perhaps you can understand why some people have had a visceral dislike for that kind of rhetoric?

  • CStanley

    “I hope that the idea of actually governing instead of being a cool person with decent political experience and great one-liners re-emerges”

    But doesn’t this line of thinking naturally lead people to look at Obama the same way (and he’s at the top of the ticket), to hope that “the idea of actually governing instead of being a cool person with decent poltical experience and great one-liners soaring, inspirational rhetoric re-emerges.”

    In terms of political strategy, I think that’s the great brilliance of the Palin pick. If anyone has concerns about her possibly having to take over the #1 spot if McCain dies or is incapacitated, then you’d have to similarly focus on whether Obama is ready for that on day one.

  • DLS

    Palin is overshadowing McCain right now, that is for certain.

    Palin is overshadowing Obama right now, that is for certain.

    Palin appeals to people nation-wide and has given the McCain campaign a real chance to win. Maybe that’s why we see all the mischief really starting to be unleashed from so many of the usual ugly places and sources.

  • Ricorun

    CStanley: T-steel, I can understand your reaction to the community organizer jab too but like laxcoach I saw it as a counterpunch to the Obama supporters who’ve dissed her resume. I mean, Bill Maher made a joke comparing her to a frickin’ stewardess!

    Bill Maher, huh? Isn’t he a comedian? The problem as I see it is the counterpunches are coming from the top. One thing that struck me about last night is that though the McCain campaign likes to talk about bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, the message last night was completely partisan. Virtually every speaker, up to and including Palin, didn’t just criticize “the other side”, they belittled them, and particularly Obama, without offering any olive branches. It’s one thing to hear that on HotAir, or RedState, or even Fox News, but the RNC?

    Heaven knows how people are going to react, but I suspect if you’re a person who can’t identify with that, it didn’t play well.

  • ChrisWWW

    But doesn’t this line of thinking naturally lead people to look at Obama the same way

    Obama has very detailed policy proposals. His speeches, by and large, are not about tearing down the opposition. He hasn’t lied about the core of his political biography.

  • archangel

    T-steel I encourage you to write about what a community organizer actually is, from your hard-earned experience. Not sure the title is very descriptive of the work. There is a hierarchy of ‘titles’ in our cutlure. Thus a paralegal who might actually know the research means deeply is considered below an atty, who may or may not really be intererested in the guts of the law, but just the courtroom explicaitions. Same for Registered Nurse’s Assistants (once called Aides,) considered less than an RN until you see the critical work they do. Same for ‘physician’s assistants’ who can write scrips but are considered less than a dr….until you see the intensive work they do, that is often superior in time and judgment and knowledge compared to some of the celebrity docs for instance. Community activists: life’s blood. Usually in the trenches doing the heavy lifting. Maybe might be society page people, but usually not down in the grit and dust like the community orgs.

    write t-steels


  • spirasol

    My visceral reaction to Sarah Palin was fear. She has all the strengths others have written about and in addition she is manipulative, hypocritical and confrontational (a maelstrom of American narcissism and ambition and a super-mom) She is a pit bull of sorts and for her to come in the form of a woman I will admit frightens me. She’s a pit bull because she is willing to play outside the rules. Remove the barriers, safety nets, and the truth too………….she taunts and provokes her opponent to step ankle deep in the mud. Behind the coach eggs her on and she barks, showing her fangs to the admiration of the crowd.

    No she is not Obama’s opponent, but to be sure whenever he needs to rouse the crowd or someone to attack, McCain will allow the leash to slide of his wrist.

    And there they stand, the POW with a bad temper and the non-feminist feminist, locked together, the over determined introvert and the over determined extrovert, in a bag race for the future of the Empire.

  • archangel

    “allow the leash to slide off his wrist. ”

    quite a poignant word-picture dear spirasol.

    The entire process this year seems Gothicshakespearean in many ways. I think I ought review the ‘king’ plays again to see what the Bard had to say about similar matters; he did speak clearly about the covert.

    Time will likely tell.

    I think the games begin perhaps late Sunday night, not sure. But, I sense’ the saving of best/worst’ for last is coming yet