Analysis: Sarah Palin is a force, from whichever prospective you may enter from. But the underlying question is how she has become one in the form of something completely different than what the political world has ever seen. 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 Shortly after her “homecoming” speech in Fairbanks, Alaska, Sarah Palin opened up, making her first fresh address since her repetitive “stump” speeches after her GOP acceptance, provoking the first thought from me that explains her marvel. How has Sarah Palin accumulated this much press in such a short amount of time?

What me must first understand is the fact that this has been done before, by the person who has been hit most by Palin — Barack Obama. Long ago in political time, Hillary Clinton was once the king of the hill, and a sure-shot to at least make to the general election. And then Obama came, literately out of thin air, and getting more press and hype than Clinton has ever had — eventually overtaking her. 

And although on a bigger stage, this process has essentially repeated itself with Sarah Palin. And because of this, the Obama camp must understand how they took down Clinton could end up being the end of them — defensive rage. Clinton, down in the polls, switched from talking about her policies to using brute force, taking swipes at Obama from a defensive standpoint, something the public recognized as weak.

So what Obama must do is exploit Palin’s weaknesses without letting go of his strengths — discussing himself and what his plans are if elected. 

As I have explained in a different post, Sarah Palin has two big weaknesses — the press, and hand to hand combat. 

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The second weakness of Sarah Palin, which could potentially make or break her, is hand to hand political combat. Palin has (and will have) success in what I would call mortar fire, attacking the opposition by way of press statements and campaign ads, which continue to play huge roles in the public, each one accumulating tons of traffic on the viral web and ending up as stories on news outlets such as CNN. 

But If you ask any political commentator of any party the main reason why Sarah Palin has become such a dartboard, they would say her politics. And this is mostly true — Palin is short on the offensive-defensive game of a sit down debate, and because of this, she will most likely not fare well in any sort of think-on-your-toes situation, which has resulted in this very visible tactic: stay away from any interviews or debates unless they are mandatory. 

This tactic, recognized by the McCain camp, has let Palin literately control American press in her direction without making it. More simply put, because she has already created an amazing amount of press and PR from bursting on the political scene and accepting her nomination, Palin doesn’t need to create any press in the form of an un-necessary interview or debate. And instead, she has created the occasional new story far back in her campaign headquarters with statements and ads reacting or criticizing to Obama and Biden. But this stay-back-and-shoot strategy hasn’t been publicly reported or written on, however, mostly due to the overwhelming news on her family, which has now been proved to act as a media shield.  

If Obama plans to take a vital advantage in the media, he must not only focus on his strengths, but exploit Palin’s tactical  weaknesses, which provides a gaping hole in her public image.

pacer521

After two weeks in South America, daily reminders that I’ve been spoiled keep presenting themselves. But I had always thought that the skiing would be different. Trust me, after all that time I spent on vallenevado.com, many assuring thoughts entered my mind. The pictures on the site described not a resort, but a huge central lodge surrounded by mountains on all sides blanketed with powder, much like a volcano inside out (if you remember your 6th grade geometry). But after a rather frightening one and a half hour drive, which had more traverses than the Yankees have pennants, I was getting a bit skeptical. So as far as the actual skiing: I’ll quote Andy Roddick here: “It was horrible, it sucked. Otherwise it was great.” 

My point is the skiing here is not an exception to my spoiled points. The snow quality wasn’t great (I ski in Utah so that’s another world in itself), there was only one high speed lift, and to top it off it was extremely overcast which probably got me into a bad mood. But besides that, it was great. 

What I mean by this is the resort itself has great potential. First off, let me say Valle Nevado has a lot of terrain. South American ski resorts have a different mentality than the ones in the States and Canada — there are no rope lines. Everything out of the groomed runs are at your own risk, and that’s great. You don’t get your lift passes clipped from you, and most of the non-groomers end up at a lift, plus its a ghost town anywhere away from a groomed slope. But it’s not like you should stay away from the off-piste though, its amazing. Sadly we came too late (3 days after the storm) so we only found patches of the untracked stuff left. Here’s the video — bare with me on the on music…

But if you get bored with all the huge area that Valle Nevado offers, don’t worry — you have access to two other great resorts: La Parva and El Colorado — which border Nevado on both sides. So with a clear day and powder, you can have the day of your life here. And hopefully that’s what I am going to get in a matter of days — the weather man is calling for a meter of fresh snow. By that time I will be skiing in the famous Portillo resort, entirely in another direction. And hopefully then I will be able to see beyond a few feet in front of me. Well, we’re excited — I am writing this in the car smack dab in the center of Santiago our two hour pilgrimage to Portillo.

