Palin As Figurehead

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A reader writes:
I disagree with one of your readers who asserted that the ability to lie was fundamental to the fundamentalist’s mind. Her appeal has less to do with her personally than with those who follow her. She is simply an attractive empty vessel into which her followers pile grievances. Her followers feel aggrieved, by the government, by the media, by Pelosi and Reid, by the gays, by the greens, and by the ever lurking extreme liberal left. Real or imagined, Palin’s followers view her as a symbol of their world that these lefties have unfairly attacked.

This is why when presented with evidence of her lies, her supporters deflect by citing liberal media bias. They never address the facts because the facts are largely incidental. They immediately point to one of these nefarious forces.

A fairly persuasive theory of leadership called the ‘Social Contagion’ theory, postulates that leadership functions not through the leader but through the followers. Ideas spread like the flu (a contagion) that the followers catch. In order for a movement to break through to a larger audience, the followers require a figurehead. Palin is that figurehead for the aggrieved fundamentalist right.
If it wasn’t her, they’d find someone else. But her carefully constructed physical appearance, which includes her family, makes her figurehead status all the more appealing. She represents the ultimate looking glass self for the fundamentalist right at least in the sense that she looks the part. They ascribe everything else to her whether it fits her or not. That’s why she can say or do anything that she wants because in the end it does not matter to her base.

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