Photo copyright 2009, Chicago Tribune
You might have noticed a movie currently in theaters about a runaway train that can’t be stopped. Of course, being a Hollywood movie, there’s a happy ending to that story. I wish I could say the same about Sarah Palin’s unstoppable run for the U.S. presidency. Unless she manages to self destruct, which is terribly unlikely, we’re looking at a Palin versus Obama contest in 2012.
Let’s leave aside everybody’s criticisms of Obama. I may be in the minority these days since I think he’s done a pretty good job given the situation. Most commentators, left and right find fault. Even assuming all those critiques have some value, it’s not what Obama did, could have done, didn’t do and should have done or shouldn’t have done; it’s what Palin has done and is continuing to do that will win out.
Palin is not the first politician in American history to understand how to ride a wave of discontent while at the same time stoking it. (Sorry about the mixed metaphor.) Most recently, Obama did the same. Sarah’s brilliance lies in her striking ability to garner financial support from the right-wing wealthy while appearing to her grass roots supporters as one of their own. It doesn’t matter how many times the media points to this contradiction; Palin has already trashed the credibility of the anti-Palin media among her followers. Those messages are discarded like junk mail. Meanwhile, the pro-Palin media, Rupert Murdoch’s empire in the lead, polish her image daily.
And what an image! Is there any red-blooded man in America who wouldn’t have sex with Sarah Palin, given the chance? Face it: she’s attractive and has star power to spare. Next to her, Huckabee looks like a hillbilly who’s lost his banjo. Romney looks like a used car salesman and Obama is that boring professor whose lectures you skipped.
But wait, the Republican and Democratic political establishments say, you can’t be president if you don’t have experience, gravitas, education, intellectual weight, and at least a few position papers that make sense. Too bad they’re totally wrong.
Many Americans have arrived at the conclusion that the establishment has screwed them, that there is a conspiracy among people in power, the people with experience, gravitas, education, intellectual weight, and at least a few position papers that make sense. Let’s see, what would the perfect antidote to that gang be? Sarah Palin: a know-nothing, rabble-rousing commoner who looks good, sounds good, and is storming in from the fringe.