The Palin Experience
Understanding the media's reaction to Sarah Palin
These days, where you fall on the crucial issue of Sarah Palin tells the rest of us all we need to know about your character. You're either A) a scum-sucking, terror-loving elitist or B) a radical, tea bag-loving simpleton.
Yet believe it or not, one can (as I do) admire Palin's charisma and roots, appreciate her dissent on the policy experiments brainy folks in Washington are cooking up, and, at the same time, believe she has no business running for president in 2012.
In fact, all you haters out there motivate me to root for her.
There's nothing wrong, for instance, with The Associated Press' assigning a crack team of investigative journalists to sift through every word of Palin's book, Going Rogue, for inaccuracies. You only wish similarly methodical muckraking were applied to President Barack Obama's two self-aggrandizing tomes—or even the health care or cap-and-trade bills, for that matter.
The widely read blogger and purveyor of all truth, Andrew Sullivan, was impelled to blog 17 times on the subject of Palin on the same day Americans learned that the Obama administration had awarded $6.7 billion in stimulus money to nonexistent congressional districts—which did not merit a single mention. To see what is in front of one's nose demands a constant struggle, I guess.
And it's not just bloggers. What choice do media outlets have but to provide comprehensive coverage of pistachio salesman and Playgirl-posing Levi Johnston, doltish erstwhile father of Palin's grandchild, a man whose only discernible talents are the possession of operational sperm and the ability to humiliate the former vice presidential nominee?
How could a major magazine such as Newsweek be expected to use a cover photo of Palin campaigning or spending time with her child who has Down syndrome when editors simply could borrow a shot of the 45-year-old mother of five decked out in her exercise tights—nudge nudge, wink wink—from a Runner's World piece and slap the headline "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Sarah?" onto it?
Newsweek must have a point. Palin is a populist dead end. "Just over half of Americans," a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, "have an unfavorable opinion" of Palin overall, "as many say they wouldn't consider supporting her for president and more—six in 10—see her as unqualified for the job."
Similarly, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll recently found that 48 percent of Americans disapprove of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a woman busy writing policy that affects all of us. Does this not require a "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Nancy?" headline from the venerable magazine?
Who knows what is to become of Palin? Today, though, there is little doubt the left is using her to create ugly stereotypes and attack limited-government types across the country.
Palin claims that a presidential run is not on her "radar screen right now." She may have gone rogue on John McCain—joining the rest of America—but Palin will have to work to articulate her positions, show more intellectual curiosity, and fuse her magnetism with more substantive thinking.
But because of the stupendously nasty campaign waged against her, she might not get the chance.
At least, that's this scum-sucking elitist's opinion.
David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.
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