More Buenos Aires

August 6, 2008

After a full day here in Argentina, you could say I got more of a feel for the city. One of the things I mistaked from the posh hotels and grand avenues is that when you get deep into the city, it gets more and more Western. As I surfed the sidewalk with my family for a SIM card for my dad´s hacked iPhones, I discovered many things about Buenos Aires. During the day, a thick mist smothers the street. Pollution is not new to me (I live in Los Angeles), but I didn´t notice this the night before, and I always imangined Buenos Aires and Santiago to be very clean. And another thing that was new to me is the different cars. The only American car I could find was a rare Chevy, but besides that, they were all very European cars like Fiat. There was also one car that I had never seen before, the logo on the gril looked like this — /// — (picure coming soon).

As far as technology, you can say that South America is part of the Windows kingdom. This became known as soon as soon as I exited the boat, with all the security and airport computers being Windows 98. Then 30 seconds after we left the airport, a Microsoft skyscraper came into view. There is little hope here for die-hards mac geeks like me and faroZ01

So after one day in Buenos Aires, a lot has changed in my opinion, but all for the better.

pacer521

Although they are only separated by a river, Buenos Aires and Montevideo are like New York and South Africa. Compared to Montevideo, Buenos Aires is much larger and more modern, with a very European feel to it. There are a lot more English speaking people and directions, so that is always a good sign. But even though the city is huge and spacious — and cluttered with gigantic skyscrapers — it still has a very Spanish feel to it. My point? If you took a picture of one of the streets here and gave it to anyone, they would guess it was somewhere in Spain.

We are staying at the Alvear hotel, and I think it means posh in Spanish. I would conclude that this hotel is like the Four Seasons, with diamond studs falling off of it. My room has a bright red floor, two bathrooms (thats intense), posh couches, three high-definition televisions (one above the bathtub), and the most comfortable bed in the universe (besides mine at home). And don’t think we just picked the coolest hotel we could find — on the drive from the airport, I didn’t see one hotel on the way that wasn’t a skyscraper. 

We are staying in Buenos Aires for about five days, and we have plenty to do here. My mom (the master scheduler) has set up a lot of cool things to do. These include some tennis for me (I am a tournament player that hasn’t played since I left) on the famous Argentine red clay, a sports event (probably a soccer game) and a few museums, which I can live with if I can bring my computer. 

Although I must admit I am most looking forward to Chile because of my love for the Mountains, you could say I am not getting the full Argentine experience because we aren’t exploring outside of Buenos Aires, which is basically on the Eastern edge of Argentina. I will almost be back here when I ski in Portillo, Chile in a week, (it is almost on the border) but besides that I will be missing the “Argentina Andes” experience. I bet the rest of Argentina is awesome and much different that this Barcelona-like city, but I guess you can’t cover South America entirely in two weeks, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I’m excited to be here in Buenos Aires and I’ll keep posting as long as interesting stuff keeps happening (which it has a habit to do).

pacer521

 Tourism is a sport. You can win and you can lose.

Everyone is part of the game, whether you’re being interrogated in Cuba, or you are relaxing in the South of France. You just have to be away from home. As a frequent flier myself, I have been many places in my life, most with my family of five. And although we all have the time of our lives on our vacations, I must admit we are the losers of the sport. Awkward moments are almost guaranteed to occur where ever we travel, especially if we travel somewhere where many do not speak English.

So what have we done? The first thing is being a tourist does not give you the credentials to act like you’re five years old. A lot of people believe that. One time my mom took the bull by the horns and blew off that golden rule, in one of the worst places to break it – a gift shop in Germany. She was actually buying sports gear for me, and she wanted to know if an Under Armour garment was supposed to be worn next to the skin or over an undershirt.  Instead of just buying it and asking me, she decided to take the matter in her own hands, even though she hasn’t spoken German since college. So she took the shirt, poked at it, and in the most German accent that she could think of from Television, she said (in English) “UNDER? UNDER?” It was more like “UN-DAR!” and obviously the woman at the counter didn’t know what the she was saying. Either she thought my mom was lost and needed directions, or she needed to call security. And fast. Thankfully, I had the satisfaction not to be in Germany at that moment, but my sister was. 

