Sarah Palin's Power over the Public

USA TODAY, November 2011 | Go to article overview

Sarah Palin's Power over the Public


What makes Sarah Palin so irresistible? She has not held a public office since she resigned as governor of Alaska more than two years ago and has not declared herself a candidate for president, but the release of a tell-all book thrust her back into the limelight and a McClatchy-Marist poll shows her to be a favorite among independent voters.

Historian Michael Foster, coauthor of A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, believes that Palin's hold on Americans makes her a dangerous woman, which he says is a step beyond feminism.

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"Historically, certain women have been considered 'dangerous,' whether in a political or military sense," he explains. "Palin's ascendance mirrors that of women like Joan of Arc, who threatened the male dominated culture of her day. It's not that Palin was the first vice-presidential candidate from a major party, but, rather, the way she embraced that role. Geraldine Ferraro, who was on the Democratic Party's ticket alongside Walter Mondale in 1984, campaigned as if she was almost apologetic about being a candidate. …

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