Both are in the news this week and it is hard to think of two people who are more different.
The publication of Palin’s book, Going Rogue, has lead to plenty of comment. A Sunday Times article, “Beware the fantasy world of Sarah, Warrior Princess”, describes how her image as a woman persecuted makes her a cultural and political icon.
“It is an image of a frontierswoman, capable of anything, fiercely independent, fathomlessly brave, totally unflappable and blessed by faith in God, resisting the evil cynicism and hatred of the eastern elites, ambushed by hostile interviewers, persecuted by her godless enemies…”
Whilst for many she is bizarre, with her core audience of fundamentalist Republicans she makes a powerful emotional connection. They really do like her.
David Cameron should take note. The Observer in its Column section had this headline, “Cameron is losing his likeable qualities.”
Cathy Ashton has never campaigned in the public arena but, like Palin, she understands her electorate. Not the masses but the few power brokers, who elected her over a dinner. A profile in the Observer reveals that she too knows how to be likeable, how to connect emotionally.
” Cathy spreads calm, she is oil on troubled waters and liked by eveyone. I have never heard a nasty word said about her. She is a persuader and a charmer. She is excellent at building good relations and a good negotiator. That is the secret of her success”.
So, perhaps her selection is not so surprising after all!
In any pitch, it is likeability and making an emotional connection that so often separate winners from losers.