It is finally coming into focus what it is about Sarah Palin has that Barack Obama does not and it has those who attended the first Tea Party convention in Nashville eating out the palm of her hand. At least the one she doesn’t scribble notes on.
He’s Black and he’s smart. She’s White and she’s not.
Which is what makes the Tea Party and Palin go together like salt and nuts. They have gravitated to each other which is odd considering a group that distrusts politicians and the “liberal” media have both swooned over an ambitious and driven politician who loves the media spotlight.
It’s equally amazing to watch to the Palin groupies rally to her side against any slight to her, real or imagined.
The conservative cliché has become, “Oh, she’s just a private citizen. Stop hatin’ on Sarah. Why are you Lefties so obsessed with her?”
Let’s dispense with this nonsense. She’s a former candidate for vice-president who was chosen by her ancient running mate for two reasons: One: Her impeccable right-wing credentials and Two: her MILF factor. What else is there? It’s certainly not based upon her impressive command of domestic and foreign policy issues.
Palin quit her post as the chief executive of Alaska to move down to the lower 48, go on a rock star tour to shill her ghost-written book, joined Fox News as a “commentator” and pocketed $100,000 to give the keynote speech to a nascent political organization to burnish her own obvious run for the presidency in 2012.
Now what about that is not newsworthy? There are only two–count ’em–TWO charismatic personalities in the conservative camp right now.
Limbaugh is one and Palin is 1a. Everyone else is either a politician or a bureaucrat. Palin and Limbaugh by the power of their personalities are the only fire starters the Right has right now. They don’t just galvanize the Left to attack them. They galvanize the Right to defend them. Others personalities may emerge within the next two years, but right now, they’re it.
Palin IS a rank hypocrite when within the space of days she blasts Rahm Emanuel for his politically incorrect speech, and then clumsily turns around and says it’s not the same thing when Rush Limbaugh calls someone a “retard.” If it’s wrong when Rahm says it, why is it right when Rush says it too?
It’s also dumb to one minute jab at Obama in your speech at the Tea Party convention saying, “This is about the people and it’s bigger than any king or queen of a tea party and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.”
Right before she checks her crib notes for talking points.
It’s her right as an American citizen to run for whatever office her ambition; ego and handlers tell her to go for. Just don’t feed me this trash that it’s a fatal attraction of the Left with Palin that keeps her in the news. She has her own obsession with celebrity, cash and power that keeps her chugging along just fine.
It seems to be infectious. David Broder, the personification of the embedded Washington columnist who gave up insight for access, lavished wet, sloppy kisses over Palin’s performance saying, “This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul…There are times when the American people are looking for something more: for an Eisenhower, who liberated Europe; an FDR or a Kennedy or a Bush, all unashamed aristocrats; or an Obama, with eloquence and brains.”
“But in the present mood of the country, Palin is by all odds a threat to the more uptight Republican aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — and potentially, to Obama as well,” Broder wrote.
Far be it from me to disagree with the so-called Dean of Washington journalists, but I’m far less impressed by Palin than he is. It’s easy in the cold and snow of February 2010 to postulate that the Power of Palin will bulldoze any and all Republican challengers in 2012 and then Obama, but Broder doesn’t seem to get that just like Hillary Clinton, Palin is a polarizing figure who motivates her critics as well as supporters. There isn’t anything remotely “populist” in the Palin playbook which just looks like more of the same old post-Reagan strategy of giving ’em tax cuts, be vague as hel about your true agenda, and stay folksy. You’ll have them eating out of your hand like David Broder.
Sarah Palin is not Ronald Reagan with breasts. While the Palinistas insist she is his true spiritual heir, there are other conservatives who give that idea two big thumbs down.
Liberals have built Palin into Queen Kong. Can she draw a crowd? Yep. Can she fire up the base? You betcha. Does she have a brilliant political mind and an underrated command of details which enable her to articulate the issues clearly, concisely and coherently? Get real.
Palin is not Ronald Reagan redux. She’s as scary to liberals as Reagan was comforting to conservatives, but it’s a disservice to Reagan to compare her meager abilities to his almost legendary skills. Could Obama turn out to be one term and done as president? Sure he could. Maybe Palin will be the one to send him back to sweet home Chicago, but she will have to do more than she’s done so far to show she’s ready to sit in the big chair. She had one in Alaska and didn’t find it comfortable. If Obama bombs out, voters may want a safe, old White guy with gray in his hair to replace him instead of yet another minimally experienced Chief Executive.
