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 On the campaign trail, Sarah Palin has complained of struggling to pay the bills and this week described herself as "an everyday, working-class American" who knows how it feels when the stock market takes a hit.


But the Palin family income reached comfortably into six figures in her 2007 declaration, capitalising on valuable salmon fishing rights and a series of property deals. Her governor's salary brought in $125,000, while her husband Todd earned almost $100,000 from his part-time job at BP, combined with income from commercial fishing. The couple appeared to be worth at least $1.2m, including a $500,000 lakefront home, a Piper float-plane and two holiday getaways. Read more.

Question: Can any candidate pretend they are 'normal'? Do we want normality from our politicians anyway? And will Palin's working class hero pose trip her up?


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tyrell wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
It's impossible for anyone who isn't (at least nearly) a millionaire to be elected President. This should say something about the state of US Democracy really, but everyone is kinda used to it.

I WANT elitist politicians in charge. They know stuff I don't. I don't want someone who's only as good as me at foreign policy, I want a frickin' expert.
pika_pik wrote:
Oct. 5th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
You're a slave who wants a competent slave master?
(no subject) - tyrell - Oct. 6th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - pika_pik - Oct. 6th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - tyrell - Oct. 7th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC) Expand
iber wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)
Normal? Being a candidate at this level removes them from being a normal person. It puts them in a position where their words and actions can affect society to a certain degree. Inherently, we would like a candidate who's just like us but we're not going to find that very often. Honestly, I could care less if they're 'normal' as long as they are doing their job effectively... or at least trying to.

I don't know about the working class hero pose. I think it will definitely come back to haunt her later, especially with these rather huge income for her being a working class woman... although she'll probably spin that, saying she has achieved the American Dream of being rich, but that will still harm her working class hero pose. Personally, I think that being at such a large level of income removes her completely from being in this working class level. Ignoring her home and plane, if she and her husband was making under 100k a year, then I could understand her claim but at this level, her claim loses quite a bit of credibility.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
I agree with this.

She made a comment very recently about how her family has lost roughly $20k in the stock tumble of recent events. I found that comment VERY off-putting for her claim of being "average soccer mom". I would be thrilled if I had the extra cash available to buy stocks.. I have a handful right now and if I cashed them out right now, it wouldn't come to $20k. Twenty thousand dollars is a very large sum of money for the "average American family"... that's about what I pay over the course of the entire year for my house.

I would have respected her claims a bit more if she had been upfront about it.. "We WERE average middle class, but now we're not. And for that we're very fortunate, but don't think I don't remember what it was like to have to choose between heating costs and driving a car."

(no subject) - liliaeth - Oct. 4th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - iber - Oct. 4th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - tyskkvinna - Oct. 4th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - iber - Oct. 4th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC) Expand
credendovides wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
You might want to remove font color from your posts. The forced black can make it somewhat unreadable on dark backgrounds, instead of just using the default color for whatever style it is viewed under.
isara wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
beat me to it. yeah, dark gray on black = no fun
whatisbiscuits wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
If she's genuinely struggling to pay the bills, she must have the worst financial management skills ever! Should she really be attempting to tackle the financial problems of a whole nation if she can't run her own household on an annual income of $225,000?
calchandler wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Normal or average? Given what seems to pass for average, at least in my area, I would not want my politicians to be that.

And I don't see how any candidate could be considered normal. All the time spent on the campaign trail, whether family travels with them or not, would remove them from a 'normal' life. The sheer amount of money needed to fund a campaign is also certainly far from normal too.

I think the working class hero pose is already starting to grate on the working class. Sports moms who have lived their child's sport, going to out-of-state games, going to the practices, etc. have already been voicing out that her claim of a hockey mom is unbeleivable.

Don't tell me you're a struggling working class American worth $1.2m, the real struggling working class American is barely pulling a 4-5 digit salary a year, or else struggling to find a job in this suffering economy.

What is even more worrying is her willingness to accept gifts. As a government official (mayor in this case) there is a limit as to how much a gift is worth to be able to be accepted. Her willingness to ignore these limits becomes worrisome. If she becomes VP, how much power will outside influences try to gain, by giving her gifts and her receiving them?
foreignphonemes wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC)
willingness to accept gifts?

what's happening with that?
(no subject) - calchandler - Oct. 4th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - herekittykitty - Oct. 4th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC) Expand
zvony wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
She is a joke anyway!
gizzi1213 wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
I'm no fan of Palin's but I believe her comment during the debate was that there "were times" during their marriage when she and her husband struggled with these issues. That's different than saying they are doing so now.

Her income level is well above what an "average" American earns, and I agree with iber who has commented that she'll likely spin that into a fulfillment of the American Dream of acquiring wealth.

I'm not surprised that they own a float plane, that is rather common in Alaska, something you can see when you are there, especially in coastal communities or communities built along a lake. There are many communities in Alaska that are land locked and the only way in or out is by float plane. They park their planes at personal docks just as people in the "lower 48" pull into their driveways.

batbuds wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)

It is not like the plane is new... as a matter of fact it is older than Todd Palin, the registered owner. If I remember right, I heard him say that this was his family's plane before it became registered to him.

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It is not like the plane is new... as a matter of fact it is older than Todd Palin, the registered owner. If I remember right, I heard him say that this was his family's plane before it became registered to him.

Like <lj_user = gizzi1213> said, float planes are common and are a basic form of transportation in Alaska. The state is huge and some parts are inaccessible by land. This is sorta like someone being amazed or surprised at a farmer/rancher having a tractor or a truck... it is part of the lifestyle of where you are living.

