Thursday, September 04, 2008

SARAH PALIN: Church Lady Meets Fargo

Let’s be honest: The Republicans would have cheered a lip synch performance by Milli Vanilli on the third night of the National Convention, a crowning of the unknown Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as the vice presidential nominee. Anything short of a tumble into the orchestra pit was destined to be hailed a triumph.

The good news is: Sarah Palin can read a script. She was better than any of the speakers preceding her (primary losers) and vastly superior to John McCain’s preferred candidate in turncoat Senator Joe Lieberman. Unlike the miserable bore Lieberman played for Al Gore in the year 2000, Palin took to the traditional role of attack dog like a gator takes to swamps. She delivers every demeaning, misleading and outright venomous attack with a smile to her admiring family, as they cradle their mystifyingly quiet babies.

The bad news is: She opened herself up to attacks in kind. She throws punches like Sonny Listen but we still don’t know how she takes one. They called her Sarah Barracuda in high school but this ain’t no pick up game with the girls. This is the big leagues.

While we’re being honest, let’s all acknowledge that she’s not all that. We’ve seen Obama and Sarah Palin is no Obama. She did all right for a feisty first address but her vocal quality invites comparisons somewhere between the Church Lady of the old Saturday Night Live and a character from the Coen brothers’ Fargo. Do they really talk like that in Alaska? She has a peculiar facial expression in which she scrunches her nose as if the subject of her discourse is so foul she cannot bear the stench.

Comedians will have a great time as long as she lasts on the national stage. (Bring back Tina Fey!)

Moreover, the biographical sketch we were provided by Republican operatives has already begun to unravel. She collected tons of pork barrel dollars for a community of seven thousand people. How does that wash? She supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it. She has shown a vindictive streak that plays out in her politics. She invokes God in political discourse. She is intolerant of those who do not conform to her notion of God’s plan.

It is becoming clear that the Republican Party tabbed her as an up and comer early on. They sent an operative to take over the local politics of a little Alaskan town. The big money came down the pike and everyone was happy. The operatives shaped her, worked her and helped her formulate policies. They told her to oppose the Bridge to Nowhere. They told her to take a stand against earmarks – even though she made it her business to collect them as mayor and as governor.

I doubt anyone thought she was being trained for this year’s presidential election but here she stands, ready or not. Like a sandlot phenom, she came out hitting. Now we’ll find out if she can hit a curve ball.


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