Samak and Palin: Struggling for Power

Reading Wall Street Journal (Sep 5-7, 2008 issue) on my flight to Bangkok, I came across two articles laid out on a same page about two political leaders of the opposite sex in different countries. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Thailand Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Both sound like they’re from Mars.

The two have waged the proverbial wars against their respective critics. On the one hand, Palin, 44, the youngest person and first woman to have governed Alaska, at a Republican National Convention, lashed out at those pillorying her as lacking experience to even play second fiddle to a President. She even widened the gap between her and the media when she included it in her speech’s blacklist.

On the other hand, Samak, 73, is playing psycho-war with his nemeses, in government and outside. Amidst a strong movement demanding his ouster and systemic change in Thailand, Samak had the grit to call for a referendum asking the populace whether he should stay or not. Democracy-lovers in the country would not forget his previous red-scare stints where he ordered or worked for the clamp-down on progressives.

Interestingly, Palin is being dismissed as a weakling, while Samak is being painted as too strong to lead a country in search of a real democracy. Two unpopular earthlings faced with the daunting task of surviving scares to their respective political careers. One wants greater power while the other wants to stay in power. Will they eventually survive? It’s definitely worth watching.

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