A Controversy in the Making?

As you may have noticed during the last few months, I have developed a passion for politics. It’s probably thanks to our recent election, but not a day goes by when I’m not looking at some column on-line about politics or clicking onto one of my favorite websites, realpolitics.com. Still, the election is over and I’m ready to move on live with the choices we have made as a collective country for the next four years.

Barack Obama won and John McCain lost, but I see a controversy coming on the horizon sure to have people on both sides fuming.

Time magazine will pick it’s Person of the Year next month. It’s an annual honor bestowed to the greatest newsmaker of the past calendar. A tribute to the person who has the biggest impact on the our nation and the world. Now, conventional wisdom says in a year where politics were king, selecting Obama is a no-brainer and the closest thing to a sure lock.

Or is it?

John Friedman writes the column Media Web for the website Marketwatch. He is someone I enjoy reading because discusses media issues and he is always even-handed, never hinting that he is swinging one way or the other. In his latest column, he asked a question: Who will Time select as its Person on the year: Barack Obama or Sarah Palin?


Time Person of the Year 2006: “You”. They have been known to defy conventional wisdom with their choice before. Will they do it again this year?

I can see just the thought of Palin being selected enraging Obama supporters, believing their candidate is being disrespected. Even those who may supported McCain would likely sit there and say “are you kidding?”. Well, Jon makes a compelling argument as to why Palin should be considered as seriously as Obama for this honor.

Think about it. While Obama ignited dormant passion in the political scene and became the first African-American to win the Presidency, Palin pulled quite a coup of her own. She was a virtual unknown in the lower 49 when McCain picked her as a running mate. Virtually overnight, as Jon writes, she became perhaps the best known woman in the country and more popular than maybe any of the men running for office. Whether you consider her as a leader or laughable, America could not get enough of Palin.

Think about this: she lost the election in a blowout last week and news organizations are stumbling all over themselves to interview her. I have seen more of her on TV this week than I have of Obama … and she lost. Our new President has yet to take office an all the talk this week is about her possibly running in 2012. Only someone who’s got star qualities can get that kind of pub.

So who will Time choose: Obama or Palin? I’m guessing time may not have the guts to go with Palin and try and defend it. At the same time, they do work in the world of publishing. With every other magazine cover in January heralding Obama’s inauguration, what better way to sell magazines than to buck the trend.

And remember this: Time’s past winners have included Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin. It’s clear they are not afraid to go against conventional wisdom and play against what might be the popular choice. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy next month .. and let’s remember, it’s Person of the Year, not Man of the year anymore.

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