Does The Rise Of Sarah Palin Illustrate The “Peter Principle” At Work?

What a sweetheart Sarah Palin seems to be — pretty, vivacious, and, she knows how to handle a gun.  It’s easy to see how she has been popular her whole life.  I imagine that in high school she was often the center of attention, the “barracuda” of her high school girl’s basketball team, “Miss Congeniality” at the beauty contest.  Who wouldn’t vote for such a girl?

She now has risen to dizzying heights on the national stage.  And the question is, has she risen way beyond her level of competence?  Is she ready to take control of the launch codes of our nuclear arsenal?

The Peter Principle was a book published in 1968 that made the observation that often in an organization, people rise to a “level of their incompetence.”  You’ve got to wonder if, in Sarah Palin, we are seeing the Peter Principle in action.

I’ve been watching some of the Katie Couric interviews with Sarah Palin.  They are almost painful to watch.  In this video, Couric questions Palin about her reading habits, and asks, “When it comes to establishing your world view, I am curious what newspapers and magazines you regularly read before you were tapped …”

And here Couric starts her question to Palin with the comment, “You’ve cited the proximity of Russia as part of your foreign experience ….”

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9 Responses to Does The Rise Of Sarah Palin Illustrate The “Peter Principle” At Work?

  1. jeremy says:

    Let’s say McCain gets elected, then as the incumbent, gets elected again. The chances of him dying in office & leaving us with HER are mind-blowingly “good” (a term here loosely used).

    I used to like McCain, honestly, but here he has shown an incredible lack of good judgment. It’s almost impressive, if it weren’t so surreal and depressing.

  2. Brian says:

    Jeremy, the odds of McCain dying are at this state in his life are at 15%, look it up. It’s 24.5% AT THE END OF 2 TERMS ( That is not very high, sorry (for you) to say. What is mind-blowing is the incompetence of the usual liberal blogger. THAT is surreal and depressing.

    I’m not a big fan of Palin, but it’s also mind-blowing how you left out the really good responses she made, which far outweighed the Biden-type responses.

  3. General Delivery says:

    The chance that obamma-lamma-dingdong gets elected is frightening! I don’t care for his ‘friends’ or him. He is the least qualified to be president of the United States that any on either ticket. If he is elected, he will be a disaster.

  4. Stan Hirtle says:

    Demeaning someone by making fun of their name (this works to the extent it does because it is a name unfamiliar to Americans as we have not had generations fo Kenyan immigrants and their descendants living here) displays a lack of substance, and I would guess an assumption that the belief that he should be demeaned is shared.

    Palin had been set up with low expectations based on her recent interviews. In the debate she performed as you would expect for someone who had been a point guard, a beauty contestant, a news anchor and a participant in debates when she was running for governor. She was not going to shrink before Biden. Mostly she gave speeches rather than answering questions, taking advantage of her preparation and putting her folksy spunky personality front and center. This works better in a debate where the purpose is to be competitive, rather than an interview where the question and the substance are more what matters. Whether it worked or not, like everything about these debates, was in the eye of the beholder. If you read her sentences they will not make much sense a lot of the time, but debates are watched rather than read. Probably you either like her personality or you don’t. Probably you either are concerned that she might actually have to be president or you aren’t. She did not hurt McCain, nor did Biden do anything that would hurt Obama. We probably go to the default position that the vice presidents don’t matter much to voters.

  5. jeremy says:


    Hostile much? Damn. Oh well, tit for tat…

    McCain is 72 and has had melanoma. That means skin cancer. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is currently about 75 years for males(1). And he was a smoker for many years of his life, quitting in 1980 when he was about 44.

    You do the math.

    If McCain’s elected, we MAY very well wind up with a backstabbing(2) moron who thinks dinosaurs and humans coexisted a mere few thousand years ago(3), speaks in tongues(4), believes in witches(5), can’t pronounce the name of the thousands of planet-killing warheads she’s going to have her hands all over(6), and thinks that the END of the f*cking WORLD is a ***GOOD*** thing(?!!)* (7)(8)(9).

    But she winks and says something folksy (meaning, retarded and hillbilly) and mindless Republicans all over the country swoon.

    It never fails to shock me how brutally ignorant conservatives are.

    *in my book, anyone who WANTS the world to end is on the side of evil. Like Doctor Doom evil.


  6. J.R. Locke says:

    I can’t watch her. Like you said Mr. Bock it is painful to watch. I couldn’t watch the VP debate because of it. She reminds me way to much of G.W. with that “aw shucks” demeanor. Followed up by a obviously coached line…..painful.

  7. Andy says:

    Gosh Jeremy…thanks for enlightening us with those references to that bastion of journalistic integrity, the L.A. Times. EVRYTHING in the L.A. Times must be true, right?
    Would you care to comment on the fact that Joe Biden thinks FDR was President during the ’29 stock market crash? Or that he tinks FDR went on TV at that time and spoke to the American people?

    Excuse me…maybe I’m being “brutally ignorant” here.

  8. I idolize Sarah Palin because she is a woman with very strong character. She has also lots of accomplishments in the area of public service.^

  9. Bob Sefner says:

    I think you have it wrong. The real person who this really applies to is OBAMA. Just look at what he has done and is doing.

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