December 26, 2008

How Mrs. Thatcher became Mrs. Thatcher

John O'Sullivan has an interesting column in the Wall Street Journal comparing Sarah Palin to Margaret Thatcher, for whom he worked. He points out that:

Inevitably, Lloyd Bentsen's famous put-down of Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate is resurrected, such as by Paul Waugh (in the London Evening Standard) and Marie Cocco (in the Washington Post): "Newsflash! Governor, You're No Maggie Thatcher," sneered Mr. Waugh. Added Ms. Coco, "now we know Sarah Palin is no Margaret Thatcher -- and no Dan Quayle either!"

Jolly, rib-tickling stuff. But, as it happens, I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common. ...

Things like that change your mind about a girl. But they also take time, during which she had to turn her instinctive beliefs into intellectually coherent policies against opposition inside and outside her own party. Like Mrs. Palin this year, Mrs. Thatcher knew there were serious gaps in her knowledge, especially of foreign affairs. She recruited experts who shared her general outlook (such as Robert Conquest and Hugh Thomas) to tutor her on these things. Even so she often seemed very alone in the Tory high command.

As a parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph (and a not very repressed suburbanite), I watched Mrs. Thatcher's progress as opposition leader. She had been a good performer in less exalted positions. But initially she faltered. Against the smooth, condescending Prime Minister James Callaghan in particular she had a hard time. In contrast to his chuckling baritone she sounded shrill when she attacked. But she lowered her tone (vocally not morally), took lessons in presentation from (among others) Laurence Olivier, and prepared diligently for every debate and Question Time.

I can still recall her breakthrough performance in a July 1977 debate on the Labour government's collapsing economy. She dominated the House of Commons so wittily that the next day the Daily Mail's acerbic correspondent, Andrew Alexander, began his report: "If Mrs. Thatcher were a racehorse, she would have been tested for drugs yesterday." She was now on the way to becoming the world-historical figure who today is the gold standard of conservative statesmanship.

This explains much of my lack of interest in the ongoing "How smart is Sarah Palin?" brouhaha. She's not a plausible Presidential candidate until she wins re-election in 2010. Then, if Obama is in trouble, she could make a dash for 2012, or focus on 2016, when she'll be 52. If she skips 2012 and a Republican wins two terms, she could run in 2020 when she's 56.

What all this means is that she has the time to put herself through a lengthy educational process similar to the one Mrs. Thatcher undertook. If she succeeds in it, then she's Presidential Timber. If she doesn't, she's not. In either case, I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying at present about whether she is going to succeed or not. It's Mrs. Palin's career, not mine.

Another similarity between Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Palin is that when Miss Roberts, then in her mid-20s, first showed up on the political scene by putting up good shows in losing runs for safe Labour seats in the 1950 and 1951 elections, she was the best looking woman in politics. I've stumbled across recollections by conservative-leaning English gentlemen of a certain age -- Alec Guinness, David Lean, and Kingsley Amis -- of what a crush they had on the future Mrs. Thatcher. The thing to keep in mind about her is that she is extremely English looking, with the kind of looks that are rarely seen in America, so Americans can't see what 1950s English saw in her.

On the other hand, Thatcher had two major career advantages over Palin: a rich husband and fewer children. Mrs. Thatcher told my wife how lucky she was to have had fraternal twins so she could have a boy and a girl all at once and then get back to her career.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

[Thatcher] "...prepared diligently for every debate and Question Time."

Has Palin ever diligently studied for anything?

She wasn't a good student in her youth. How will she now, in middle age, with lots of children and lots of family problems, develop the ability to sit down and study hard for something?

Anonymous said...

All the studying in the world is not going to do much for Palin. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Of course she may be president one day. After all, we elected Bush didn't we?

Anonymous said...

"After all, we elected Bush didn't we?"

True, and to top that we even elected Obama.

Vernunft said...

Palin Derangement Syndrome - so strange to watch! But it does disclose who's insane, so I suppose it serves some good.

dearieme said...

Mrs Thatcher had already collected a degree in Chemistry at Oxford and passed her bar exams before she set about swotting up on politics and economics.

Barbara said...

Americans can't understand English thinking regarding looks? We can't understand why the English thought Thatcher was fetching in the 50s? Excuse me but that sounds like something Malcolm Gladwell would say.

You previously had a column where you talked about white republicans' intelligence. If they are so bright why would they care what a woman looked like? Or maybe its Southern republicans who appreciate Palin's looks over her brains.

