Monday, January 11, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Ongoing National Embarassment

I'm going to say this very plainly: Sarah Palin is an absolute farce. Her public persona is so well shielded and crafted, that few of her supporters know how horrifically uninformed she really is. What's worse is that she has virtually no desire to learn more. Perhaps her supporters are just projecting their hopes and preferences onto her. She's been so well shielded from the press and from any sort of direct inquiry, that her overall ambiguity makes this projection fairly easy.

However, the ugly truth has been slowly leaking out. Recently, 60 Minutes featured an interview with several McCain campaign strategists concerning their choice of Palin as the GOP running mate:

Andrew Sullivan did a nice job summarizing the ignorance of Sarah Palin as revealed by her old campaign managers:

Palin had no notion of basic high school history. She barely understood what the Cold War was.
She didn't know what the Federal Reserve did. She believed that her First Amendment rights meant she was protected from press inquiries. She couldn't tell you why there's a North and a South Korea. And she had an inability to distinguish between her own view of the world - which always rationalized everything that Sarah Palin did - and reality.

While her complete lack of knowledge was appalling enough, what's worse is that she was chosen without any real consideration of her credentials or her stances on any of the major issues. When the McCain campaign realized her gross ignorance of even the most basic facts, they moved quickly to shield her from all media scrutiny. She conducted no press conferences and held only a few interviews with friendly media outlets such as FOX News. The only time the campaign managers let her speak on the record with a non-friendly interviewee was for the now infamous Katie Couric interview, where her shortcomings were laid bare for the world to see. Even after the campaign, Sarah Palin has continued her media blackout, refusing to speak with media sources that don't share her partisan views. The only time she divulges anything is through carefully controlled sources such as her book or her Facebook page.

As a result, her fans only know the crafted, fictional version of Sarah Palin. Any attempts to point out her obvious lies or gross ignorance are considered liberal smears. Palin supporters even insist the "smears" are why Palin stepped down from the governorship of Alaska, even though she never gave an actual reason. Besides, if she really wanted to escape the supposedly unfair "liberal" media, she would have dropped out of public life completely. But she hasn't. In fact, she continues to insert herself into the political dialog, holding up her Downs Syndrome child as a political prop (quite disgusting, really). But despite all evidence to the contrary, her supporters continue to believe she is "just like them" and that she would make the perfect president. I think projection is the obvious explanation for this. On most issues, Palin has remained purposely noncommittal except for the few issues that drive the Religious Right, including abortion, gay marriage, and patriotism (read, nationalism). Beyond that, no one really knows where Palin stands (it seems she has no idea either), and that makes it easy for her supporters to assume she shares their beliefs. After all, she unquestioningly loves Jesus and sticks to the party line on the major issues that Fundamental Christians care about. She must be exactly what they want, right?

Before I am accused of being a liberal, partisan hack, let me point out that a lot of liberals were guilty of the same problem with President Obama.  This is also why there's such a liberal backlash against Obama right now.  Too many projected their wishes onto him, and are now deeply disappointed he hasn't been everything they dreamed of.  However, President Obama differs from Palin in the fact that he never hid his views or his stances during the campaign.  He was always open to the press, and has largely followed his proposed agenda.  More importantly, he's knowledgeable of the issues and shows a remarkable degree of open-mindedness.  Sarah Palin is the exact opposite.

Frankly, I fear for the future of America if incompetent know-nothings like Sarah Palin can get anywhere near the presidency just because she's attractive and can convince enough people she's "just like them". It's a sign that America's infatuation with celebrity has risen to dangerous new heights.


  1. What terrifies me about that is the implication that if people want to vote for someone who is "just like me", then they must believe (on some level) that they themselves would be an adequate president. I for one don't want just anyone to be president, I want someone who is on a much higher level than myself!

  2. Most definitely. Jon Stewart had a great bit on this before the election, questioning why people don't want an "elitist" as president. Don't we want someone who is more elite than the "Average Joe" as president

  3. Fox News just signed her on as a commentator. She made some comment about being thrilled to join the "great talent" and the management team at Fox. (Not sure how commentator makes one part of the management team, but I must keep remembering whose mind is doing the thinking here.) She also towed the party line about Faux valuing "fair and balanced news."