Monday, June 14, 2010

The Next Reagan and the Next Thatcher

The Daily Mail reports that Sarah Palin has approached Margaret Thatcher in hope of a meeting/photo-op. If a UK trip is really on the cards, it seems typical of Palin's style - vague and symbolic. An unnamed source remarked that "Palin’s people haven’t said anything about meeting Cameron. Their main interest is getting a picture of her with Lady Thatcher. I’m not sure they know who David Cameron is." In other words, if Palin is planning a foreign trip in advance of a presidential run, it will focus on the iconic, rather than the substantial (unlike Reagan's own meeting with Thatcher in 1978, perhaps).

The same, or another, unnamed source goes on to reflect on the purpose of the overture: "Palin’s big hero is Ronald Reagan. In US Republican folklore Thatcher and Reagan brought down the Soviet Union between them. That’s why Maggie is so important." An excitable Washington Examiner columnist has also represented this in terms of Palin's claim on the Reagan mantle. The suggestion of her meeting Thatcher seems to further confirm her as the "heir to Ronald Reagan". There is, though, more than this association to Palin's interest in the former PM. Thatcher is occasionally held up in Going Rogue as both a heroic proponent of the free market and "creative destruction", and implicitly as a model of female leadership. The blessing of the West's most famous and successful stateswoman might bestow Palin with some new gravity and credibility.

Žižek has compared Palin's style with that of traditional female leaders such as Thatcher:
Earlier generations of women politicians...were what is usually referred to as "phallic" women: they acted as "iron ladies" who imitated and tried to outdo male authority, to be "more men than men themselves."...Jacques-Alain Miller pointed out how Sarah Palin, on the contrary, proudly displays her femininity and motherhood.
It is bound to be a curious meeting, if it ever happens.

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