Ronald Reagan was a pea brain and yet he got elected. If republicans are so smart how come they consistently vote for morons. Why would citizens vote for a republican candidate against their own economic interests anyway? That doesn't seem too bright to me since most voters are not independently wealthy.

Thatcher can't have much in common with Palin. If there is so much difference between Americans and the British that we don't perceive such things as beauty the same, we certainly would not perceive leadership qualities in the same way.

Anyone who would vote in a system where the candidates are chosen by a few financial elites and all other Americans are denied a choice is not too smart regardless of whether they are democrats or republicans.

Anonymous said...

"In either case, I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying at present about whether she is going to succeed or not."

Remember the Huckabee-Romney-McCain fiasco of 2008? Huckabee and Romney split the anti-McCain vote, giving the win to McCain, who probably collected, what, 1/3 of the vote, and that too in open primaries.

Palin is a ridiculous candidate. (And also has family who are very badly behaved. Her as yet unwed 9 months pregnant daughter's high school dropout boyfriend's Mom is a drug dealer).

But Palin, in all her ridiculousness, could be a spoiler candidate. So her qualifications for the presidency do matter and should be discussed.

testing99 said...

Palin is about as smart as Jackson, who interned rather than attended Law School (like Lincoln, IIRC). Her "schooling" has been in politics which does not take kindly to the inept in competitive districts and states. Of which Alaska is one.

"Safe" places like LA or NY or IL allow corrupt and inept politicos to prosper (see Ted Kennedy, or "Cold Cash" Jefferson) but places like the Mountain West or Alaska require sound political thinking and action, since there are always competitors.

As for Bush being "dumb," he reads a book a week, usually history or biography, and eschews like most Men TV for anything other than sports. Obama likely has not read a book in ages. Adlai Stevenson was considered the "smart" one and Ike stupid, yet Stevenson had been flunked out of one school (covered up by the press) and went years between reading books (again covered up by the Press).

Not that Bush is any great leader, politically, but he's hardly the idiot portrayed in the media.

What stands out in American life back to the beginning is regional rivalries, East Cost landowners vs. Western expensive labor advocates, and class based conflict. The existing gentry, as noted by the SWPL blog/book and various other commenters, center around status indicators: Ivy League educations, opinions of celebrities and trend-setters, "fashionable opinion," the endorsement of female-tastemakers such as Ellen or Oprah, what Gays think. [Gay leaders/opinion makers wield outsize influence on the Gentry class as status indicators and opinion shapers, due to the eternal struggle among the Gentry for status.]

None of the Gentry, including media, Hollywood, Academia, Government officials, and those who aspire to them (particularly single women who went for Obama 70-29) will ever vote Republican. So Palin's appeal to them is irrelevant.

However, appealing to the anti-Gentry is something that requires skill, and only time will tell if Palin has that as Thatcher did.

Anonymous said...

Re Sarah Palin's daughter.

Anyone care to look into Thatcher's son Mark and his dodgy dealings over the years.

He has behaved like someone who thought they should be part of an untouchable elite - but has never quite carried it off.

agnostic said...

Thatcher has blue eyes, whereas Palin has brown. Where blue-eyed people exist at all, they have an easier time sitting still and focusing for a long time. I imagine Palin has the attention-span of a hummingbird.

(No hate -- I have hazel-green, so I'm not too great at staying put either.)

SKT said...

Steve you can't be serious. Mrs. Thatcher was an Oxford trained Chemist, who specialized in Crystallography. She trained under Nobel Prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin. Her IQ is beyond question.

Palin is a dimwit who attended 5 different Podunk-U's somewhere out west, finally getting a degree in journalism. She's shown no thinking capacity, no independent thought whatsoever.

You might as well compare Thomas Edison to Chris Farley or something. This makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

I think that Steve doesn't think that IQ is that important in political leaders. If he did, he would be looking at Palin's intellectual markers more closely. I've concluded that if she is smart, it's in the kind of practical fashion that doesn't translate easily to giving others the impression that she has the mastery of complex details.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I've got a soft spot for Palin, and I'm sure she must have had some horse sense to get where she's gotten, but she ain't no Thatcher. If she were black or Latino, I've got to believe you would have shined a spotlight on her apparent intellectual limitations (and the tawdriness of her extended family) already. It seems like your admiration for her impressive white fertility has clouded your objectivity on this one.