The mistake not to make here is to ridicule Palin so much that she becomes an object of sympathy or to inflate her as a Wonder Woman with mythical powers at her command. She’s only a politician. Maybe different from other demagogues and single-issue candidates that predate her emergence, but in many other ways, Palin is quite similar.
Her strength perches upon President Obama’s perceived weakness. There are scenarios in play that lead Palin to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But Palin wouldn’t go into an head-to-head throwdown with Obama unblemished. There’s plenty of unfinished business about how Palin performed as governor of Alaska and the fact she quit in her first term to cash in on her stardom is a bitter pill for even conservatives that like her to choke down. Quitters make lousy leaders, mostly because you never know when they’re going to up and quit again.
Look, its obvious Palin wants to be president. I got no problem with that. I still don’t believe she has the right stuff to go all the way through a presidential campaign and the reason she seems like such hot stuff now is because compared to Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee she’s a freaking superstar.
Right now though, people spend more time talking about what she’s writing on her hand instead of what is coming out of her mouth. Can anyone say what Sarah Palin would do to stimulate the economy? Or how to handle Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions? How would Palin put Americans back to work?
Nobody can answer those questions for me because NOBODY KNOWS. Palin has said and done nothing to lead anyone to believe she has even thought about the problems of the country. I don’t think anyone–liberal, conservative or otherwise–should be making noises about wanting to be the leader of this country without giving some serious thought as to how and where they want to lead it.
Is Palin really a racist with xenophobic and anti-government sentiments? Perhaps not, but she is comfortable hanging with those who clearly are. The Tea Party as a whole is not racist, but there are plenty of racists who feel at home in The Tea Party and nobody seems to be terribly troubled within the movement to get rid of them. Palin certainly has shown no sign to she wants to distance herself from the racists, anti-immigrant nativists, Birthers, 9/11 Truthers and other fringe types hanging around the Tea Party. As long as they do Palin looks like the candidate of the Angry White Man. That’s a formidable voting bloc, but is a winning one?
As time goes by, I find myself almost hoping Palin does run for president. The biggest threat to Obama doesn’t come from the extremists like Palin, Cheney and Limbaugh. It’s the smooth operators like a Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee who are quietly going about their business and flying under the radar while Palin grabs the headlines. They know the danger that lies in peaking too soon.
Palin’s act won’t wear well over nearly a two-year presidential campaign. She serves up plenty of red meat for the Palinistas and Tina Fey to gorge on, but there’s a limit to how much of the “folksy, soccer mom” shtick voters will put up with when they are out of work, afraid of losing their homes, and scared about their future. That’s when they will demand solid answers and not vague homilies to motherhood, God and country.
What Palin and the Tea Party want to bring about is a hard right turn back to the Reagan Era, but I’m unconvinced that is where America wants to go. More tax cuts for the wealthy, less oversight over the banks, maintaining the status quo on healthcare and more wars are not the type of policies anyone but neocons and Republicans want to pursue.
By tying the fortunes of the Tea Party to her own, Palin is betting she can use their anger to fuel her brand of right-wing populism to propel her right over her Republican competitors and then Barack Obama. I have serious doubts that the politics of resentment are going to be enough. George Wallace, Ross Perot and other candidates from the fringes of the political Left and Right have tried to parlay White resentment, frustration and fear all the way into the Oval Office.
The seeds of Sarah Palin’s defeat rest within the character of Sarah Palin. Her narcissistic need to be the center of attention, her exaggerated sense of achievement and her abilities, and her expectation that everything she does will be met with acclaim and adulation no matter how reckless, baffling or foolhardy the action is. Palin takes no responsibility for anything, never takes ownership for her own errors but always finds a handy scapegoat (the press, liberals, disloyal staffers) and occupies a fantasy world obsessed with wealth, power and success—her success.
Sarah Palin does not feel your pain. She only wants your vote and unconditional love. But she’s no Reagan or Wonder Woman. She’s the media darling of the moment. Just like Barack Obama was once. Then he got elected and suddenly he wasn’t .