Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Saint Sarah of Wasilla
By Alan Caruba
Every time I see Sarah Palin, I think of the total population of Alaska which, according to the 2010 World Almanac is 686,293 citizens. Anchorage’s population is 279,243..
Then I think of the many other U.S. cities that have populations that exceed the entire population of Alaska. They include Austin, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbus, Ohio, and San Jose, California, to name just a few.
There are mayors throughout the U.S. that deal with problems of far greater magnitude than the former Governor of Alaska and former candidate for Vice President of the United States of America ever encountered.
I may well be the only conservative in America who thought John McCain was out of his mind when he chose then-Governor Palin to be his running mate in the 2008 campaign. The last person to choose a woman running mate was Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s Vice President, who in 1984 was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan.
I do not think America is ready for a woman president. I will leave it to the political scientists to argue whether Sarah helped or hurt the McCain campaign because, in my view, most of the damage was self-inflicted by Senator Maverick.
I confess, I have never been keen on women in political office. It is a prejudice of which I am not particularly proud, but one need only cast an eye on the likes of California’s Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein to find common ground with Burt Prelutsky, a fellow commentator, who says they remind him of the three witches in the opening scene of Macbeth.
There are many other women in Congress and most of the time when I see or hear one, I keep wishing they had stayed home to raise a family or run a flower shop or some other business than the nation’s business.
None of this is politically correct, but I’m not here to offer pabulum.
I watched Palin’s $100,000 address to the Tea Party conference in Nashville and could not shake the notion that it was 98% pure clichés. This is not to say that the attendees weren’t the best kind of patriots America could hope for, but it is to say that Palin has very little to offer other than to wave the flag, mention Reagan a lot, and tease President Obama.
That didn’t keep the audience from giving her many rounds of applause and even, at one point, to shout “Run, Sarah, run.” No, please do not run, even though we both know you have to dangle that prospect in order to remain a viable political figure.
Part of my problem with Palin is that she resigned from the last political job she had. No doubt the rising costs of all the nonsense lawsuits brought against her played a role in that decision. The prospect of cashing in on her sudden celebrity and popularity was no doubt a factor as well. I daresay it may have been the best decision to make at the time.
The Palin conundrum is this: she is pretty much the lone voice of the conservative movement; articulating its fundamental values of self-reliance and responsibility, smaller government, and a strong defense. Almost alone among the Republican Party’s spokespersons, Palin plainly says we are at war with al Qaeda.
Even though I am in agreement with her, whenever I see her I cannot shake the same feeling I get while watching a circus act, akin to fire eaters or sword swallowers; briefly entertaining, but quite forgettable.
For the present, Palin offers the Republican Party a “personality” to carry the flag until someone like the new Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, develops a national following or some other new faces emerge from the 2010 midterm elections.
With few exceptions, male Republican office holders tend to be fairly colorless policy wonks and pinstripe-suited folk who have the right answers, but not the theatrical skills to evoke much enthusiasm from a wary and weary electorate.
At some point, however, Sarah needs to return to Alaska…and stay there.