Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sarah Palin and her Boosters
The Geeks and the Beauty Queen

So where the hell did Sarah Palin come from, anyway? Like most casual observers of politics, I'd never heard of her until this summer...or if I had, I quickly forgot all about it.

Today's Washington Post has a great piece by Richard Cohen entitled: Palin's Love Boats. In the column, Cohen spins the tail of a gaggle of conservative journalists who trekked up to Alaska in 2006 and were stunned to find a beauty queen fairy princess.

Upon their return, they began a drumbeat designed to bring Palin to center stage in the lower 48.

Cohen writes:
After an apparently bravura saying of grace, she wowed her guests with some excellent halibut cheeks and the Category 4 force of her personality. Some of them sank into a kind of delirium known to high schoolers and praised her as "my heartthrob" (Kristol), "a mix between Annie Oakley and Joan of Arc" (Gerson) and, so far not evident, "smart" (Barnes).

It's a great story. And, as we keep our fingers crossed for an Obama Presidency, it's tempting to laugh at the Saga of Sarah.

But my fear is that Palin is not going away. When I first saw and heard her, I was afraid. She did come across as a hockey mom, someone from the "common ranks" who would break the "elitist" mold. I looked at Sarah Palin and saw a political actress I could easily cast as my local bank branch manager, real estate agent, or local sales rep. Someone perfectly likable, hardworking, knowledgeable in their field, and yet at the same time, perfectly willing to believe that aliens walked among us, or that Harry Potter books led to Devil worship.

While I'm not hungering for this type of leader, I suspected that many Americans were.

Palin would have been very hard to stop, I think. Because to criticize her would be to criticize ordinary Americans...

And, in the end, I think that we were only saved because we were VERY fortunate to have a rare combination of looks and talent in comedian Tina Fey. Fey almost single handedly was able to defuse Palin and help us see her as ridiculous because the actress looked SO much like her target that it almost seemed as if Palin herself were making the jokes.

If elected, President Barak Obama will have a rough first term...there is little doubt about that. The problems heaped on his shoulders will be all but overwhelming. If he is unable to convince a divided America that he is making progress, I have no doubt that we will see Palin back again.

And that still scares me.

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