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Princess Diana and Sarah Palin: Mirror Images?

3 years ago
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Sarah Palin is the political Princess Diana.

That's what one GOP source told me recently. "Let's be honest. If she didn't have looks, we wouldn't be talking about her. You wouldn't be covering her. She's like Princess Diana."

Shallow? Yes. But isn't there truth there?

Princess Diana captured hearts at age 19 when Prince Charles selected her as a bride. Sarah Palin hit the scene when Sen. John McCain picked her as his running mate, although she'd already had a spread in Vogue as Alaska's governor.

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Princess Diana and Sarah Palin: Mirror Images?

Princess Diana, for the most part, was a celebrity who used her power for good. Sure, she visited the White House and danced with John Travolta. She engaged in charity work, especially in the areas of AIDS and leprosy. She wore stunning clothes but gave very few interviews. She seemed unapproachable, like a China doll to be admired but not touched, even in the last year of her life when she lobbied in a high-profile crusade against land mines.

Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, but then gave up her governorship to spend more time in the lower 48 states. Palin's charity work comes in the form of SarahPAC. She shows up, and candidates raise a lot of money for their campaigns. Many politicos agree that Palin hasn't done much as far as resume building, say like Hillary Clinton, who served eight years in the Senate, for a White House run.

Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant, said this week that Palin is "a media star and a great curiosity" but is lacking on political credentials. Rollins said on CNN, "You were plucked out of political obscurity because of the whim of presidential contender John McCain, who didn't know you and made you into an overnight sensation. You performed well for three weeks in the campaign, did better than expected against Joe Biden in the debate, and then you self-destructed."

Rollins may have gone a little far by using "self-destruct" to describe Palin. If anything, she has reinvented herself much in the vein that Diana did after her divorce from Prince Charles. Palin has carved a path in Republican politics using SarahPAC and social media. If Diana were alive in the 21st century, she might very well give Palin or Lady Gaga a run for their tweets by engaging with her fans online.

Diana made headlines just for crossing a street or wearing a designer gown -- or even a pair of blue jeans -- with paparazzi in tow. In this modern age of microscopic details, Palin gets attention every time she tweets, posts a Facebook note, signs a book or appears on a radio or television show. It doesn't matter if she is commenting on WikiLeaks, North Korea, Alaska or her daughter Bristol's recent appearance on "Dancing With the Stars." Women want Palin's upswept hairstyle and her glasses.

Trendsetting aside, Palin shares with Diana a must-have job skill to catapult to the celebrity stratosphere -- working the media -- including, these days, social media.

It may seem like Palin talks a lot, but, in fact, she doesn't. Like Diana and the royal family, Palin tightly controls her own message with the help of Rebecca Mansour, a mystery woman who is communications director for SarahPAC. Mansour allegedly tweets and posts Facebook notes for Palin in the former vice-presidential candidate's unyielding, and at times snarky, tone. Palin has even created her own show about Alaska to further enhance an image of a Mama Grizzly who takes no prisoners or animals. Or fish!

Palin only appears on television shows that are "Sarah friendly," which don't play hardball or ask her questions she doesn't want to answer. Diana often did the same thing.

As some outlets reported at the time of her death, Diana indulged in a passive-aggressive love affair with the media. She favored reporters who helped create her image of a golden goddess in a "loveless marriage." She, along with a press secretary (a royal version of Mansour) and later solo, used the media to sculpt her image through favored media contacts.

As PBS' "Frontline" reported in 1997, one editor invited Diana to lunch at The Sun. Diana let him know she knew all about him. She teased him with "I hear you are a friend of Camilla's." As the "Frontline" story says, "The truth is that the princess had been colluding in her own coverage at least since March 1991."

Sound familiar? Palin coined the term "lamestream media" to call out those who don't play her game.

It only helps that, like Diana, Palin has great hair, a marathoner's body and a telegenic face. The Learning Channel isn't exactly rushing to sign Sharron Angle for a show about Nevada.

Even after Diana's death, the royal spotlight shone on the royal family. Diana's son, Prince William, and his impending wedding to Kate Middleton will keep all eyes on all things royal for months to come. Palin, in the same vein, is using her family to keep herself in the news.Through her reality television show, Palin introduces audiences on her own terms to her immediate family, as well as nieces and nephews.

It's as if Palin is creating her own royal family since America doesn't have one.

Diana wanted to seem more like a commoner after her failed marriage. Palin, a political commoner, wants to show the world that she isn't a blue-blood living in a mansion -- while making the money so she could. So far, she's doing very well at the game.
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jkbraaten

It is pleasing to finally start seeing decent coverage of Sarah Palin and her family. There has been way to much of an indecent nature. Their detractors spew hate from the protection of their computor screens but NEVER do anything themselves to make this country better. Shame shame on you!! God bless Sarah Palin and her family.

