Palin Hurls Self Into Spotlight. Again.
First I wrote about her to inform people. Then I wrote about her because she was a hilarious political train wreck. Then I wrote about her because she annoyed me. Then I started writing about her because she really made me mad. Then I ignored her.
All of these actions shared the same unfortunate result. She did not go away. Well, she went away from Alaska, this is true. She said she did it for us. She’d be better able to work for Alaska from Outside, she said. Maybe while she’s out there, she can also find the “real killers.”
But leave us she did, and with even a worse governor than she was herself. Sure, she was a narcissist, and delusional, all about petty revenge and personal allegiances to the detriment of governance. And she kind of had a martyr complex. But at least she was a populist. At least she knew the oil companies were screwing us and tried to do something about it. At least she could work with Democrats.
The heir to the throne who’s in there now seems to actually dislike Alaskans, if you take trying to plunder the coffers of the state’s future to give billions a year of no-strings money to the wealthiest multinational corporations on earth, “disliking.” Oh, he knows the oil companies are screwing us too. But he is one of them – from his days as a lawyer on the wrong side of Exxon v. Baker, to his lobbyist days for ConocoPhillips, to his current lobbyist days in the governor’s mansion. At least you can give him points for consistency in his loyalties.
And as far as working with Democrats goes? Heck, he can’t even work with half of his own party. Sean Parnell has crawled into bed with the winners of the coup – the new Ron Paul/Tea Party owners of Alaska’s Republican Party. It’s some kind of bizarre Big Oil/Libertarian/Religious extremist alliance. They’ve each got an agenda, and it’s not the interest of the majority of Alaskans. He’s even got a “slush fund” to campaign against the Republicans who will work with Democrats. Bipartisanship is a dirty word in Sean Parnell’s book.
But I digress.
While her former Lt. Governor is running amok, dismantling the only good thing Palin ever did (the ACES oil tax system), she has undergone some kind of heinous, disfiguring, celebrity makeover – inside and out.
She’s hardly recognizable any more as the woman who, when she was governor, bragged about buying her clothes at a consignment store. She’s gone from trim and in shape to bag-o-bones chic. She’s been nipped and tucked, and coddled, and designer-clothed. She’s been managed, and told what to say, and she’s been deified by her ever-shrinking fan base.
Back in the day, her approval ratings as Alaska’s governor hovered around 90%. Think about that. It just doesn’t happen. Now, she’s somewhere in the 20s, I think. Alaskans, despite the reputation we now have in the Lower 48, thanks to the Palins, are a moderate people for the most part. The Sarah Palin you see now would never have been elected outside Wasilla city limits.
One would think she’d realize from her own plummeting popularity in Alaska, that bipartisan populism gains more respect from the masses than shrieking extremism. Her course makes it clear that she’d rather be worshipped by a few for a lot of cash, than appreciated by many but expected to show up at the office and work. That was never really her thing, anyway.
I think mostly I don’t write much about Sarah any more because it just makes me sad. She had potential, and an utter lack of the self-awareness, intellectual curiosity, and mental stability to pull it off. Someone who carried with her the high hopes and aspirations of my state’s people has now become a reality TV joke at her best, and a divisive poster-girl for intolerance at her worst. She doesn’t make the world a better place. But she does make a hell of a carnival sideshow, and every day the nation stares goggle-eyed and thinks to itself – SHE could have been second in command. She could have broken ties in the senate. She would have been one gasping death rattle from President of the United States. Instead, she’s become the matriarch of a dysfunctional entertainment conglomerate, hawking her husband’s upcoming TV appearance, and her daughter’s reality show – which came after her TV show, and her daughter’s appearance on Dancing With the Stars.
Also this week, after a very public severing of ties between the admitted homophobic sandwich purveyors Chick-fil-A, and Jim Henson’s Muppets, the half-term governor of Alaska had to chime in.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy stated his fast food chain was “guilty as charged” of supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Presumably Mr. Cathy wasn’t talking about Biblical family units like Abijah who had fourteen wives, or Abraham who had a child with his servant Hagar at his wife’s behest, or Belshazzar who had “wives” AND a concubine. Or Gideon who had seventy sons, and however many wives that takes. Or King David who was loaded with wives AND concubines, and was “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) Not THAT Biblical definition of the family unit. The one that’s the same as Dan Cathy’s family unit.
Where did Sarah and Todd come down in the chicken wars? Did they side with the lovable plush creatures that teach tolerance, and patience, and kindness to children around the world, or did they side with the corporate chicken bigots? One guess.
And why? Because there was a spotlight pointed somewhere, and she wasn’t in it. At least she wasn’t in it until an “off the cuff” remark to her aide at a speech in Texas. They needed to make a stop on the way to the airport, she told him.
“We drive by a Chick-fil-A. We don’t have that in Alaska. Love me some Chick-fil-A. So we’ll go there, Jason, on the way, OK?”
“Love me some Chick-fil-A?”
No. Love you some attention.
Another tweet heard round the world was launched as Sarah sent out a picture of herself and Todd clutching bags of Chick-fil-a. And she’s giving a big bony thumbs up – just in case the meaning of the picture was lost on you. “Gay people don’t have the right to get married like me and Todd, and I’m going to spread the word of God by pimping fast food chicken.”
This week, Dick Cheney said her nomination was a “mistake.” She has yet to be invited to speak at the Republican convention. At some point, the folksy hometown “golly, we don’t have that in Alaska” meme won’t be believable any more. And the nips and tucks will become more frequent and less effective. And the children will start writing tell-all books. And the need to get headlines will become more desperate. And the extremist politics of the day will have worn themselves out with the inevitable swing of the political pendulum.
It can’t come too soon.