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Tale of the Tape: Obama vs. Palin

Polar opposite visions of what leadership should be.

by
David B. Jenkins

Bio

December 19, 2010 - 12:00 am
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On December 4, 2009, pollster Matt Towery predicted that President Barack Obama’s approval ratings would drop to somewhere in the mid-40s by mid-2010. To his surprise, it took only a few days. By the second week of December, Obama’s approval had faded to 47 percent in a Gallup poll. The number of Americans who approve of the president’s job performance has gone as low as 41 percent, and he fares even worse among independent voters. All of this despite incessant drum-beating on his behalf by the MSM.

At the same time, Sarah Palin — whose favorability rating in some polls went as low as 39 percent in July when she resigned as Alaska’s governor — is currently at 46 percent in a recent AP-GfK poll, even though the MSM has treated her to a barrage of disparagement perhaps unequaled in American political history. Yet among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, Palin is viewed favorably by 80 percent — a higher rating than any other potential GOP presidential candidate. And 63 percent of everyday Americans say their views are more like Palin’s than Obama’s.

At first glance, Mrs. Palin and President Obama have many things in common. They are both physically attractive, mid-40s young, and have attractive spouses and families to which they are openly devoted. Both have strong leadership qualities and are dynamic speakers, arguably the two best on the political scene in recent years. In addition, they share to some degree an outsider’s perspective on American politics, hailing as they do from the states most recently added to the union, the only states which are not part of the continental U.S. Scratch beneath their personable surfaces, though, and they represent polar opposite visions of what leadership in this country should look like.

Obama presents as a victim; Palin a victor.

Dragged from pillar to post by an unstable mother and finally dumped on his grandparents, the young Barry Obama seems to have formed the habit of feeling sorry for himself early on. By the age of 12 or 13, as he tells us in his book, he ” … found solace in a sense of grievance and animosity against my [white] mother’s race.” He was mentored by Communist and sexual deviant Frank Marshall Davis through his teen years, and in college consistently chose to associate with radicals and Marxists. As a disciple of Saul Alinsky, he worked as a community organizer nurturing a sense of victimhood among the poor and disadvantaged. For 20 years he was a member of a church which taught black liberation theology, a cult which portrays black people as downtrodden and oppressed. He has built his career on appealing to those who prefer to consider themselves victims in this life.

Sarah Heath Palin, on the other hand, grew up in a lower-middle-class family in the demanding, near-frontier environment of Alaska, where she learned a can-do attitude early in life. She led her high-school basketball team to a state championship while playing on a broken ankle. As a young wife and mother she worked with her husband on his salmon-fishing boat in all kinds of weather. Since being selected as the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, she has endured personal attacks and vilification unprecedented in living memory. Far from being a victim, she chooses to display courage, grace, optimism, and what can only be described as a joyous spirit.

Palin is gracious, Obama is a churl.

Sarah Palin makes a point of being publicly gracious, even praising Obama’s speech at the Nobel award ceremony.

Mr. Obama can be gracious when he wants to be — usually to enemies of our country. But while in Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he snubbed his host, the king of Norway, just as he had snubbed the Dalai Lama and some of our most faithful allies. He has given “gifts” to the queen and prime minister of Great Britain, our closest ally, that were nothing more than thinly veiled insults. And he has few kind words to say about his predecessor, George W. Bush, whom he still attempts to blame for most of our nation’s problems.

Obama has campaigning ability, Palin has executive ability.

Getting himself elected to the nation’s highest office on a wave of nebulous “hope and change” was no small accomplishment. Though after nearly two years as “chief executive” he is still campaigning, which is not surprising — it’s the only thing he knows how to do. He had zero executive experience before entering the oval office, and has continued to pass the buck on governing. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, since the voters soundly rejected his agenda in the 2010 mid-term elections. (However, he continues to protest that the voters did not reject his agenda – they just failed to understand it.)

Certainly no slouch as a campaigner herself, Governor Palin has also proven to be an effective administrator, establishing a stellar record all the way from her home town mayor’s office to the Alaska governor’s office, where she earned an incredible 80-plus percent approval rating from her fellow citizens.

Obama has more foreign affairs experience than Palin, but that’s not a plus for him.

Surprisingly, it is not common for presidents to enter office with foreign affairs experience. In fact, the only one to do so since 1974 was George H.W. Bush, who had been U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, chief liaison to China under President Ford, and director of the CIA. How much foreign policy experience did Jimmy Carter have? Ronald Reagan? Bill Clinton? George W. Bush?

Prior to becoming president, Barack Obama had no foreign affairs experience, unless you count a brief visit to Pakistan when he was 20 years old. During his time in office, Obama’s foreign affairs experience has consisted of alienating our allies and kowtowing to our enemies. On balance, a net minus.

Palin does not claim foreign affairs experience. However, she claims two principles which are clearly the antidote to Obama’s bowing to foreign rulers: she knows that America must be strong in order to be safe, and she knows that we must develop our own resources and end our dependence on foreign oil in order to be strong.

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