Sarah Palin was recently compared to Sen. Joe McCarthy in her rabid and uneducated leadership of the uneducated and rabid proletariat. While it would seem that Sen. John McCain’s dismal showing in the last presidential race could be linked to Palin in terms of the significant drop he experienced once he named Palin to his ticket. While most of the country was intrigued and excited that McCain chose a strong female personality, few people knew enough of Palin to foresee the serious ineptitude she brought with her to the national political stage. But she got a taste of political power in the larger forum and she is seemingly unwilling to quietly go home and learn her craft. In quitting her post as the Alaskan Governor she has also shown herself to believe she is above further on-the-ground- leadership education. She is apparently preparing herself for a 2012 run for President despite having very limited experience in national, local or community leadership skills. When she enters the political stage at this point, she is whipping up the most irrational and least understanding bloc of the voting public.
I bring this up here in this forum, because while Sarah Palin is making a grand grab for hard power, M.Obama has been quietly manipulating her authority toward changing American lifestyles. M.Obama’s planting of gardens, showing her svelt bare arms, speechifying on family health and even commenting on social eating habits does not exert force on the public. What those tactics do is challenge the status quo through leadership by example. Where Sarah Palin espouses a socially conservative agenda while hypocritically raising her family on shaky moral grounds, M.Obama peeps not a sound about how her own parenting has (thus far) inculcated two charming children who seem rock-steady in the sharp-light focus on the first family. In stark difference to the Palin family – with Bristol’s baby-daddy posing nude in PlayGirl Magazine – M.Obama carefully has focussed her authority and attention towards leading by positive example.
And yet with my own personal feminist sensibilities, I am disappointed. What I want is impossible. I want a finally to have a female leader who will stand strong and be empowered, while leading through hard power. A leader who is strong enough to beat a man at the political game, yet soft in those feminine mannerisms that don’t scare off the political powerbase. Is there such a thing?