It’s a political cartoonist’s dream: Sarah Palin is reportedly planning a trip to England to meet her political idol, Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady, Britain’s first female prime minister, the infamous union-buster of the ’80s meets the Pitbull in Lipstick.
Thatcher is now 84 and out of public life, yet her reputation still looms larger than life over not just British but world politics, and meeting her may help Palin burnish some Serious Politician credentials as she stretches for that Reaganite mantle that’s still political gold among Republican voters. Thatcher, after all, had what they call a very special relationship with Reagan, bonded by their mutual love of privatization.
Palin’s attempts at credibility-by-osmosis may be enough for a section of the base, but they won’t help her win over anyone in the middle. Thatcher didn’t trade on her femininity or any folksy accent, personal drama or $150,000 wardrobe. She didn’t need an army of consultants. Instead, she sold her politics. Palin, on the other hand, is the woman who famously couldn’t name a newspaper she reads.
It’s a grim day when feminists are comparing Thatcher favorably to another female politician. Yet when I picture Thatcher and Palin’s meeting, I can’t help but imagine Thatcher rolling her eyes and saying "You’ve got to be kidding me."