Merry Christmas, in any case (no war against it this year?).

- Fred

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin's children are an asset, not a liability. If Baroness Thatcher had had a normal number of children, and anything resembling a normal attitude towards them, she would not have been so blind to how her policies would be received by those who would be hurt by them in the short term. Sarah Palin understands normal family life.

Anonymous said...

"Palin is a dimwit who attended 5 different Podunk-U's somewhere out west, finally getting a degree in journalism. She's shown no thinking capacity, no independent thought whatsoever."

Yale or fail, right? And our ivy educated elite have done such a fantastic job, with all the independent thinking and whatnot...

Anonymous said...

"Mrs. Thatcher told my wife how lucky she was to have had fraternal twins so she could have a boy and a girl all at once and then get back to her career."

Since Carol Thatcher has not had any children, I have to wonder if she is a freemartin. I think it is a bit much to expect the female twin of mixed fraternal twins to have her own children.

Anonymous said...

"Ronald Reagan was a pea brain and yet he got elected."

Please, this is a higher caliber site; Left-of-center regulars don't utter this rubbish. This has been dispelled and the psy-ops value of this has long outlived its usefulness. Reagan left office long ago and has been dead for almost five years. It is safe now, and in your interest, to discuss the reality of Reagan the man.

Somewhat related: people come along and tell Steve to give Obama a chance, after all, they were wrong about Reagan (Steve gives Obama more credit for intelligence than most, btw). Wrong. Steve did a very careful and thorough study of Obama. Reagan detractors fell for psy-ops and/or depended on gatekeepers of like mind to inform them about Reagan. They did exactly the opposite of what Steve did.

AllanF said...

I with ya Steve. I've actually had thoughts along these lines for a while. Palin is a shrewd operator. In politics I'll take that over a high IQ SWPL-er from one of the coasts regardless of their nominal party affiliation, especially when dealing with the two-bit despots and kleptocrats of the world. Further, I don't see her getting shakin' down by the cosmo-elite of the UN and EU.

Interestingly neither did Bush get a rat's behind what the elite thought, which is why they hated him so. Though Bush did fall for the Mexi-lobby and the Israel-lobby. So I have to wonder where Palin's blind spots might be. She is a seemingly devote evangelical, so odds are it's the Israel-lobby.

Richard H said...

"As for Bush being "dumb," he reads a book a week, usually history or biography, and eschews like most Men TV for anything other than sports. "

Actually, it's about two a week.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/12/26/bush-loses-book-race-for-third-straight-year-says-rove/

If I was guessing by the way Bush speaks, I'd guess his IQ was 90, but his test scores say otherwise so I have to take those over my subjective judgement. I cringe when watching him talk. He reminds me of the kids in school who would have to concentrate on multisyllable words.

Bush and McCain sicken me more than the liberals do. They agree with the lefties on the Mexicanization of America, they just have the gaul to do so while calling themselves conservatives.

nsam said...

In the middle ages, drops in fluid intelligence are steeper for those who are dimmer to begin with

milam command said...

Yep. She was hot.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1024549/Mrs-Thatcher-temptress--woman-knew-seductive-powers-politics.html

Blode032222 said...

Comparing the US to the UK on any political matter just shows how deeply sick the American political process is. (Not the political culture. We Americans have the main thing that matters in a political culture - an abiding disgust at corruption and the sense that it should be punished. Whether that is as strong in the UK or not I don't know.)

When she became Conservative leader in 1975, Thatcher had 14 years experience as a front bencher (i.e. either as a government minister or as the equivalent in opposition). Kind of hard to match that in the US - experience in the executive branch of the national government. How many ex-cabinet members run for President?! I think Rumsfeld ran in like 1988 or something....

Far from becoming overspecialized, British ministers expected to be rotated round to different portfolios where they are expected to rapidly ascend learning curves. After a decade or so their views are known (and have had impact) on a variety of issues. They are professionals. They go on the idiot box and tangle with nationally-known reporters long before they are number one or two in their party. Outside of the last few months of the Presidential election, the only people we have on American TV dueling with nationally known media figures are ... nationally known media figures. This is known as "incest", aka "the process that produces cretinous children".

America is of course also run by professionals. Think Karl Rove, Mark Rich, that Colson guy from the Nixon admin. Elected officials aren't always clueless, but if they know anything they are usually specialists. Moynihan was an exception. Who, would you guess, knows more about Moynihan - high school students in New York or high school students in Egypt?

