Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Palin Effect

Ever since John McCain picked her as his running mate nearly three weeks ago, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has ignited a spark in the presidential race, serving as a lightening rod for Republicans and Democrats alike. Little known outside of Alaska before then, she scored a major victory with her speech at the Republican National Convention earlier this month, which has been seen on YouTube over 400,000 times:

Palin, a staunchly pro-life, card-carrying member of the NRA, has succeeded in firing up the conservative base and captivating much of the country's attention; indeed, it's impossible to turn on the TV or glance at a newsstand these days without seeing a story about, or a controversy surrounding, the GOP's first female VP nominee. And nowhere—except perhaps in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska—is Palin's popularity more visible than on YouTube.

From her RNC speech to videos of her stump speeches across the nation, to loads of press coverage, there's no shortage of Palin soundbites on the site. Her videos have ranked among the most watched news & politics videos on YouTube for the last two weeks—and interest in her (perhaps much to Team Obama's chagrin) doesn't seem to be waning.

Equally popular are videos about Palin, in which people--some famous, some not--offer their take on the Alaska governor. These range from the unbiased and supportive to the irreverent and absurd; from Peggy Noonan's unknowingly recorded remarks, to Hollywood heavyweight Matt Damon's stinging tirade, in which he called Palin's candidacy "a really bad Disney movie":

And of course, it shouldn't be surprising that Palin has already inspired a string of impersonators. SNL's Tina Fey and Gina Gershon may be the most well known, but YouTube superstar Lisa Nova (whose Palin impersonation might've been the first) and Sarah Benincasa's series of mock vlogs featuring the Alaska Governor definitely rank with the best of them:

And while Palin has yet to inspire a political anthem along the likes of will.i.am's "Yes We Can," the songs tributes (and parodies) are starting to trickle in:


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