The Hiller Instinct: Lipstick Smear
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In just a week, the number two Republican has become the nation's number one political personality. John McCain calls her a "charisma injection," and you don't have to be a doctor to see the energy and enthusiasm she's generating:
"Sarah Palin!" the announcer says. It was just seven days ago when she walked onto the stage at the GOP convention and charmed much of the country. Now she's so popular she's known by just her first name: Chant at a rally: "Sarah, Sarah!"
Women are buying her eyeglass frames-described as "classy" and "trendy". There are Sarah Palin dolls for sale...and even a video on how to copy her hair style. The stylist says, "Gather your hair up into a ponytail."
You have to go all the way back to 1960 and Jackie Kennedy to find a woman in politics as popular as Palin. Like today, women then tried to imitate her look, particularly her pill box hat. And men were struck, too. But there's a big difference: Jackie wasn't a candidate.
"Barack Obama!" the politician from Chicago says. Ironically, Barack Obama was the last political overnight sensation...bursting onto the national scene just as Sarah Palin did...at a political convention. And the speech Obama gave in Boston in 2004 is a foundation for his 2008 campaign.
So it's Obama-Mania versus Palin Fever, and right now, Sarah is getting the best of it. But don't forget, she is still unknown and there are still eight weeks until the election. If Obama's goal is to slow Sarah down, his "lipstick on a pig" comment may do the opposite.
Some voters will hear it as sexist, and that's an issue. Others will dismiss it, but wish he hadn't said it.
No matter what he meant, if he had it to do again, do you think he'd say it again? I don't.
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.
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