Blode032222 said...

Sensible option: Become a modern democracy, each political party having a paid-up membership (no public primaries) and a platoon of potential cabinet ministers who become familiar to the literate public over a period of years or decades. (Downside: this requires a literate public.)

Sensible option: Become a Jeffersonian republic with part-time legislators, no political parties, a Senate elected by the states, no television, a franchise limited to the learned and the gentry, and a highly restrained independent judiciary. Eschew foreign policy, since republics and democracies don't really do foreign policy so much as diplomatic schizophrenia.

Sensible option: Monarchy. Old-fashioned.

Not sensible option: Continue to expect a nation of people who can't name a single constitutional provision outside the Bill of Rights (and who never read books) to separately evaluate each candidate in 10 to 30 races every election (elections happening an average of once a year) aided mainly by TV ads and by counting roadside signs. (Note that many voters have literally not even heard of some of the positions - not merely the candidates - they are voting for.) Treat any suggestion that people who think the electoral college is "something you can graduate from" shouldn't be voting as some weird cultish belief. Continue to pretend that the system succeeds when your candidates is elected, and fails when your guy loses.

This is called American Style Democracy and it is the reason we are the laughing stock of the world.

MQ said...

Obama likely has not read a book in ages

right, testing99, right. I'm sure this is true.

Blode above has a bunch of good points. American "democracy" is really a disaster zone.

Black Sea said...

Count the poet Phillip Larkin among those who found Thatcher both formidable and fetching. He and Kingsley Amis were both admirers, and exchanged letters in which they analyzed her political and sexual allure. One of them referred to having received from Thatcher a piercing gaze, and referred to it as "the blue flash" or something like that. Apparently, he found it quite erotic.

Amis won some sort of award for a dystopian novel set in a future in which the Soviets had won the Cold War. Upon meeting Thatcher, he was asked to briefly describe his book (perhaps she was bestowing the award, I don't remember that part). Anyway, before he could even finish the synopsis, Thatcher broke in, "Haven't you got a better crystal ball than that!"

Amis though it was wondeful.

CJ said...

I saw, from about 50 feet away, Margaret Thatcher give a short speech at the Expo 1986 World's Fair in Vancouver, B.C. Previous to that I knew nothing about her except what I had read in print media. I was absolutely shocked -- and I don't mean that sarcastically -- at how strikingly attractive, well-spoken and charismatic she was. This was before the internet age, and while I already knew that media leaned left, I had no idea how bad it really was. It was a signal learning experience.

Blode032222 said...

Before I pass the mic I'd like to recall the time my high school history class was visited by a state judge (West coast). He told us, among other things, why it is so great that judges are elected. He asked a girl what would happen if judges were appointed, as Federal judges are. She said, "Then they would just be yes men for whoever appointed them." The judge agreed - my memory is quite clear on this point. I wanted to bring up the way Eisenhower felt about Earl Warren, but kept my mouth shut. The judge said electing judges was great because, basically, it is democracy.

I asked, I like to think in an articulate way, how voters are supposed to pick between judicial candidates, when those candidates can't speak about cases that haven't come up yet (and wouldn't if they could). Had I known, I could have added that judicial candidates generally don't opine even on vague matters of judicial philosophy either. Voters basically pick which name they like better. I don't remember his response.

Funny thing: I later learned that, in this state, judicial elections are almost never contested by more than one candidate. Judges make a point of resigning mid-term so the governor appoints vacancies without needing the advice and consent of the state Senate. After that the incumbent is almost never challenged. So electing judges just as if they were legislators or county auditors or whatever actually results in more executive power over the judiciary than the US President has.

michael farris said...

On Palin: I think one of the nameless rabble here has it right:
"if she is smart, it's in the kind of practical fashion that doesn't translate easily to giving others the impression that she has the mastery of complex details."

In other words, she's life smart (the middle class equivalent of street smart) but not necessarily intellectually smart.
And basically, it's not a good time for life smart republican politicians who deal in generalities and leave the policy details for others. Eight years of W have damaged a non-intellectual approach for republicans.
If they have any self-preservation instincts whatsoever (doubtful imho) they'll go for a candidate who can convince the public that they're book smart. A big problem is that a book smart republican will have problems getting the evangelicals on board.
Also, I suspect for a woman, male votes will be harder to come by if she can't convince them she knows her stuff.
Arguably Palin's style (if not content) would probably go over better in the democrats at present who are returning to a more populist style. Clinton regularly outperformed Obama in policy debates and it didn't do her much good and Obama's intelligence (probably well over average) had about 0% to do with people voting for him).

