Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin

I doubt I'm the first to say this. My fear about Sarah Palin, from looking at news and from commentary left and right, is not about '08, but about '12. I'm confident that McCain will lose handily in November, but the set-up for Palin now may be for Republicans what the '04 set-up was for Obama and the Democrats. And just like Obama will energize a lot of people outside the party and the older electorate, so will Palin—provided she performs well tonight at the convention. Media-savvy populism in the spectacular age: they're slowly and surely catching onto "grassroots" in ever more insidious ways.

Palin is analogous to Obama in the relationship she bears to her party: not fiercely partisan (as in occupying an established faction) so much as a wave overtaking rotted beachfront property. Same beach, same water, same stuff: yet different. She may be as easy to underestimate as Obama was; and, like him, she is probably just honest, independent, and fresh enough to capture the attention of a tectonically-shifted party base. Don't mistake me: in calling Palin honest, etc., I don't for a second hope to see her in power or the policies she'd propose enacted. If certain rumors are to be believed, she is a cutthroat politician, a very bright and crafty stateswoman (just like Obama is sharp, very sharp). But—I would propose—darlings like Obama and Palin remind viewers/voters of people they've known and admired in real life, to a greater extent than the more massaged images of Biden, the Clintons, the Bushes, McCain, Romney (he's almost like a relic: in an age of comedy & caricature his corporate-religious Aryan perfection sets up jokes well before the late night shows get to him). People still believe in the image but their hunger for "realism" is exerting gravitational pull. Perhaps we're coming full circle from the famed TV election of Kennedy versus Nixon.

The real-real people in national politics (McKinney, Kucinich, Paul) remain on the fringes. The system isn't broken, it works only too well. We're just misinformed as to what it's supposed to do ...

1 comment:

Lloyd Mintern said...

You must be kidding. Obama is far from a caricature; he is a real statesman of the highest character and ability, and his oratory is real. Paulin is a superficial pageant winner, who won't last a second term even as Governor of Alaska. Unless of course she becomes Vice President. In which case, look out; you may regret making these easy analogies, which do nothing but puff up non-entities.