Palins a-gogo

Let me get this out of my system first. While it won't change the balance of power in the Senate one bit, Lisa Murkowski's victory in her write-in bid for re-election was a set-back for Sarah Palin, who backed her opponent. I can't help but be happy about that, no matter how much I may not care for Lisa Murkowski herself. Neener, neener, neener.

Thank you. I feel better.

Now then, with my obvious dislike of Sarah Palin (politician) in mind, let's move on to Sarah Palin (reality show star). Because, yes... the other night the Better Half and I watched about half an hour of "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

All four of my regular readers may be tempted to tune out now. Hang in there! While I make no effort to hide my unalloyed contempt for Sarah Palin, I honestly tried to watch with an open mind. The world is a sad, drab, boring place if you've already made up your mind about everything already. I wanted to give it a shot.

I did not hate the woman in this show. Honestly, she reminded me a lot of the moms in the churches I grew up in. I didn't feel any of the instant dislike I normally feel when I see her in her political role. During the thirty minutes I spent with this woman, I wished her and her family well.

I also found her wholly uninteresting. I don't intend to watch again, so I may miss something, but it seemed a bit of a stretch to consider this a show about Alaska. It was very much in the vein of the various family-based reality shows already in existence, and just happened to be filmed in Alaska. The camera followed the family around and seemed far more interested in Willow's boyfriend (will he or won't he defy Sarah and run upstairs to spend time with her teenage daughter unsupervised?) than in the glories of the state. For her part, Palin didn't seem to be all that authoritative a guide to Alaska when they were out in its natural wonder. While I don't know the first thing about hunting or fishing, and thus can't criticize her skills in those areas, I do wonder why she let her boat (with her kids on it) get so close to a mother bear and her cubs, or why she tried so vainly to get the kids to stop growling at them. If you didn't know that she used to be governor, you'd have no idea why anyone would ask her opinion about Alaska. Her insights seemed banal, at best.

What I absolutely cannot understand is how she thinks this show will in any way enhance her chances for a 2012 White House run. What comes across is her inescapable ordinariness. She reacts to the presence of a next-door reporter with the same kinds of trite self-reassurances you'd expect from any other random mom, not with the poise one would expect from someone seeking to become the most scrutinized person in the world. (As others have noted, it is deeply ironic that she gripes about having her privacy invaded in the presence of a reality show camera crew.) She's not all that interesting or charismatic. As noted already, she seems powerless to shush a child in the presence of bears or keep her daughter's boyfriend from going upstairs with her. How on earth is she going to negotiate a trade agreement with South Korea?

I know that Sarah Palin's next-door-neighbor supposed normality is one of her biggest selling points, but she cannot simultaneously strive to become the most powerful person in the world while chafing under the scrutiny said pursuit entails. She cannot plausibly champion abstinence-only sex education while ineptly keeping her eye on her teenage daughter's boyfriend -- not after her older daughter became such a famously unwed mother herself. (And memo to those daughters -- "faggot" is an unspeakably ugly word, and if you're too immature to handle the pressures of your mother's fame with grace, then you need to cancel your Facebook accounts.) She cannot proclaim her preference for being outside than stuck in some office and then expect us to consider her qualified for the oval one.

Lord knows, I hardly claim to understand the mind of America. Maybe I'm profoundly wrong, and somehow this show will help her chances in a way I'm missing. But I imagine even her fans will see this show and picture her as a part of their prime-time schedule but not the leader of their country.


  1. There are only two kinds of bad PR. One, your name is misspelled. Two, it is your obituary.

  2. Wow, now I'm wondering to which church moms you're referring.