On Thatcher: Something Americans don't get about British politics is that it's every bit as rough as American politics, but with smarter players overall. There are formal and informal mechanisms that make sure the less intellectually nimble (whether trained or not) get weeded out a long time before they can get into positions of real power.
And the less direct system of voting meant that Thatcher never really faced direct national election. She had a safe seat in parliament and only had to keep her own party's backing to stay prime minister (something like Nancy Pelosi).

On her looks: I'd say she was never a great beauty but she was quite pretty by early 50's standards.
I'd also say that there are definitely differences in the way Americans and Brits see faces and body types. In an environment where Brits aren't rare, an American friend once confided that she thought a bunch of them were 'funny' looking in various ways (some approaching cartoon characters). But when she asked the 'normal' looking ones 'does X look funny?' they usually had no idea what she was talking about.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at some old pictures, and I can't say I find Thatcher attractive. Mediocre at best. The Brits must be hard up for good-looking women.

Anonymous said...

Palin's complete ignorance of foreign affairs as revealed in that first televised interview,
does not bode well.

It shows an extraordinary absence of intellectual curiosity at a time when America is embroiled in two wars, endures the threat of terrorism, has suffered the disgrace of Rendition, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and struggles to stay on top of the challenges of globalization.

Her scrambled language is also worrying. It suggests profoundly muddled, not to say obscure, thought processes.

Anonymous said...

Actually Mrs Thatcher (nee Roberts) was probably of Welsh extraction on her paternal side.
As a side-note, during the miner's strike of 1984 a British tabloid paper compared the genealogies of Thatcher and Arthur Scargill (the moner's union leader), and found that Scargill was, in fact, a direct descendant of Yorkshire nobilty and squires.
Thatcher, on the other hand, was descended from a line of farm laborers that included at least one murderer and several petty thieves amongest her forebears.
And, by the way, Dame Dorothy Hodgkin has gone on record as saying that Thatcher was of a mediocre intellect.I don't knoe if she ever did any work on X-Ray crystallography as claimed here, but I recall her only real job in industry as being employed by the famous J. Lyons company (which used to have a chain of cafes in every British main street - and, ironically was owned by the extremely rich Jewish family of chancellor Nigel Lawson's ex-wife, the mother of Nigella)where she researched ways of emulsifying ice-cream.
Despite having the mot expensive education momey could buy, her son Mark's academic performance was abysmal.Getting only a handful of O-levels her failed his accountancy exams umpteen times.
So much for the inheritance of intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Another big difference between Palin and Thatcher, aside from the fact that Thatcher had been a professional chemist and Palin was a journalist, is parentage. Thatcher used to like to call herself a greengrocer's daughter from Grantham, but her father was a good deal more than just a greengrocer-he was a prominent Conservative in Grantham, and served as an Alderman and as Mayor.

Mayor of Grantham isn't exactly an exalted title (it's roughly equivalent to being Mayor of Iowa City), but it does mean that your kids will have a leg up in politics and, if they are sharp and pay attention to your career, that they'll get the benefit of your experience.

Palin doesn't have that background. Her dad was a science teacher and track coach.

That's without even getting into whether she can be educated the way Thatcher was. Maybe you can dig up tests that can be mapped to IQ for the both of them, Steve, and then give us a sense of who is smarter?

Planetary Archon Mouse

Anonymous said...

What all this means is that she has the time to put herself through a lengthy educational process similar to the one Mrs. Thatcher undertook. If she succeeds in it, then she's Presidential Timber. If she doesn't, she's not.

Sarah P's Job One after getting reelected is grass roots party building. Bush, his country clubbers and their unholy alliance with Jewish-Israeli neocons have left the GOP base and infrastructure in ruins.

This means election campaigning in many places for other state and local GOPers. This task plays to one of her primary strengths, which is celebrity & star quality.

Sarah and steel workers' union member hubby Todd have abilities to reach out to the Reagan Democrat bloc. These are fairly unique in the GOP at this time. The Palins' relative youth is another unique quality in this emerging party of drooling old geezers.

Sarah P needs to first face down Depression in Alaska and get reelected. Her Long March to victory lies through 1,000 Small Towns USA. It also lies in building the Sarah Palin Network every step of the way.

billswift said...

