Within a few hours of each other, I heard the disappointing news that Sarah Palin will not run for president and the disheartening news that Steve Jobs has died. Both have profound effects on this country. One had a great impact on recent history, one has an impact on the present.
Apple was a fixture in the home computer market of the 1980’s. Its fortunes changed in the 90s, as the internet seemed geared toward Windows. Apple was producing a boutique product, a more expensive computer loved by professionals, artists and loyalists. The average consumer nearly ignored it,but this last decade belonged to Steve Jobs.
Almost 10 years ago today, the iPod was introduced. Music on the internet had been reduced from multiple “free” sharing sites to a burgeoning system of pay per song. The iPod offered not only a portable music player, but an easy way to download, organize and play your music. Microsoft was left in the dust. The iPhone is a brand all in itself, with more apps than you can count with Android just trying to keep up. The iPad is the gold standard of what we now call tablets. People may have PCs at home, but many spend most of the day tethered to a smart phone.
One of the biggest names in social media is Sarah Palin. She’s used a technology that was in the early stages in 2008 to bypass what has come to be a hostile media filter. Even under constant attack, her support is rock solid. There was a palpable sadness when she announced she will not seek the nomination.
I still don’t know what to make of her announcement. The romantic in me wanted the epic battle of common sense conservatism against Mitt Romney’s squishy centrism. I sure as hell wanted to see “Sarah be Sarah” without idiot campaign advisers like Nicolle Wallace planning defeat. The wonk in me knows that Romney will batter Obama in the general election, but he won’t have the good-natured panache of Palin. We will all feel dirty after this campaign season. Maybe then we’ll be ready for Palin. It took decades to be ready for Steve Jobs.