This really is a chapter of American history that I hope is mercifully brief. I think that there are a couple of obvious explanations for Mrs. Palin’s decision to pack up and go home, and also for her melt-down when announcing it. But, like it or not, there is a HUGE segment of the American population that will not entertain any other explanations except the ones Mrs. Palin herself offers. I’ve looked around on the web, and, predictably, I’ve seen people giving full throated support to this idea that some kind of orchestrated hit job finally took her down. Because shes a woman. Because shes a Christian. Because shes a mother of a Downs Syndrome baby. Because she hunts and fishes. And because, dammitall, shes a maverick.
Each victimological sub-set is a sizable demographic in itself. (Its my blog, I’ll make up words if I damn well please)
There are others, of course. Straight-shooters, or, relatedly, plain-speaking folks, are, as we know, prime targets for ridicule and scorn by the educated and other elites. Simple country folk are an endangered species in her world, and she has long tried to emulate what she thinks they are about. She has a special gift that enables her to know what appeals to many Americans, and she cast herself as all things we tend to think we are, but sadly, haven’t been in several generations. Self reliant. Diligent. Literate.
Many Americans watched her and hoped that, vicariously at least, they too could rise to power and fame or wealth without really having to be competent at something. How much more American is it than to simply proclaim that you are this, and then blame everyone else when it turns out you are that. If that reads as overly judgemental, bear in mind I consider myself as American as anyone. It takes one to know one.
That said, I take some comfort knowing that even someone as shrewd and calculating as Mrs. Palin will eventually, publicly, reach her level of incompetence. It took a perfect political storm to propel her from obscurity to national fame, a blip in the Matrix, maybe, but thankfully only that, a blip, and one that self-corrected pretty quickly.
Fortunately, for her, she came out from under the ether in time to cash in. The McCain campaign’s selection of Mrs. Palin, coupled with her willingness to pose before the entire world as someone qualified to question Barack Obama’s experience and patriotism, ensured that she will make a tidy living as someone’s shill. Fox. The GOP. There are a handful of families that will keep her gainfully employed. She has a family to support, and I can’t fault her one bit. Imagine the pull it must be to stand in front of a crowd that views you as larger than life. Mrs. Palin will wow them in Tuscaloosa, in Muncie, and in Lubbock…for now. In the midst of a National Republican Primary, her own party would likely put her through a Hell that would make the Dems seem polite and accommodating by comparison. She may have asked John McCain about his experience in South Carolina a couple of years back. If she somehow managed to weather it all and win, she would then be expected to perform, and, shit, Obama has been in office half a year and he looks like hell. (Ha, maybe I should pivot here to make a point about diminishing returns) Nah.
As I said, the are a number of plausible explanations at the ready, believe it or not, Southern Beale has weighed in with her own take, but as complicated as it may seem, I think I believe Mrs. Palin simply became aware of her limitations, and there should be no shame in that. I think she made a smart move.