Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury

Palin WinkAs much as I hate to admit it, Sarah Palin is not going away any time soon and I feel forced to try to understand her appeal. Michael Joseph Gross gives her an in depth profile in Vanity Fair that comes as close as anything to describing the human car crash that is the Palin debacle in progress:

Backstage in the arena, a little girl in Mary Janes pushes her brother in a baby carriage, stopping a few yards shy of a heavy, 100-foot-long black curtain. The curtain splits the arena in two, shielding the children from an audience of 4,000 people clapping their hands in time to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The music accompanies a video “Salute to Military Heroes” that plays above the stage where, in a few moments, the children’s mother will appear.

When the girl, Piper Palin, turns around, she sees her parents thronged by admirers, and the crowd rolling toward her and the baby, her brother Trig, born with Down syndrome in 2008. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, bend down and give a moment to the children; a woman, perhaps a nanny, whisks the boy away; and Todd hands Sarah her speech and walks her to the stage. He pokes the air with one finger. She mimes the gesture, whips around, strides on four-inch heels to stage center, and turns it on.

And how. Palin and the crowd might as well be one. She’s glad to be here with the people of Independence, Missouri, “where so many of you proudly cling to your guns and your religion”—the first laughline in a 40-minute stump speech that alludes to many of the perceived insults she and her audience have suffered together, and that transforms their resentments into badges of honor. Palin waves her scribbled-on palm to the crowd, proclaiming that she’s using “the poor man’s teleprompter.” Of the Obama administration, she says, “They talk down to us. Especially here in the heartland. Oh, man. They think that, if we were just smart enough, we’d be able to understand their policies. And I so want to tell ’em, and I do tell ’em, Oh, we’re plenty smart, oh yeah—we know what’s goin’ on. And we don’t like what’s goin’ on. And we’re not gonna let them tell us to sit down and shut up.”

The crowd’s ample applause at these lines swells to something vastly bigger when Palin vows defiantly that “come November, we’re taking our country back!”The phrase plays on the name of this event, “Winning America Back,” which has been billed as a Tea Party rally organized by a grassroots Missouri political-action committee that no one had heard of until a few months ago, when the event was announced.

Behind the curtain, Piper plays with other children, oblivious to the speech. She runs in circles, plays hide-and-seek, poses for snapshots, and generally acts as if she were in another world—until she gets the signal to do her job: march to the podium, pick up Palin’s speech, and allow Palin to make a public display of maternal affection.

On cue, Piper parts the curtain. As the child appears, a loud and doting “Awww” melts through the crowd.

Sarah Palin’s connection with her audience is complete. People who admire her believe she is just like them, and this conviction seems to satisfy their curiosity about the objective facts of her life. Those whose curiosity has not been satisfied have their work cut out for them. Palin has been a national figure for barely two years—John McCain selected her as his running mate in August 2008. Her on-the-record statements about herself amount to a litany of untruths and half-truths…

[continues in Vanity Fair]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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5 Comments on "Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury"

  1. Anonymous | Sep 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm |

    Well, jackhole, if your IQ is too low to comprehend, please allow me to elucidate.

    Her appeal is nonexistent, as paid stooges like Time Magazine, where many of the “reporters” receive supplmental pay from a string of holding companies which can be traced back to the Pentagon, put her Airheaded visage on their cover, just as Morty Zuckerman (Trilateral Commission, Bretton Woods Committee) puts Cheney’s visage upon his US News and World Report cover.

    It’s all planted BS, majestic morooooooon.

    Anyone who plainly looks as stupid as that space cadet, must only appear to equally stupid and uninformed American zombie consumertards.

    • A Bad Joke | Sep 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |

      I read this piece a few days back, very interesting. I didn’t realize she was so scripted, I figured she just wandered around preaching to obese women about how their weight is Obama’s fault.

      • The branding began right after her invite to go for VP…the ensuing chaos of trying to make her seem human and sane devastated McCain’s bid. Her greatest value lies in her appeal to the vapid and emotional hordes…and her total willingness to sell out anything, tell any lie, smile on cue and obey any party mandate. She is a blank slate onto which is written whatever serves the parties funding her.

        The branding however continued after the dust settled. She has been coached, groomed, schooled and prepped to appeal to specific groups of people…and her backers know that people respond from the gut to certain images, statements, stances etc. Its the way the game is played everywhere. This is why she became an instant star after a failed run…and why she left the Governor’s role behind her despite serving only half her term. You can’t build a manufactured media presence on a part time schedule…it is priority #1 and demands all of her limited attention span and abilities.

        The Obama camp has a distinctive ‘brand’, as does the Hillary camp, the Bush camp etc etc ad infinitum. Every action taken, every speech given…they’re scripted more heavily than any reality TV show could dream of…and gaffes are the only glimmer of the human under the mask that we will ever see.

        The only question with Palin is when will she stop playing coy and announce that she’s making a play for power “because the people of America are crying out for her to be their messenger!” The last two years has been about “wagging the dog” even if they have to pick it up by the tail and swing it around their head until it pukes. Thus the frantic media saturation…because they have less than a year left before its time to seriously announce candidacies…too much longer than that and she won’t have as much steam built as those who announce early…and she has more to overcome than most of them…

        …so expect a lot more to come. We’ll be stuck with her forever unless she performs so dismally in the coming 2012 run-ups that she toxifies her own brand as a result of near total incompetence.

        • Haystack | Sep 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm |

          “too much longer than that and she won’t have as much steam built as those who announce early”

          I don’t think she’s going to run for office again. I think she’s right where she wants to be. She’s a leading voice in the Republican party. She’s in a position where she can influence elections by endorsing candidates, use her media presence to affect the GOP’s policy agenda, etc. She probably has more power than your average US senator just doing what she’s doing, and she doesn’t have to worry about winning elections, or taking responsibility for decisions she doesn’t have to make.

          She and her handlers must know that she’s a weak candidate. She embarrassed McCain with her lack of knowledge running as VP, she gave up a governorship to become a Fox news contributor, and she’s far too divisive to win over the swing states. She’s popular with the Republican base (i.e. people who think they’re the only “real Americans”), to be sure, but not with moderates who can see both sides of an issue, and you have to win over those people in a general election.

          My sense is that when she gave up the Alaska governorship, she was giving up on office, and that she’s probably pretty happy with the considerable power she now has.

    • Haystack | Sep 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm |

      “Her appeal is nonexistent, ”

      “Anyone who plainly looks as stupid as that space cadet, must only appeal to equally stupid and uninformed American zombie consumertards.”

      If she appeals to uniformed American zombie consumertards, then clearly her appeal is not nonexistent. Fox wouldn’t be making money hand over fist if there wasn’t an audience for what they’re selling.

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