"Since Carol Thatcher has not had any children, I have to wonder if she is a freemartin. I think it is a bit much to expect the female twin of mixed fraternal twins to have her own children."

BS. This happens with cattle, not people. My mother had a twin brother and I have three brothers.

Anonymous said...

"Thatcher has blue eyes, whereas Palin has brown. Where blue-eyed people exist at all, they have an easier time sitting still and focusing for a long time. I imagine Palin has the attention-span of a hummingbird."

Agnostic, that may well be the stupidest thing you've ever written - beating even your panty-sniffing ecstasies over at 2blowhards.

Let's! said...

This explains much of my lack of interest in the ongoing "How smart is Sarah Palin?" brouhaha. She's not a plausible Presidential candidate until she wins re-election in 2010.

Great logic, Steve! After all, it's not as if she was ever a candidate for high office. What was she running for back in the fall, anyway?...I listen to the MSM a lot and I think she was cashing in on her resemblance to a TV comedian to help her get elected to a fifth term as mayor of Wasilla.

Congratulations for not getting your hands dirty with that silly little distraction in fall, and sticking to the important Palin news, like whether the French see her as Annie Oakley!

Anonymous said...

Okay, there was this amazing politician named Thatcher - and yet, somehow, amazingly, England continues to be as pathetic a sewage pond as every other "Western" nation, the crimes waged against its people and the world approaching the realm of science fiction. Could Albion really have been much worse at this point if Trotsky had been sworn in in her place?

Smart figurehead. Stupid figurehead. What's the difference?Clinton years vs. Bush years. Tory vs. Labor. Crazy-eyed McCain vs. Pim's Cup Obama. These aren't contrasts. They're stepping stones on the way to oblivion. Come on, expend your energy on getting out of the mess we're in, rather than perpetuating the myth and playing the same, boring, deadly game, decade after decade.

Anonymous said...


If I was guessing by the way Bush speaks, I'd guess his IQ was 90, but his test scores say otherwise so I have to take those over my subjective judgement.

What about Bush's past drug abuse? Perhaps he's dumber now than he was when he took those tests (while in the TX national guard, right?) because he spent his 20s and 30s abusing alcohol and illegal drugs. Whenever he was asked about past drug use during the 2000 election, his standard response was "I've made mistakes in my youth, since then I've accepted Christ", etc. This is tantamount to an admission.

And no, I've never believed that he reads a book a week or whatever it was that Rove claimed.

airtommy said...

I saw no evidence whatsoever in 2008 that Palin was "life smart", nor have I seen Palin's boosters present any such evidence.

Dutch Boy said...

I won't address Mrs. Thatcher's looks but I will evaluate her political legacy: she may as well never have existed (ditto Ronald Reagan)! Neither had a decided long-term effect on their countries' political trajectory. Her appalling comment about her children and her attitude toward child-bearing may be a clue to the source of her failure. Both the USA and Great Britain are mired in a long-term cultural and demographic decline. Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Reagan both acted as though their countries just needed some economic tinkering and all would be well. Both of them in their persons were an expression of the true source of that decline. They could not address this decline effectively because they themselves were part of it.

SKT said...

"Sarah and steel workers' union member hubby Todd have abilities to reach out to the Reagan Democrat bloc. These are fairly unique in the GOP at this time. The Palins' relative youth is another unique quality in this emerging party of drooling old geezers."

Are you joking? You can't have a parade of redneck GOP Senators go on TV each day for a month, enthusiastically call for the demise of the domestic auto industry, abuse the nation's most powerful union, act like cheap whores for German/Japanese interests, and - what's worse - completely fail at it, and expect union workers to come and vote for you in the next election cycle.

People in politically important Great Lakes region are extremely angry. Long time GOP activists have abandoned the party in droves. The damage from this is much worse than the last two election drubbings, and even the Iraq War. This was perceived as a very personal attack on people's lives. This was a failed gambit to destroy a huge industrial union purely for political gain.

Because it sure wasn't about money. If the GOP's so upset about a $15 billion bailout for the auto industry on principle, why aren't they demanding that the much bigger $700 billion bailout for Wall Street be rescinded?

People aren't going to forget this, and it's laughable to think that folks here will be so charmed by Palin's drunk, hillbilly husband and his shiny union card that they'll turn out to vote for them. The GOP can enjoy being a Southern/Western regional redneck cowboy party, because they won't have the electoral votes to actually take the White House for a long time to come.

