There was an interesting article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal called The Triumph of Culture Over Politics by Lee Siegal. It explains how the meaning of culture (here we go again, redefining words) has morphed from how my generation would define it to it's more popular usage today. My generation would look at great music, art and theater as "culture". Today it's the "culture" of the Christian Conservatives or the "culture" of small town America.
Reading it reminded me of why I was so enthused about Ronald Reagan's run for the White House after four years of Jimmy Carter. At the time I felt the "home spun" President, who's wife wore the same off the rack gown she wore to his Gubernatorial inagural ball to his Presidential inaugural ball, was a bit too folksy. The Reagans brought back class. I'll admit that sounds extremely...shall I say "elitist"? And it was. There were far more important issues to be considered. It was not, however, a totally invalid thought.
In thinking how the rest of the world views us, impressions do count. Why do you suppose tens of thousands of people turned out to see Obama on his recent overseas swing? A large part had to do with the persona of the man. The image of what they, the world, has of what our leader should be like. His grace; yes, his worldliness.
I've had enough of the good old boy types who give unexpected and unwanted neck massages to the Chancellor of Germany and gets the attention of the British Prime Minister by calling, "Yo, Blair!" with a mouthful of food.
This same type of good old down home behavior also seems to be part of Sarah Palin's appeal. All the hockey mom as pitbull with lipstick and the moose shooting schtick that is so appealing to the media, and certainly a portion of the electorate, does not impress me in the least.
The McCain campaign let her out on her own yesterday. She didn't have a news anchor to brashly address as "Charlie", but she did have a husband she introduced as "Alaska's First Dude". First Dude??
It may have played well in Reno but how does it play in the rest of the world? Wait! Is that a collective groan? Is that laughter I'm hearing? I'm not sure, but it is definitely not applause.