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Deborah Ancona

Deborah Ancona

Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Faculty Director of the MIT Leadership Center.

Palin Represents Hope

It seems impossible at this point to even consider Sarah Palin a candidate for president. How could she possibly move beyond the Katie Couric interview, the Alaska scandals, the falling approval ratings, and now last week's rambling speech announcing a mid-stream resignation. None of this displays qualifications for leadership based on intellect, perseverance, or strong moral conviction.

Yet, for some Sarah Palin represents something different. She is hope. Hope for a Republican party that is losing ground and quickly running out of contenders for 2012. She is David taking on Goliath. Coming from nowhere, she kept on going when the press took aim, and kept her head held high even when the shots they fired hit their targets. She represents the common person. As we watch a world in which the elite have taken us close to the brink of economic disaster and a government staffed with people with great educations, she represents the possibility that you can make a difference even when you do not have the "right" pedigree. And for women, she represents someone who talks with pride about family and the skills she brings to the table from her role as a mother. She does not create a cement wall between work and family, or hide her maternal self.

Unfortunately Sarah Palin does not seem up to the role of Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, despite our desire that she do so (or our glee that she does not). Perhaps she can move off of the world stage and prepare herself for this role--though it will take a lot of work, learning, and some healing and soul-searching based on her experiences over the past year. But she is a maverick who continues to fight back and there are still a lot of unfulfilled hopes and dreams seeking to be realized. So who knows, stranger things have happened. It is more likely, however, that we will see her on the speaker circuit very soon and very often.

By Deborah Ancona

 |  July 8, 2009; 11:32 AM ET
Category:  Politics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Palin Struggled Under Scrutiny | Next: Palin's Land of Opportunity


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Sarah is a special find. I guess I'm a fan. I still live in America and can voice my opinion. She has every right to do what's best for herself and her family. The attacks on her are in such poor taste. This woman is a breath of fresh air. She certainly has more experience than Dr.Obama. The big "O" never ran a candy store. He left the senate 2 years before his term was to run for president. I support her whatever she does. Go get-um Sarah.

Posted by: MOMLEE | July 9, 2009 11:18 PM
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Maverick? She was in the right place at the right time when she was elected governor and chosen as a VP candidate. Really...are you mad? And I mean crazy mad. A maverick is someone who cuts against the grain with passion driven by deeply intellectual, nuanced thought, and practiced theory and knowledge. I am talking Che Guevara, Thomas Jefferson, Lenin, Abe Lincoln, Henry Ford, Ayn Rand, Albert Camus...Palin is nothing but an opportunist and political parrot. How you can even consider her even the least bit Mavericky is beyond comprehension.

Posted by: swiftsmail | July 8, 2009 5:50 PM
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wait, do i smell another stimulus package coming.. obama doest have a freakin clue whats goin on-- there running our gov. like a freakin casino, or the mob.. the dumb is always easliy influinced by words,and not FACTS. remember what i said when you pay your taxes.. college grads are wokin at freakin mcdonalds for christ sake

Posted by: darin_holmes | July 8, 2009 4:49 PM
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"As we watch a world in which the elite have taken us close to the brink of economic disaster and a government staffed with people with great educations,"

Well, it wasn't exactly an elite that insisted on Reaganomics as their first choice for economic theory. Or their first choice for theory of Government.

It was the very ordinary incompetents Reagan and Bush liked to foist off on the country so that their claims about the incompetence of government might come true.

If this is where MIT's management school has devolved, perhaps they ought to drop the department for a while, until they can find a more competent head.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2009 4:42 PM
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i HOPE sarah does run, but as a independent.. so she can expose the corruption in rep. and dems. media,ect.. shes a threat alright, to the corrupt dead fish washington politicians and there scams, kickbacks, schemes, stealing tax payer money,ect..how can you report so much negitive on her, shes a freakin(american)you know-one of us fool-theres no terrorist sh-t goin on to report- i just hope that the people see whats really goin on

Posted by: darin_holmes | July 8, 2009 4:40 PM
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Sarah Palin represents hope, all right.

Tha Sarah's Army hope that she keeps being Sarah, and the Republican Party lets her lock up the Republican nomination early.

The Bush apologists hope that Obama fails miserably and then they can say "I told you so", and run to finish the ruin of the world's economy. That way they can have some chance of electing some replacements for their current flock of nay sayers.

The Dems hope the Republicans are flat out dumb enough to LET her do a Goldwater, or a Nixon, or a Reagan, and lock up the nomination before a single vote is cast in a primary in 2012.

They all hope for a landslide.

Only the Democrats have chosen to live in the reality based universe, though.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2009 4:37 PM
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She's a disingenuous phony.

She's no Maverick.
She's no thinker.

She's a demagogue and an opportunist.

Posted by: vigor | July 8, 2009 4:23 PM
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She is the George W. Bush of female politicians. If this doesn't scare the GOP then we Liberals shall rule for a loooooong time. WE HAVE ALL THREE HOUSES AND ANYONE THAT THINKS PALIN CAN GO THE DISTANCE... She just quit.


Posted by: Mitchavery7 | July 8, 2009 2:37 PM
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Oh, I get it.

This is Cambridge-tinged "irony," ain't it?

You yankees are sooooo funny.

Be careful what you wish for.

Like Sarah says, it's about Country. And Western.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | July 8, 2009 1:26 PM
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The housing bubble by itself wouldn't be economic disaster. It's the housing bubble on top of the budget deficit, the war, no climate policy, etc.

Bush and Co. gave us everything but the housing bubble. I was unaware that Bush and Co. were "the elite" that the GOP rails against.

Posted by: theamazingjex | July 8, 2009 1:04 PM
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Huh? You're at MIT?
I live in Alaska, and she's no maverick.

Posted by: dimitralavrakas | July 8, 2009 12:05 PM
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