In September 2008 the movie, The Dutchess, was released.
A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, an ancestor of Princess Diana who was alternately celebrated and reviled for her extravagant political and personal lives.
Now I have not yet actually seen this movie, but I have read a review of this movie that has moved me to ask the question in my title. I encourage you to read the review and draw your own conclusions. I also do not presume that the author of this review intended any comparison, so just blame me for the suggestion. I will provide some excerpts of this review that I think bolster my suggestion.
I did not expect that, amid the romance, costumes, and drama, I would strike libertarian gold!
It was one pivotal scene in particular that piqued my curiosity. When Charles Fox (played by Simon McBurney), who was Georgiana’s mentor and the leader of the Whig party, argues for the importance of “freedom in moderation,” Georgiana responds quickly and firmly that there cannot be scales of freedom. Rather, the “concept of freedom is an absolute.”
The Duchess of Devonshire lived in a time that bears striking similarities to our own. In the late 18th century, England was rife with tensions between an increasingly powerful state and a swelling grassroots opposition. The frustrated Whigs were becoming increasingly radicalized in their defense of liberty against the corrupt, ever-expanding powers of King George III.
I think you could replace the word Whigs with Republicans and replace the words King George III with President Obama and it would describe early 21st Century US.
But Georgiana was not a shrinking violet. She was fiercely passionate about her party’s ideals. Her favorite book was Vertot’s Revolutions of Sweden, which is about, as she put it, a “[h]ero fighting for liberty of his country and to revenge the memory of an injur’d friend against lawless cruelty and oppressive tyranny.”
Georgiana recognized that liberal ideals could only be spread through dedicated organizing and savvy marketing.
Georgiana was a marketing genius, one of the first to refine political messages for mass communication. She was an image-maker who understood the necessity for public relations, and she became adept at the manipulation of political symbols and the dissemination of party propaganda. She was simultaneously a public figurehead for the Whigs and an effective politician within the party.
To keep morale alive, she held vibrant, theatrical parties, dinners, and rallies.
Georgiana was a powerful asset for the Whigs, serving as campaign manager, strategist, advisor, inspiration, and symbol of the movement. She brought Whig ideals back into fashion with her costumes, balls, and events. She helped shape the strategy and direction of the party, and she charged along when her comrades lost steam.
Driven by strong convictions and a fervent belief in freedom, Georgiana was a master political propagandist, a powerful negotiator, an impassioned orator, and a keen political strategist. In many ways, she was the woman behind the men of the Enlightenment.
So that’s it. These parts of this review are what made me think of Sarah Palin. I know some people think that Sarah Palin can do no wrong while other people think she can do nothing right. The truth is somewhere in between. This is not a pro-Palin nor an anti-Palin diary. It is just my personal observation that Sarah Palin can refine political messages for mass communication, and Sarah charges forward when her political comrades lose steam.
Cross-posted at The Minority Report