I have not seen ANYONE in this campaign give an honest assessment of their lifestyle... unless you consider that the assessment is coming from their point of view and then it is 'normal' to them.

How exactly did ANY of them make their money that allowed them to gain the status they have now? Some made it through marriage (McCain)... how exactly did Obama afford Harvard?


Tells about Biden's 'modest income' of $200K+ a year... can that level of income compare the the 'average' American?

If you are a candidate for federal government office, you do not have a real honest tie to the 'Average' American... you have through some mechanism, moved from average to priviledged... that is the simple reality of it.

lphybrid wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Sure they can pretend to be normal... that's how they fool people who don't do research and rely on watching the news/debates. It's easy to be persuaded by a politician that seems likable and she's a master of using feminine rhetoric to get her way. She just spreads lie after lie... at least Biden was straight up about the comfortable situation he's in now. She may have said "there were times" that things were rough... over and over she's portrayed herself as the average hockey mom/joe six pack. And people like her for it. Dumb.
smz12231994 wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
I think every politician lies to seem more like the voters than they really are. I don't really think it matters, but it annoys me that a canidate needs to lie for votes.
tamrinm wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
It doesn't surprise me that Sarah Palin would not have to struggle to make ends meet while she was governor of Alaska, but I highly doubt that she earned $125,000 when she was a city councilwoman and mayor from 1992-2002. You also may look at her husband's income and wonder how in the world they could struggle. But, it is well known that commercial fishing can be lucrative, but it can also be a struggle depending on what is happening in the fishing season. Sure, she may not struggle now, but that doesn't mean that she hasn't in the past and she can't identify with what we are going through right now.

There is no mention of Obama's humble beginnings that he talks about all the time, even though he was able to afford Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School. And let's not forget that when Joe Biden was named the VP candidate they used the fact that he commuted home every night to portray him as being just like us. Say what you will about your support, or definitely lack thereof, of Sarah Palin, but please be even in your criticisms of 'normal' politicians.

Edited at 2008-10-04 03:20 pm (UTC)
wtf wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well, it's likely that someone with Obama's intelligence and ambition would be able to get scholarships to those universities; he did have one to his private high school, after all. He was also raised in a single-parent (and thus, single-income) household.

Besides, working on the south side of Chicago is not exactly an ivory tower. Even after graduating from those prestigious universities, he was working in the trenches.

In any case, Palin's new to the spotlight and her claims haven't been explored as much as the other candidates'. I think the question is fair.
(no subject) - tamrinm - Oct. 4th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - brennakimi - Oct. 7th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC) Expand
wtf wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
I hate the "just like you" line, personally. Yes, I feel that a politician needs to be in touch with mainstream America. But the whole "less elite than thou" line is a smokescreen to cover either a lack of experience or a lack of clear policy.

We saw this in the debate. Biden offered concrete plans, while Palin offered her "Joe Six-Pack" line. The same thing happened in the Bush-Gore debates back in 2000. The sad and scary thing is that it works, and we learn there is nothing behind the smokescreen.
tamrinm wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
I can see how her lack of experience would bother you, but it is that lack of experince that does make her "less elite" than even John McCain of her own ticket. While it bothers you, it appeals to other people.

Besides, it is not the VP who makes our policies, it is the President of the United States. The only reason that this is sad and scary is because you don't agree with her politics. And honestly, I wouldn't expect someone who doesn't agree with a particular candidates politics to find that candidate appealing.
euchreman wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Candidate words
This is one of the problems I have with the media coverage of candidates remarks. And before I start let me say that I am not "necessarily" a Palin fan.

I think what Palin has said (or maybe my interperatation) is that she knows what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. She knows what it is like to have to do without due to tough decisions. Is she living that way now...NO. And if she was, then we would question how can run an entity worth millions of trillions of dollars. I believe the comparison Palin (and the other candidates) are making is that they understand what the middle class is going through and what they struggles are, because she has been there.
allhatnocattle wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
The average American income is off-set by the BillGates/TedTurner types. Average in most peoples context is usually less then average.

But I doubt income has much to do with being able to relate with JoeSixpack average. I think Washington can relate to rush hour traffic, writing a resume, attending funerals, facing challenges and such. It doesn't take a stretch to relate to average Americans.

I think the big failure is lacking an interest to read (I think Palin has this in common with Bush). And McCain's disinterest in computer's is so anti-average, I doubt he can relate.
resistdeath wrote:
Oct. 6th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
She.. doesn't like to.. read?
(no subject) - allhatnocattle - Oct. 6th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC) Expand
grace_om wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Normal? It's not unusual for candidates to be people who came from "humble" beginnings to work their way up to prominence. That's the "American Dream," and people here do admire it -- and why not?

The difference with Palin is that her "just folks" show is ALL she has to offer. Clearly it's all she needs to impress a significant portion of the voters.

Personally, I keep trying to imagine her winking and giggling her way through a G8 summit meeting. But then my head explodes.
tinceiri wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Question: Can any candidate pretend they are 'normal'? Do we want normality from our politicians anyway? And will Palin's working class hero pose trip her up?

Yes, any candidate can pretend that they are normal regardless of whether they really are or not. Politicians have done this since the dawn of time; just read Machiavelli's The Prince or go back to Plutarch and Cicero. For a more recent example, it simply suffices to examine George W. Bush - he's stolen the 'middle class' impression from the Democrats for the last eight years.

EDIT: It's hard for the 'working class hero prose' to really trip a politician, and I've simply found from past experience that it's probably more damaging to said politician if don't even attempt to feign it (i.e. John McCain).

Edited at 2008-10-04 05:31 pm (UTC)
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