Monday, May 9, 2011

Politicians are Celebrities - Is Palin to blame?

I was reading a Newsweek article from 2008 entitled, "The Hot New Celeb? Sarah! The tabloids have discovered the appeal of politics." This article was striking because a) it painted Palin in a rather flattering light, even going so far as to say her speech at the Republican National Convention was "Oscar worthy" and b) it credits Palin for the politicians becoming celebrities phenomenon.

Is it really Palin with her $150,000 clothing budget that allowed regular readers of US Weekly to suddenly become interested in politics or at least politicians (literally) on the surface? Personally I feel this phenomenon began long before the 2008 campaign. It seems to be the spirit of the age to focus on the externality of all the figures we surround ourselves with, politicians included.

So the question is - is this negative or positive? Since politicians have gained celebrity status, they are talked about more in pop culture circles and this does give them more exposure. But do we even want this? I guess I wonder as time goes on, if political figures will drift even more toward Hollywood and perfectly capable politicians will not thrive because they lack that external image and politics will then become entirely issueless. What do you think?


  1. I would actually venture to say that Obama created this more than Palin. It was Obama who gained popularity through celebrities. He was on Oprah (actually she was too, but still), and although he did not pay for the ads, celebrities like and others created ads for his campaign. I do think it's a problem when people like Donald Trump get involved in politics. But I don't think it's terrible if politicians are viewed in a pop culture circle, at least people are becoming slightly more educated. However, I think it's important that the politician not loose sight of his goals and who he really is.

  2. I think it's a long-term trend. This goes back to at least Ronald Reagan, and maybe earlier. Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor became president because they won a few battles!