Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Katie Baron on Sarah Palin (As Hot As It Sounds)

Sarah Palin

By Katie Baron

What’s the difference between a hockey mom and the second in command to be leader of the free world? I can tell you for damn sure, it’s more than lipstick.

I consider myself more of a pop culture critic than a political aficionado, so I’ll stick to what I know. If I didn’t hate Sarah Palin so much, I would love her. In fact, I love to hate her. She has emerged onto the political scene as a true star. “Babies, Lies & Scandal”, that was the headline on the cover Us Weekly Magazine. Celebrity gossip junkies like myself live for this stuff-- scandal, scandal, scandal-- it’s so irresistible! The whole can’t-turn-your-head-away-from-the-car-wreck phenomenon that leads the public to watch Amy Winehouse’s drug use spiral out of control or Britney Spears’ demise into mental illness fuels much of the interest into Sarah Palin. Bristol Palin is the GOP’s very own Jamie Lynn Spears! How better to draw attention to a lackluster campaign than bringing it to the forefront of the pop culture dialog? The Republicans can no longer criticize Barack Obama for being the biggest celebrity there is. I personally have a little more faith in the Republican Party than to believe that Sarah Palin wasn’t properly vetted. I wouldn’t be surprised if the McCain camp was telling the truth when they said they knew of Bristol’s pregnancy before they chose Palin. Under investigation for trying to get her ex-brother-in-law (a violent drunk who tested a taser on his step-son) fired? Come on, how could they have missed that? By adding to the ticket this no name Governor from Alaska, a state with a population less than one-third that of Brooklyn, the Republicans have inserted themselves into the minds of more Americans by appealing to the lowest common denominator among us. It’s the same reason reality TV dominates programming and radio stations all play the same shitty songs. We are an over-mediated society and Sarah Palin is easy on the eyes.

In the words of Peggy Noonan, speech writer for Ronald Regan, the Republicans have gone for this narrative bullshit- whether Noonan is right in saying that it doesn’t work for the GOP is yet to be seen. The choice of her as John McCain’s running mate says so much about what is so wrong with Americans today. She epitomizes the “candidate that you’d most like to sit down and have a beer with” factor. Sarah Palin: Mother. Moosehunter Maverick. This video put out by the RNC pretty much sums it up. With a tune highly reminiscent of the theme song from the prime time soap opera Dallas playing in the background, the Republicans paint a picture of a small town girl who rose through the ranks. From the PTA, to the City Council, to the Mayor’s Office, to the Governor’s Mansion, and all this while popping out FIVE children. The McCain camp definitely went “all-in” with this one, attempting to appeal to disaffected Hillary supporters and their conservative base at the same time. Sarah Palin resonates.

Never mind the facts. Never mind the fact that she took a $600,000 loss for the state of Alaska by “putting that corporate jet on eBay.” Never mind the fact that she straight up lied about her stance on the Bridge to Nowhere and stance on earmarks. Never mind the fact that she didn’t have a passport until 2007. Never mind the fact that being in close proximity to Russia doesn’t actually give you ANY foreign policy experience. Never mind the fact that she thinks global warming is not caused by humans. Never mind the fact that thinks abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. Never mind the fact that she is such a poor decision maker she changed colleges six times, often because she didn’t like the weather.

In 1984 Barack Obama had graduated from Columbia and was taking on his first job as a research associate at Business International Corporation. That same year Sarah Palin was coming in runner-up at the Miss Alaska Pageant! From a McCain camp whose biggest knock against Obama was his lack of experience and over-hyped celebrity status, this choice of Sarah Palin has proven that the GOP has subscribed to the philosophy that if you dominate the public discourse and win over the hearts of Americans the rest will follow. After all, whatever it is that the VP does all day wouldn’t we have fun watching Sarah Palin do it?