Deborah Gyapong: Why women will understand Sarah is not a man

Why women will understand Sarah is not a man

Katy Couric tried to put Sarah Palin on the spot to give a list of times Senator McCain had supported regulation. She answered sweetly that she would find them and get back to her.

I imagine Obamacrat and Democrat and left-wing blogs are going nuts about this and so, possibly, will be some conservative blogs who have reservations about whether she is experienced and smart enough to be VP.

Over the years I have observed a difference between men and women, a generalization for sure that does not apply in all cases, that has nothing to do with innate intelligence, just certain gifts men have for remembering lists of facts and dates and so on.

Have you ever noticed that there are few women who can do what Peter Mansbridge or Don Newman do? That most pundits are men, even though journalists are 50/50 women and men? That there are fewer women who can go live and be able to confidently spout dates and facts and poll numbers, rolling with the flow, because they have a memory like a disc drive? Okay, Chantal Hebert is an obvious exception, but as someone who regularly booked guests and was under CBC pressure to balance the panels with female voices, I would tell you she has a rare talent for a woman.

I don't have this ability. I just do not retain a lot of factual information in my brain. I have to look stuff up. I have to check my facts and my dates, I cannot count on accurately conjuring them up on the spot, under pressure. But that doesn't make me stupid or less competent in other areas. It meant that I would never be a good on air person, quick on the up take, confident of my memory. Instead, I became a television producer. Over the years, in working with many top television personalities both men and women and various pundits, I have found that more men exhibit the disc-drive memory skills than women. More men tend to be policy wonks.

Hillary Clinton seems to me to have more of a men's brain for detail and policy stuff.

Now...does that mean we can only have leaders who act and think like men? What might Sarah Palin bring to the table?

One of the things I observed over the years is that on occasion the people who have the disc-drive brains become overconfident. Sometimes they retrieve information that is wrong, but since they are so often right, they are perhaps less likely to check their facts. Someone like me and I bet Sarah Palin, too, is going to be much more conscientious about checking things twice.

Another gift I think she will bring to leadership is common sense and ability to grasp quickly whether something or someone is authentic and truthful. Some of the most articulate and policy-wonkish, fact-retrieving people are the stupidist people on earth when it comes to emotional intelligence and genuine perception.

Of course it is possible to have a disc-drive brain and also have common sense and so on, but what Sarah Palin has going for her is that there's a real person there, an authentic, genuine human being. That comes across. No, I doubt we'll ever be transcribing her spontaneous quotes and finding she speaks in articulate paragraphs bolstered with statistics, though as she gains more experience I suspect she will do a lot better.

And we are likely to see her most inarticulate efforts highlighted, just as George W. Bush's have been, but the gaffes on the part of Obama and Biden shrugged off.



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