Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"I Can See Russia From My House!"

Sarah Palin makes the cover of the October 6, 2008 of the New Yorker magazine:

Meanwhile, tonight Anderson Cooper 360 goes to Alaska's Little Diomede Island, from which you can indeed see Russia...but none of its residents, save one, has ever heard of Sarah Palin!

The island’s mayor has heard of her though. No American mayor resides in a city closer to Russia than Andrew Milligrock, and he says being two miles from Russia doesn’t give him any foreign policy expertise.

He does say she seems like an okay governor, but exclaims she should probably pay a visit to Little Diomede sometime. It may not help her foreign policy experience says the mayor, but would definitely help her domestic policy experience.

So not only was it a ridiculous claim, not only does Mayor Milligrock refute the basis for her claims of foreign policy expertise--Palin hasn't even visited the island to see Russia with her own two eyes.

This last week of media ridicule may be a giant agitprop exercise of lowering expectations for Thursday night's debate, but I don't think it'll work exactly like that. After watching the painfully embarrassing first part of Palin's interview with Katie Couric, the idea that Palin merely has to avoid vomiting on herself onstage to earn an "acceptable" rating of her debate performance, is just so much dreck itself. These last two weeks of financial disasters, combined with John McCain's age (72) and health (a history of melanoma), ensure that the public will be watching the debate intensely, and imagining what things would be like if this woman rises to the Presidency.

All that imagining is beginning to take its toll. The more that the public learns about Sarah Palin, the more that her brand loses some of its luster. We've recently learned that Palin thinks humans and dinosaurs coexisted 6,000 years ago, and that Tina Fey used part of the Couric interview verbatim while portraying Palin in her SNL skit last week. The Atlantic's Marc Armbinder writes that "Palin has lost control of her public image" and "even some Republicans are beginning to have a less favorable opinion of her"; conservative pundit Kathleen Parker publicly called for her to resign from the ticket, and fellow rightwinger George Will described her as "unqualified". Her favorable/unfavorable ratings are beginning to tank, and she's been sent to McCain's boot camp in Sedona to prepare for the debate under drill sargent Rick Davis. Meanwhile, a witness in the Troopergate scandal has implicated her in the investigation of her alleged abuse of power.

I say that "Poor Sarah", as the Times Judith Warner called her, brought this on herself. The self-described "pitbull with lipstick" accepted the vice-presidential nomination knowingly, and to feel sympathy for her now, when her ignorance, pettiness, and inner Nixon are on full public display, is demeaning to women and undeserved by this candidate. Palin strode onto the national stage as part of a deliberate and cynical ploy to attract women, especially Hillary supporters, to the Republican ticket. With her "sexy librarian" look, a semi-literate backwoods accent, and twenty months of experience governing a state with a total population of 680,000, Palin and the McCain campaign thought that she would be a game-changer.

But her snarky remarks about a man who graduated first in his class from Harvard Law and was elected as a U.S. Senator from the state of Illinois (estimated population, 2006: 12,831,970), combined with Palin's growing list of lies, scandals, and demonstrable incompetence, has gradually turned the voters, Republican and independent, against her. I don't feel empathy for Palin, as Ta-Nehisi Coates does, nor do I see a woman whose self-confidence has been broken, as did Christopher Oates at the New Republic.

What I see instead is an arrogant, vainglorious, self-deceiving and truly contemptuous woman, who thought that her overweening self-confidence and modest ability to read from a Teleprompter could carry her to the highest office in the land (and make no mistake, McCain's age and health figured in Palin's decision to accept his offer of the VP slot on the Repug ticket). A woman who thought that she could conceal her ignorance of her country, recent history, and the world at large, as well as her thoroughly repugnant fringe viewpoints and beliefs, until sometime after November 4. A woman who thought that she could fool all the people just long enough to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency...and an old fool who thought the same.

Bitch, please!--It's not going to work.

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