So what can we learn from this? When you are in a situation that is obvious you can’t solve, like this one, save yourself the embarrassment and just don’t do it — in this case, don’t buy it. Everything from her German to her hand motions obviously didn’t fare very well in this situation.

Another thing that barely ever works is the tone of voice. I have witnessed many tourists (we’re not still talking about my mom here) talking in English to people who know little to none of it in a voice that they would use when talking either to their dog of 3 year old – whichever is less mature. The people you are talking to may not know be up to your standards in English, but they live on this Earth too, so they will know that tone and not be happy with it. In one occasion, I witnessed a tourist talking to a waiter in France with that tone (at the table next to me) and the waiter simply walked away in disgust. So please don’t do that.

Another problem tourists have is blending in. Just about an hour ago, our tour bus carrying only our family here in Uruguay (where I am typing this from) stopped to look over the ocean. As I walked over to the boardwalk, I noticed a crowd twenty people staring at a huge sea lion who had lazily parked himself on the sidewalk next to two workers who were chopping up fish. He was hungry and wanted a sun tan, which we all thought was really cute. So I whipped out my video camera and ran over to the crowd. I squeezed in-between the people to get a good spot for the film, trying to be as courteous to the fellow Uruguayans as I could be, quietly saying “hola” and “como stas” (look I know how to say it, just not spell it) and answering “muey bien” and “asi asi”  when asked how I was doing. I even lured people over from the sidewalk by yelling: “Mira!” (which means look) like everyone else. By doing this instead of just ignoring them or talking in English like the other nine out of ten Americans would most likely do, I blended in enough that even though people probably figured I was a tourist because of my pitiful Spanish accent, but at least they knew I could at least have a basic conversation with them, which I did. So what is so great about that? First of all, I used my second grade Spanish to my advantage, and I immediately changed my status from: ‘cocky American tourist that just got off a private bus’ to ‘nice American tourist that doesn’t want to make a scene and knows a little Spanish.’ Most tourists would skip mingling part and therefore they were known by those 20 people as the tourists that don’t want to talk. And that’s bad. Below is the video. 

So if you are a good tourist, remember to win, not lose. My top tips? Act like you are a local, speak what you can, but don’t overdo it. Please. And do things with confidence, after all you are on vacation.

 

Pacer521

As a Los Angeles resident for over 13 years now, I have been accustomed to the two alternate worlds of LA: Beverly Hills, and everywhere else. Recently I made a few trips of longer duration to this hub of stars, and while browsing the shops, I noticed two things. First, the prices, and what they were selling. When it comes to Beverly Hills, the myth is definitely true — everything is overpriced. But, being the teen I am, shopping is not exactly my expertise, so I have never before hit up any of the top notch appointment-only stores in the Hills. But when I first entered these stores and took a look at the price tags, I was blown away. As a southern Californian traveler, I have been accustomed some pretty outrageous stuff around here, but nothing like what was going on over in the BH. Highlights of the store that I browsed while I was wandering included $4,000 Italian motorbike jackets, $40,000 dresses, and my favorite — a $450 cotton undershirt. Now I do understand that this clothing they are selling is the real deal, high quality fabrics, comfortable feel, ect. — but the 450 buck undershirt really struck me as something I may have 10 of in my dresser that was bought for under 5 dollars or less at a popular Polo in a Santa Monica shopping mall. So I made two conclusions: people who buy this stuff are either the filthy rich Los Angeles .com billionaires who own the multiple Ferraris and Gallardos outside, or regular income people who just want to look filthy rich. The answer…was neither. 

