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The Spectre and Spectacle of Sarah Palin

It should be no surprise to anyone that Sarah Palin announced in a recent television interview that she is considering running for the office of President of the United States (Thumbnail credit Photo: David Shankbone)

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It should be no surprise to anyone that Sarah Palin announced in a recent television interview that she is considering running for the office of President of the United States.

In the last two years, Palin has become a household name, distinguished of course from the world-travelling Monty Python comedian. In terms of global reach, though, the former governor of Alaska has Michael beat.

Palin's name appears in the headlines of newspapers as far flung as Norway and Kenya, and the global media continues to fuel the flame first ignited on 29 August 2008, the day Palin was named Senator John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate.

During the run-up to the midterm elections in November, Palin became the Tea Party's revered figurehead and was crucial to the fledgling movement's rapid mobilisation and astonishing political success. Following what many viewed as a resounding win for Republicans in the midterms, Palin issued a one-minute advertisement celebrating the party's achievements and encouraged its supporters to continue to "shake up" the American political system.

While Sarah Palin refers to the media as "lamestream", she goes to great lengths to put herself, and her family, in the media spotlight. She is a contributor on Fox News and she is now starring in her own reality television show titled 'Sarah Palin's Alaska'.

"I just do not think [Palin] has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity, that allows for building good and great policies."
Lisa Murkowski
Senator, R-Alaska


While the Guardian's Michael White says this sort of common appeal will doom Palin''s political chances, I am not so confident. Palin may not be paving the typical path to the White House, but her 'roguish' approach may be what voters are looking for in 2012. If the congressional midterm results are any indicator, Palin is just getting started.

In an interview with ABC's veteran anchor, Barbara Walters, Sarah Palin stated she believed she could beat Barack Obama in a future election, saying: "I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family - if it's a good thing."

Interestingly, despite Palin's conjured self-determination, a run for presidency may not be her decision to make. The Republican Party is not as united in their love for Palin as Tea Party zealots would have us believe. Palin mustered all of her clout in supporting Joe Miller, a congressional hopeful in Alaska. When he lost by a small margin following a count of write-in votes on 17 November, Alaska's incumbent Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, was quick to distance herself from Sarah Palin, stating: "Endorsements from outside may not have as much pull [in Alaska] as they do in the Lower 48".

Murkowski told CBS News that she could not support Palin for president. "She would not be my choice," Murkowski said. "I just do not think she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity, that allows for building good and great policies."

If leadership qualities were consistently the things American citizens valued when entering a voting booth, I think I could share Michael White's hopeful sentiment that Sarah Palin is "not electable". However, this is the era of Facebook and reality television and it would not be the first time America elected a movie star to the office of President. Sarah's not doomed, Michael; we are.

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2 Comment

Nick Clegg's Ideological Commitment to Unreconstructed Thatcherism Posted on Thursday 22 Oct 2020

I began to be really worried watching that infamous interview with Katie Couric where she could only name one Supreme Court case - Roe v. Wade. Your average A-level Government & Politics student can name several. The notion of a Vice-President ("a heart beat away from the presidency") who couldn't recall (or simply didn't know) Brown v. Board of Education (ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional), Marbury v. Madison (perhaps most importantly - the case that established the Supreme Court's power to strike down acts of United States Congress that were in conflict with the Constitution) or Loving v. Virginia (the case that made anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional) was an utterly terrifying one.

That she could only recall the case that established a woman's right to an abortion says a lot about the type of nasty, ignorant, conservative that she is.

However, given how Obama has let down so many of his voters, who knows. I hate to say it, but given the current climate over there I could see her beating Obama. The question remains whether the Republicans will take the risk.

I like 'lacking intellectual curiosity' as a euphemism for monumentally thick though...

Reply

Nick Clegg's Ideological Commitment to Unreconstructed Thatcherism Posted on Thursday 22 Oct 2020

Ah, yes.

http://politicalscrapbook.net/2010/11/palin-north-korea/

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