Average Joe vs. Smooth-Talking Sarah
by Jane Elkin
It has been said that good leaders surround themselves with good people. Judged on the unconscious truth of handwriting, both vice presidential nominees complement the leaders of their team.
Both signatures earn high marks for clarity, open-mindedness (full upper loops), imagination and intellect (high-flying i-dots and tall letters.) And both have a big public image (big initials).
Palin’s large circle at the base of her ‘S’ shows a strong desire to serve, and she projects family pride by tying her first name to her last in a carefully stylized signature that affirms the beauty queen within is still obsessed with appearances.
Biden also shows family pride in the inflated capital of his last name, but he emphasizes his first name with simplicity: capital block letters with a strong, ramrod-straight J. His Average Joe image, reinforced by his open-collared portrait, invites trust and inspires confidence.
Biden and Palin are both politicians. A somewhat variable slant and letter gauge are common to people-pleasers who will change their stance to reflect what their constituents want to hear. But each brings real strengths to the table to back up those promises.
Biden is the quintessential diplomat. Note the diminishing size of his words as they move from left to right. People who do this are adept at working out situations to everyone’s satisfaction. Not surprising for an innovative thinker. We see this in the unique manner with which he joins the e to the p of keep. No one taught him that in school, yet it is a beautifully efficient and practical shortcut.
Compared to Palin, his signature is more consistent with his text, so he is more genuinely like his public image. His more pronounced forward slant and closer word spacing show he has a strong need for people, while his word endings indicate generosity tempered by caution.
But he’s not getting enough exercise, judging from his stunted lower extensions. Maybe it’s that long commute from Delaware.
His message sends a double meaning. The self-effacing words I need help, which he has repeated on other signed notes, is a bid to establish common ground, but the changing form of his letter e within the word need indicates he was feeling conflicted when he wrote this.
Beyond that, who knows? Like McCain and Obama, Biden uses a degree of illegibility to lend vagueness to his messages.
Palin, on the other hand, is a communicator in the Reagan tradition. Her script is supremely legible with the figure-eights form common to professional wordsmiths, and her full e’s and closed o’s show she’s attentive and discreet. But look carefully. Those o’s and a’s also contain extraneous loops and some are formed upside-down. These signs warn that she keeps secrets not only from others but from herself as well.
On a personal note, she is rather like a porcupine: more vulnerable than she appears. The roundness at the baseline shows that she is at heart an agreeable person, but the sharpness on top shows that she has adopted an aggressive stance to protect herself.
For the Team
In Biden, Obama seems to have chosen a likeable everyman to balance his yuppie image. On the Republican side, Palin’s rhetorical prowess counters John McCain’s rashness.