Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will Palin become a political figure on the national scene, or just a bad memory?

There are those who think that Sarah Palin is destined to become a leader of the conservative political movement, even though one poll taken recently shows only 23 percent of the electorate thinks favorably of the one-time Alaska governor.

Actually, that figure sounds about right to me. One in four people is about how big I always figured the conservative movement to truly be, even though it consists of people who deliberately isolate themselves from the bulk of society so that they rarely come into contact with others.

WHICH ALSO EXPLAINS the fact that Palin is now doing a book tour that deliberately ignores large cities and hits the smaller towns (as comedian George Lopez recently put it, she’s ignoring all the places where people actually read) that usually get overlooked when it comes to pseudo-literary events.

Now I am not among those who signed up in advance to have a copy of her book reserved for me (so many people did do so that the book was a “best-seller” before a single copy was sold).

Part of it is that I have rarely been one of those people who feels the need to get something the instant it hits the stores. I actually think that those kind of people waste time with the actions they take to ensure they’re “one of the first” to see something.

It’s not like her book gets any better if you’re the first in your particular community to read it.

AND YES, I still feel a bit burned by the fact that I did go so far as to buy a copy of “The Governor” by Rod Blagojevich. As prose, it was pedestrian. As a source for political insight, it was dreck.

So I’m willing to wait a bit before reading Palin. She can blame the lack of a sale to me on Blagojevich, if she wants.

I doubt that Palin is capable of writing anything any better than Milorod. For those of you who argue she was once a journalist, I’d respond she was just a small-town broadcaster who moved on with her life because she couldn’t (or didn’t want to) hack it professionally.

So what should we make of this new volume, the early reports of which are focusing on the fact that she is critical of her running-mate, two-time presidential candidate John McCain.

SHE THINKS THE senator from Arizona ran a campaign in 2008 that was unfocused, did not properly bash Barack Obama about, then tried to dump all the blame upon her when it failed on Election Day.

Some would argue she’s being ungrateful toward the official who put her in a position to become a national political figure (it’s not like Alaska governors who can’t bring themselves to finish the one term they were elected to are going to be in great demand otherwise) in the first place.

But to me, it makes all the sense in the world for her to distance herself from McCain. She wants that 23 percent of the population to think of her as the opposite of the man whom some conservatives in this country were always wary of (they rejected him for George W. Bush in the 2000 GOP primary, and likely would have in ’08 if they had been able to get their support organized behind a single conservative primary opponent).

She’s going to be working the Books-a-Million and the Wal-mart book sections and other places of small-town America that carry a few books mixed with Bibles and some trashy magazines.

PALIN WILL SIGN those books and toss out “you betchas” and try to craft an image for people who are inclined to believe anyone who tells them the country went askew on that day back in November of 2008 when Todd Palin was denied the chance to be the vice-president’s spouse (instead, we get Jill Biden).

She’s reaching out to the 43 percent of Southern Republican people whom a recent poll (commissioned by The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C.) said were pleased when Rep. Addison G. “Joe” Wilson, R-S.C., shouted “you lie” at Obama when he talked about the need for immigration reform.

By comparison, only 11 percent of Southern Republicans were offended by Wilson’s behavior, compared to 48 percent of Democrats who thought Wilson showed himself to be a boor.

Palin wants their support. She may solidify it. But I wonder if in the process, she is cementing an image that will never appeal to anyone outside of the 23 percent support she has now?

THERE ARE THOSE people who claim that the more liberal elements of our society who are upset Obama is not acting fast enough on their pet issues will simply not vote in the 2010 elections, thereby making it possible for Republicans to make electoral gains.

Will Palin be the excuse come the 2012 elections that moderate Republicans use to sit back and refuse to cast ballots, thereby allowing Democratic political candidates to regain anything they may supposedly lose next year?


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