It’s been some time since we’ve written about Sarah Palin and we should get caught up. Every time we think that we can forget about Sarah and her gang, they pop up again, often adding yet another face for us to look at. Recently, for instance, we began seeing pictures of Sarah’s oldest child, Track. (Wherever did she get the idea of all those “T” names--Track, Trig, Tripp?)
My, she’s been a busy woman. Just months after the McCain/Palin ticket had lost the 2008 election, she announced that she was resigning her governorship of Alaska, claiming that defending frivolous law suits, instigated by Democrats, had made it impossible for her to govern effectively, but promising not to disappear from public view.
And she certainly has kept her promise. A few months later--just one year after the Presidential election--her best-selling book, Going Rogue: An American Life was published. Two million copies were sold and a very successful, nation-wide book tour kept her face and name before the public. In January 2010 she signed a multi-year contract with Fox news as a political commentator, further assuring us that her opinions and face would not disappear from public view.
The romantic ins and outs of eldest daughter Bristol and boy friend Levi Johnston provided even more publicity to the never-ending Palin saga. That disappeared but Bristol popped up as a contestant on the popular Dancing With The Stars. Bristol has recently finished in third place but the whole very dull process provided the family with even more publicity in the last few months. Meanwhile, before we can blink, Sarah’s television career continues with a series on TLC about Alaska, titled---you guessed it--- “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”
Recently, Palin’s second book, America By Heart, has just been published and we can expect more media attention about it.
We have not even discussed her leaping to a de facto leadership position with the Tea Party Movement and all that pseudo-feminism with the Mama Grizzlies. During the recent midterm elections, much was made about Palin’s Tea Party endorsements but, looking back, the impact was primarily within the GOP in the primary selection process, rather than in the general election. Palin’s endorsement of Christine McDonnell and McDonnell’s subsequent defeat by Democrat Chris Coons in the general election is a case in point. The Palin-endorsed Sharon Angle and Angle's defeat to Harry Reid in Nevada is another example. More telling of all, perhaps, was Palin’s endorsement of Joe Miller in Alaska’s GOP primary over Lisa Murkowski. At this writing, it appears that Murkowski pulled off a write-in victory over Miller who is still kicking and screaming about each Murkowski vote.
Looking back, we must concede that she’s come a long way, baby, since we down here in the lower 48 have first heard about her. We must concede that Palin’s story is a remarkable one of a person with little political knowledge but with a hefty ego and an even heftier ambition.
After the Alaskan reality shows have ended (we hear that the ratings of the latest segments have dropped significantly) and the personal disclaimer books have been written, (how many ghost written books about Sarah’s life views can Americans digest?) and Fox News and Rupert Murdock are no longer charmed (how many winks can the old man stand?), what is next for Ms. Palin?
Robert Reich, the political commentator and author, has an interesting take on Palin’s future in an essay titled, “Sarah Palin’s Presidential Strategy.” [Here] Reich believes that Palin has her eyes on the presidency in 2012 or 2016 or, even, 2020 and that her strategy is to run as an outsider, not an insider, as all the other Republican hopefuls --Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingritch, Romney--are doing.
Reich, furthermore, believes that she has her eyes on white, working class Americans who will still be in the economic doldrums for the next couple of Presidential elections. Reich believes that America’s recession will mimic what Japan experienced, viz. a recession with a long, very slow recovery.
He points out that:
Joblessness among the white working class is far higher than the 9.6 percent average for the nation. While the unemployment rate among college grads...is around 5 percent, the average unemployment rate for people with only a high school degree or less (blue-collar, pink-collar, clerical) is almost 20 percent.
All of this is spawning a new and more virulent politics of anger in the nation's white working class, stoked by Republicans - anger against immigrants, blacks, gays, intellectuals, and international bankers (consider the latest Fox News salvos against George Soros).
...The Palin Strategy is to circumvent the Republican establishment, filled as it is with career Republicans, business executives, and Wall Streeters. That's why her path to the Republican nomination isn't the usual insider game. It's a celebrity game - a snark-fest with the nation's entire white working class.
Reich paints a bleak picture for those of us who believe in the essential tenets of democratic government with a sane, literate and clear-headed electorate, regardless of economic condition. He leaves us with this:
We might change... [this picture]. But at this point that doesn't seem in the cards. The President seems unable or unwilling to provide the clear narrative that explains what's happened and what needs to be done, and Republicans are at this moment ascendant.
It all fits into Sarah Palin's strategy.
Reich’s analysis is interesting and scary, but my money is still on the American voter and the American worker.
What say you?....