This past Saturday, NBC’s Saturday Night Live reported its highest mark in Nielsen ratings since March of 1994. The reason? Governor Sarah Palin opened the show as a guest alongside her famous impersonator, Tina Fey and the Funky Bunch leader, Mark Wahlberg (merely a surprise guest). While she garnered praise and laughs from audience members and over 14 million viewers, we wonder: From a communications standpoint, how effective and strategic was her decision to appear on the show with the presidential elections just three weeks away?
Later appearing in the show’s regular Weekend Update segment, Palin appears confident, casual and – not surprisingly – friendly. But, this hasn’t been something that opponents and supporters of Palin are worried about. From her first speaking opportunity at the Republican Convention in September to this past weekend’s guest appearance on SNL, it’s clear that Palin is “fun, light and confident.” Scared is one thing she’s not. But does her confident and – what many have dubbed “cute” – demeanor come off as naïve and lacking intelligence?
At a time when our economy is falling to pieces and our country at war, Palin’s fun and outgoing personality, though quite endearing, may not be what this country is looking for in a presidential running mate. What voters have expressed is a desire for a strong, dependable, experienced, intelligent VP who can support and advise our President with the best possible direction and counsel. Doesn’t quite look like Sarah’s signature wink and inability to provide knowledgeable answers on McCain’s success (see Katie Couric’s recent interview where Palin stumbles to answer the question) is achieving that image.
If Palin is trying to gain credibility in these next few weeks, a confident (and what many are saying arrogant) appearance on SNL isn’t the way to go. While SNL mocks the woman who’s running to stand as our country’s next Vice President, Palin sits complacently on the show, smiling and seemingly having a ball on the show. There’s no telling if or how this will effect voters as they cast their vote in three weeks, but there’s one thing for sure: Sarah Palin, alongside Mark Wahlberg, has found herself in a funky bunch this weekend.