Eventually even that will end as the Southern/Western states are ruined by Mexican illegals that you can thank Texas for inviting in.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at some old pictures, and I can't say I find Thatcher attractive. Mediocre at best. The Brits must be hard up for good-looking women.

Most online pix are from the prime ministerial period. Not in her first bloom there.

Try looking up non-British women in politics of the same age and see how they looked in, say, the 1950s.

I dont think anyone is saying she would have given Gina Lollobrigida or Marilyn Monroe a run for their money but she neither was she quite a rough old tug boat either.

Proofreader said...

In the 80's I was amazed to find that young lads still found her alluring, and commented upon how attractive she was in her youth. Even Labour voters conceded she used to have "great tits".

I concur that her beauty if any was of the English kind, that is, more appealing to the locals due to her Englishness than universal in nature.

One is always drawn to the girl next door.Familiarity in itself is attractive.

headache said...

SKT sed:
"act like cheap whores for German/Japanese interests"

Wow, that must be a first. Imagine that, German interests being taken care of in the US! What's the world coming to!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just wish some of my American countrymen would be a little bit more honest about how they feel.

Repeat after me: "I don't give a damn about Thatcher because she's not good looking enough and the 1980s are ancient history. Sarah Palin happened recently enough and is hot enough that even I can remember her - and make completely unsupported assertions about her cognitive ability! One thing's for sure, it's either very high or very low.

Give me political power! I am heterosexual! I deserve power! Haven't I proven I am heterosexual yet? Why haven't you crowned me?!"

Yeah, that's about what you people are like. You people disgust me.

Anonymous said...

Pictures of the young Maggie Thatcher show a merely OK-looking woman. Not the sort of woman I'd look twice at if I passed her on the street.

Many Brits, though, especially upper-middle-class Brits of the past generation, have a thing for Stern Nanny types (Amis and Larkin, for instance, who also had a spanking fetish). And Maggie definitely fits the Stern Nanny type to a T.

Christopher Hitchens once wrote a telling column in which he described in detail how he got a sexual thrill once when MP Thatcher swatted him with a rolled up document and scolded him. (As I recall, she said something like, "You naughty stupid little boy!") Hitchens, of course, went to a strict English public (i.e., private) school where flogging was common.

Thank God I'm not a Brit.

Colby Cosh said...

Here's a good photo that shows the future Baroness using her feminine charms (which are not limited to simple physical allure) to win over a few gentlemen who otherwise have Labour sympathies almost literally written all over them.

It also reminds us of another virtue of the Westminster model of government: a prime minister is ordinarily expected to capture and hold a seat in the (lower house of the) legislature, and thus must look after and keep in touch with some particular living community of citizens.

Chic Noir said...

agnosticThatcher has blue eyes, whereas Palin has brown. Where blue-eyed people exist at all, they have an easier time sitting still and focusing for a long time. I imagine Palin has the attention-span of a hummingbird.
*shakes head*

I wonder how much tax money was wasted on this study.

Charlotte said...

Language has an effect on peoples' looks. When I was studying French, one book noted that when the French talk, their throats tighten but the mouth and jaws relax. When Americans speak, the throat tightens while the face relaxes.
I can often tell a European from an American before they open their mouths just by body language and expression. It has little or nothing to do with physical features. I never see any types, including the young Mrs.Thatcher, who one does not see frequently among whites in the US.
Another thing to keep in mind. Looking at Mrs. T's pictures, although she is quite feminine, I imagined her in masculine form, and find that there are zillions of men who are her type here in the U.S. It's just that womens' looks change drastically in type, morethan mens', because of changesin hairstyle (very drastic),clothes, even accessories that require her to have a certain body language
The English have very different body language. Their clothes styles are surprisingly different--someone told me that the types you see in Fawlty Towers (1970s)are unchanged today, to an extent you'd not find here in the U.S.
So I don't think it is so much Mrs. T's features that are so unique to her place. It is that her whole persona--style,manner of speaking, everything,was just so different from Americans. If she had been raised in Wisconsin, or even New Jersey, I guarantee you, her looks would not seem oddly different from white Americans as a whole.

Half Sigma said...

"What all this means is that she has the time to put herself through a lengthy educational process..."

I thought this was a blog about how IQ is a genetic trait. If Palin has low-IQ genes (average-IQ genes really, but seems like a low IQ to the smart people who read blogs), then no length of "educational process" is going to change that.