Buried among the more electrifying revelations about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the mildly disturbing fact that she gets up at 4.30 a.m. every day. Of course in Anchorage, where Ms Palin lives and where sunrise shifts from 4.20 a.m. in summer to 10.15 a.m. in winter, alarm clock settings may be regarded as a mere matter of personal perversity.
There is, however, a marked tendency among politicians to get up way too early. Condoleezza Rice wakes up at 4.30 a.m. every day to go to the gym. George Bush is a famous early riser, but prefers to be tucked up by 9 p.m. Margaret Thatcher got by on less than five hours’ sleep a night. Gordon Brown is at his desk at six every day, and he lives above the shop. Not every politician shares this love of the vampire shift. The leader of the U.K. Opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron, recently suggested that he would be “a different sort of prime minister” and that a healthy work-life balance might include the occasional lie in. “If you immerse yourself from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m., it so affects your balance, family life, your sense of who you are,” he told the London Daily Mail, implying that by getting up early Brown was doing something foolish and vaguely evil. And John McCain has let it be known that sometimes he sleeps until 8 a.m. It’s a wonder he and his running mate have ever met.
— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008