Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin and Sarcastic Leadership

I must admit that I have not watched much of either political convention. Although I have caught glimpses of both conventions, I decided to sit down and watch Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention last night. For me, it was an intriguing speech, not by the content of what was said, but more by the context and delivery of how it was said.

I thought palin's speech was riddled with dry, witty humor. More than that though, I felt Palin's speech was loaded with sarcasm. Now, although I most likely will not be voting for this party in the election, I have to admit that I found her sarcasm rather entertaining and funny. See, I have a bit of a knack for sarcasm, and I thought it was neat that she was not afraid to use it. My question to you is: Did she go too far? Was there too much sarcasm in her speech? Should she have stayed away from the sarcastic comments altogether?

See, I'm very intrigued by what your thoughts will be, because almost a year ago (in fact it was my fourth post ever), I wrote about Sarcastic Leadership, and had some great discussion. Many felt that sarcasm needs to be left out of leadership completely, while others felt it was a small ingredient in a large meal; okay to use in small doses. Over the past year I've come to see that sometimes sarcasm is best left out of the leadership recipe, as many people see it as demoralizing and childish. With that said, though, I still love sarcasm, and I still use it when warranted.

So, help me out....I need your opinions! How did Palin do? Was there as much sarcasm as I saw? And, was it okay to use sarcasm? How about in general? Can sarcasm exist in leadership?
note: picture courtesy of


Andy V said...

So what does the "King" of sarcasm really think? Did she go too far? ;)

Eric Peterson said...

Thanks for stopping by....Long time no talk!

I actually got quite a kick out of it. I had some appreciation for her speech and for the use of sarcasm. With that said, though, I do think she probably used too much sarcasm when referring to the "other party." Instead of sprinkiling it on top, I think she lathered up/ It worked to rev up the peopel at the stadium, but it may have left herself open to criticism from outside, because her focus was so much on the other party, and not on her and John McCain's policies.

I've already decided which way I'm voting (and no it won't be for her party), but I can still enjoy a sarcastic and witty speech from the other side, right?

Andrew B. Clark said...

I think Tim's comment (from the September 12th post) is dead on. Sarcasm is a form of passive-aggression. If used properly, it gets the point through with a bit of humor - tickling the recipients into action. If it's used as an aggressive "flick to the ear," that's when it steps into a more detrimental area.

I use sarcasm. In this society, I can't see surviving without it. But if you make it too aggressive, it can backfire on you... just ask my wife.

Great post(s), Eric!

Keep Cooking!

Brenda said...

You bring up an interesting point about sarcasm. I, too, like sarcasm ... when I'm not at the receiving end of it. I like the wit of it ... but it is, by definition, mean-spirited, which typically I find very troublesome. And I have to agree with Andrew Clark that it's a form of passive-aggression. Having admitted that -- and now admitting that I'm not a conservative voter -- I still have to say that Palin's comments did NOT offend me. But, then again, I'm not taking her very seriously and I'm not sure why!

Eric Peterson said...


Good points. I think you and Tim are right: Sarcasm is a form of passive-aggressive behavior (something that many of my fellow midwesterners) are good at!!

I can't see surviving without it either.

Eric Peterson said...


Thanks for your take on Palin's comments. I found them rather humorous.

And you're right as well. It can be very detrimental (especially to relationships). But, I must agree, I do find sarcasm very witty!!

Timothy Johnson said...

Yes, I would agree there were tinges of sarcasm throughout.

However, if you look at what has transpired in the past week, it must not have hurt too much with McCain now running neck-and-neck with Obama (mostly due to Sarah Palin).

I think the important thing here is to look at the strategic importance of the past two weeks. McCain's camp has demonstrated an uncanny ability to befuddle the Obama camp. They effectively deflated the media impact of the DNC by dangling the "mysterious pick" over the lemmings' ... er... um... reporters' heads all week, keeping the attention off of the DNC. The morning after Barack's big speech, the announcement is made. Even Palin's baggage was released in well timed increments.

Her speech was masterfully engineered and executed, but it was only a small part of the bigger picture.

Now the Democratic party is being put on the defensive by the age-old pre-school adage: You don't hit girls.

As somebody who geeks out over office politics, I have to give McCain his due credit. He has masterfully used communication and timing to his benefit and demonstrated a much better strategic sense of how to get things done and how to get people's attention than Obama has.