The second thing I noticed was who was shopping at these stores. Not only did I not see one resident of Southern California in the stores besides the employees, but everyone in the store wasn’t even from the West — mostly not even America. And at that moment the awful truth struck me — these people (who were actually buying this stuff relentlessly) had fallen under the misconception that makes places like Vegas so famous. If you are looking at a stereotype movie shown about Los Angeles, it is almost guaranteed to show the juiciest parts of LA — the expensive shops that the not even the actors in real life would shop at. My point? To foreigners, Los Angeles is Beverly Hills, and it would be like going to Vegas and not visiting a casino to not feed off of the Hills. In fact, for the average tourist I saw there (a Japanese couple and their two sons), it would be virtually impossible to see the real essence of the great city of Los Angeles without a local to show you away from the luring lies of Beverly Hills, and into the real Los Angeles — the city. For example, when I visit South America in a few weeks, (as an American) I will most certainly be shown into the finest of hotels and dining, probably missing what is really what the whole city is about — digging deep into the rich history and life of the places I will be traveling to. This is the exact same feeling that couple from Japan probably was lured into when traveling to Los Angeles. 

I am not claiming that Beverly Hills is bad for the city, it is an important asset of Los Angeles’s culture. But I encourage all travelers who may be reading this to find someone local and stay away from the tour busses that only shuttle to the glamorous stops, but to really go into Los Angeles and learn — not necessarily the history of the city, but the culture and the town hubs that really show what LA is all about to me — the greatest city ever.

With the media attention now accelerating because of Barack’s Obama’s trip overseas, again — the common perception now is that the media is biased towards Obama. But I think that the media is so vast that it is hard to correctly identify that it is biased…

Now as the election narrows down, and with only two fighters left in this presidential melee, news today is merely two subjects — Obama’s trip and the so called “fact” the the press lean towards him. What is the truth? Well, to clarify this to myself, I wouldn’t call the press one. In fact, it is divided into five totally different sections: Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV, and Internet. Calling a one of these organizations liberal or conservative is hard to do, for example: although CNN may have 4 Obama articles to one McCain story, its staff’s blogging section may be overwhelmingly conservative. After the New Yorker controversy, a magazine that was thought to be liberal is now questioned, while in my mind they were just poking fun. On TV, reporters may belong to the conservative party, and have pro-McCain views, but report on stories about Obama’s trip to the middle east. On the web, (what I think is the most opinionated source) where the candidates control their own ground, nothing is held back. Both Obama and McCain have set up camp with they own websites, and grown outward, each trying to conquer Youtube, Myspace, and Facebook. Although some of this has lured in otherwise non-voters, this task is almost impossible — there are so many users on these web powerhouses, that having an Obama or McCain section of the site is not going to effect anything — people are still going to post whatever the heck they want. So although I do think there are some West Wing news sources and some conservative news sources, it is virtually impossible to enter that realm and come out with a credible point. 

Now with that said, I will get into what I think. This election has been like no other in terms of its candidates — with the first woman and first black president. Barriers have been broken, and the press has no doubt soaked it up. Hillary Clinton put this point very well many months ago when the Democrat side consisted of Obama, Clinton, and John Edwards. She pointed out that there are  new candidates for America to ponder, herself as the first woman, Obama as the first african-american, and then — there’s John Edwards. Her point was that the dominant figures in America have been rich, white men and now that this is starting to change, the bold new political figure won’t exactly be bold and new anymore if it is a while male. And now with Obama against a white male, the public would love to know all about this different breed of politician that Obama is and the press has had a field day telling them all about it. Do I think this is right? No, I believe the person who deserves to lead the polls should have the right beliefs about America and not have the public be biased or have hatred against them by their race, gender or appearance. So the press might claim that they only write more about Obama because more people would like to know about him, but that isn’t exactly true. America is in a dead heat in this race, leading into the convention. The percentages have been almost been equal, currently CNN says (not that I fully believe them) that Obama is winning the national polls 47% to 41% for McCain. Looking at the US map, McCain has secured many states and has many states leaning on him compared to Obama, who (like the average Democratic powerhouse) secures less states, but has control of the more populated ones. 

So, since this is a perspective blog in many sorts, I will put my point across. What I believe is that some of the press is overwhelmingly left wing and some of the press is overwhelmingly conservative, but with so many news sources and perspectives to take in, it’s very hard to accuse anyone of being partisan and be correct. I do believe Obama can get more press than McCain because he has broken many boundaries, and that is part of the reason for this post to be written. But another part of that is the press being a little more left wing than conservative.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.