Sarah Palin and John Edwards were both vice-presidential aspirants, but the resemblance doesn't end there. According to The New York Times' Timothy Egan, "Palin and Edwards are two of an American archetype." They're both "opportunists playing to outrage while taking care of themselves." They're also pretty people with a talent for enrapturing "an audience without saying anything of substance, or even making sense." The parallels obviously aren't all complimentary.
Egan also remarks on their rhetorical for claiming kinship with ordinary Americans. Palin's watchwords include "good people," "real Americans," and "God's will." Edwards opts for "hard-working folks," "two Americas" and "millworker's son." Both exploit their political base for money. In this way, Egan says, they're "political grifters" more concerned with money than they let on, whether it's a matter of hair cuts or speaking fees.
Egan isn't the only one to draw the connection. The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, no Palin fan, now thinks the two are similar enough that he apologized to readers for "dropping the ball" on the Edwards adultery story. "I've been thinking about what seems to me a double standard in my treatment of vice-presidential frauds, with respect to Sarah Palin and John Edwards," he explains. He now thinks it was a mistake to dismiss the early Edwards affair rumors. Though they seemed "too awful" to be true, Sullivan admits he should have pursued them because Edwards, like Palin, "could have been president of the US at some point."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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