December 06 2010 at 10:12 AM
memorymanwes

Sarah you are beautiful in every way. I'm impressed that you made your way into the headlines and the news. Your beautiful face really graces the pages. Princess Diana is beautiful too. It takes common sense to see that even though you look alike, with all the wonderful things you do, there is not time to lead a double life. I would love for you to be our president. But it doesn't matter what happens. Scripture is being fulfilled. The American people will be surprised. Even those who consider themselves wise will suddenly see their stupidity. Let this message come to you, to bless you, by the magnetic waves of the powers that be.

December 06 2010 at 10:08 AM
Just Mary

Please remove this article from the web, its an insult to the United Kingdom and the English people and that is not fair' they have had our backs for a long time and to disrespect their Princess in this manner is awful and CRUDE! I am one American who apoligizes for this slur.

December 06 2010 at 10:07 AM
ccfpinc

Thank God Sarah is not anything like Diana. Ok the Princess had great PR work with Aids and Land Mines but the reality is just PR work. She disgraced the royal family by cheating on the Prince. When she died she was dating a muslim, of course one that was richer then a Prince. Very loyal to her own religion. She reminded me of our own almost royal Jaqueline. She had an always available commoner after the death of John but when it came to marriage it was the richest man in the world. Big "O" who also had an every day "Maria" for years. Sarah is original and her family relates to working class Americans with the same everyday problems. As for the disgruntled blacks no Republican should waste much energy on a group that votes 95% Liberal. I remember when 95%blacks voted for Dinkins for Mayor in New York, The Press called it "Following Their Candidate". When the Staten Island whites voted for Guilliani the Press called it "White Backlash" predjudice. The Liberal Press still has minority communities twisted with lies. They make like the Conservatives are anti minority and Liberals will help them. Just look at the living and working conditions that they perpetuate. Take any major City that the Liberals have had political control over for decades. You'll find the middle class has left years ago. The 5% blacks that vote Conservative are the hope for the future. They don't want a government entitlement they want to strive for their own hard earned piece of the success. Sarah in 2012 with Newt as VP. or Arizzona Sheriff "A". Oh, as for Sarah lack of political experience, how about Mr. President ??? Who is he?

December 06 2010 at 10:06 AM
Ed's AOL

Sarah is a Saint by comparison to the bunch in Washington now. One was elected and then he appointed this lower than pond scum bunch of corrupt and unqualified yes men/women to the highest positions in Gov't. I don't blame them though. The American People voted him into office and then he did what would be expected of him. If I plant an Orange tree, I expect oranges to grow. If I get an attack dog, I expect it to attack when prompted. I elect the least qualified person in any room who sounds good, I expect to get great speeches without substance. There are consequences to elections. You elect a socialist, expect a socialist. Elect a "blame America" crowd, expect the apology tour through Europe. Better than 50% of voters voted this crew in and vualla, now they are here. Who would have ever guessed? WAKE UP PEOPLE.

December 06 2010 at 9:58 AM -10
bintacab

Give me a break! Not even a close association. There are a million women of class that wear clothes that are exceptionally tasteful. Like our first lady, Michelle Obama. There is a closer correlation between Michelle Obama and Princess Diane than any other parrell I can think of. I would compare Lady Gaga with Sarah Palin!

December 06 2010 at 9:58 AM +10
Cherryle

For someone that quits her own state would only let me believe she would quit on the nation - she is putting on a real show to get attention - and as to Princess Diana - she does not even come close - and using The Princess for style for a place is discrimunating - I wouldn't vote for her - in general I don't like her method of doing a lot of things let alone her actions of playing out on people Have a nice day

December 06 2010 at 9:58 AM +12
Malcolm

Hey velociwrangler I can't think of one politician off the top of my head that has done both. But most recently (no need to go back 50 years) Palosi censured her friend Charlie Rangel and didn't Obama stand up to big oil and secure billions for the benefit of his citizens in the gulf (who did not vote for him). Hey that was easy. If you want more I can spend about 10 minutes on google and find someone that has done both.

December 06 2010 at 9:58 AM +5
dabellm

I agree that we would not be talking about Sarah if she were not a good looing woman, but in the same breath 4 years ago we would not have been talking about Obama had he not been an articulte black man. Neither have the experience or credentials.

December 06 2010 at 9:57 AM +3
tchin4studio

Ms. Parker, Is this your idea? Sarah Palin really is a joke, if not the embarrassment, of the country. What has Sarah Palin accomplished rather than having "Women want Palin's upswept hairstyle and her glasses"? Let's be serious!

December 06 2010 at 9:57 AM +9

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