A lot of people are mad that Sarah Palin made the list—she’s among the ranks of Washington, Ali and Lincoln. I’d admit that most reasonable people wouldn’t necessarily think of her in terms of being one of the greatest figures of all time—however, there is something to be said for why she’s on the list based purely on the way the algorithm was presented.
“Skiena and Ward rank people according to their historical significance, which they define as “the result of social and cultural forces acting on the mass of an individual’s achievement.” Their rankings account not only for what individuals have done, but also for how well others remember and value them for it.”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonianmag/meet-100-most-significant-americans-all-time-180953341/#zrmaqHkZSzvb4UVV.99
Based on this criteria, there is no doubt that Palin has a social and cultural significance that most others do not.
Albeit, I would consider it a negative significance and I think overall, Palin has damaged the political landscape with her shallow thinking and rhetoric. Not to mention how close she came to being a heartbeat away from the presidency.
In the end, Palin is a warning. She’s an anomaly that when given a microphone and some talking points—she can reek havoc on the emotions of a reasoned populous.
Palin is dangerous—not in the usual way. Her voice leads people to act against their better judgment and against their own self-interest.
Should Palin be on this list is more a matter of opinion, but to me she deserves to be there—if for no other reason as a reminder of how close she came to her prize and why we must remember her so we do not repeat this history.