Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hit jobs

A lot of my friends have been posting up this article on Facebook and Twitter from Vanity Fair regarding Sarah Palin. It's the second major skewering of a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate in the past few weeks, what with Esquire doing a pretty effective hit job on Newt Gingrinch.

(The Gingrinch article, by the way, has my favourite sentence of the week. "Sitting in the Florida sun while she annihilates a long series of Benson & Hedges, Marianne Gingrich paints a very different picture." Isn't that a marvelous descriptive sentence?)

Here's the thing about the Palin article. I don't understand it. I mean, it's a lovely hit job. The author clearly doesn't care much for Palin and there are some spectacular cheap shots in there (she's a crappy tipper. All right, and what does that mean with regards to her being a presidential candidate?) and the not so thinly veiled idea floated out there that she may well be mentally ill.

But here's the thing...there's very little middle ground about Palin. Most people either view her as one of the greatest Americans living or think she's everything that's wrong with America. Those that love her are just going to dismiss this article has more slander from the "lamestream media" and offer it up as more proof that people are out to get her.

Those who hate Palin will obviously lap it up. I've read quite a bit of the criticism about Palin over the last two years and there's nothing new here, aside from the author's implication that she's mentally ill. Which, given the volume of anonymous sources he uses, can be pretty easily dismissed. Yes, the anonymity may be needed because people are scared of Palin, but also realize that it makes it much easier to dismiss what you're writing.

So I'm trying to figure out what the point of it is. Look, I would be thrilled if Palin disappeared from America's political debate. I think she's a poisonous best. And yes, work needs to be done to prevent her from ever becoming president. But I honestly don't know what this article is attempting to do. It rehashes old ground and won't convince anyone who is a Palin supporter to reevaluate her. It might make some people feel more smug, but that's about it.

Palin may run for president, but I don't think anyone gives her a serious chance. The cunning and ruthlessness may be there, but there's no way it happens. She may have her cult, but too many people hate her for it to happen.

I do kind of like the Gingrinch piece, though, just because it's an interesting take on a man who had power, who may well be an under-appreciated player in the economic boom of the 90s, but who is clearly deeply damaged. I don't think he has a chance in the 2012 presidential election, not because there's too much dirt on him, although there is, but because I think he has a destructive streak a mile wide. I think here is a man who gets to a certain level of success and then manages to find a way to destroy himself. It'll happen again.

Man, the presidential election is still more than two years away and I'm already getting hooked back in. It's hard to resist though. There's no more entertain show on earth, as long as you try very hard to think about the consequences if the wrong person wins.

Last Five
1. I believe - Chilliwack
2. Love runs deeper - Lindsay Buckingham*
3. Mother - Emmanuel Jal
4. While my guitar gently weeps - The Beatles
5. Canyon - Mark Bragg

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