11.22.2008

MSM, Sarah Palin, and Overkill

Those who know me well know that I cannot stand Sarah Palin. Now, I don't want to discredit her work/approval rating as the governor of Alaska, but one must keep it in check with the actual size of Alaska. Alaska has roughly 670,000 people. The population of the bi-state metro area I live in -- which includes the 40th largest city in the US -- is almost 2,000,000. Chicago is the third largest city, with over 2.84 million people.

We hadn't heard of her, really, prior to her surprise nomination. Now, we can't turn on or pull up any of the so-labeled nasty, elitist mainstream media without hearing or reading about Palin. Today CNN online reports that she's been offered roughly a gazillion interviews, book offers, and movie deals, including an appearance on Oprah. (An LA Times blog has refuted this report.) The latest example of her savvy political and journalism skills involves her doing an interview in front of a bunch of turkeys being slaughtered.

Happy Thanksgiving.

But this is what I find interesting, if I can find anything interesting about yet another story on Sarah Palin.

1. The woman has a degree in journalism, yet she released a statement saying she "never realized" she'd be giving an interview with such a bloody background and she said the media people "set her up." Nevermind she had gone to a turkey farm and slaughterhouse to "ceremoniously pardon" a Thanksgiving turkey from being executed.

2. The conservative blogs have been jumping all over CNN, MSNBC for covering this story, steering all coments away from Sarah Palin. One blogger said, quoting someone responding to MSNBC, "After she's sworn in in 2013, I hope President Palin arranges for a ritual turkey slaughter to be going on behind her at every press conference, if only during David Shuster's questions." (This same blog poked fun at the NY Times saying the turkey was being "executed." Just who do they think governors pardon? People about to be executed. Duh.) I have yet to find a conservative blog that says anything about what Sarah Palin said or showing why making such a decision to do this interview is a demonstration of her viability to be a national political figure.

3. Liberal blogs continue to keep wondering when she will be able to give a coherent, grammatically correct sentence in the English language.

What supports one's stand on a candidate's viability more: constantly coming up with excuses for the questionable coverage and/or putting blame on other people, or using the candidate's own words against them? Remember this line? "I voted with President Bush over 90% of the time, much more so than many of my Republican colleagues." Or, "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Try and tell me those lines didn't have any effect on McCain's campaign. IF she runs in 2012, I can already see ad executives coming up with 30 second ads that are just footage of a rambling Palin answer, followed by a narrator saying, "Whuuuuuh?" and then ending with "I'm [name of candidate], and I approve this message."

It will be a full two years, at least, before we seriously start looking at contenders to run against Obama in 2012. Two years is a long time in politics. It's longer than Palin had officially been a governor before becoming a VP candidate. In the two months Palin was on the national campaign trail, her approval rating nationally dropped over 50% from the low to mid 50 percentile to the low to mid 20s, and her approval rating back in Alaska dropped over 10 points. Her own state paper is now calling on her to refocus on her real job, working for Alaska rather than running "partisan errands."

Two years from now is essentially when President-elect Obama's newly announced plan to create 2.5 million jobs will be completed, provided the details work out completely and Congress goes for it. If the plan is even partially successful, it has the ability to turn our economy around, reduce the unemployment rate, and stabilize world-wide economics. Frankly, even if nothing Obama does has a direct effect on our society/economy, and yet we are better off at the beginning of 2011 than we are now at the end of 2008, it will be difficult for anyone to challenge his presidency.

I agree with political scientist John Pitney when he says, "If she [Palin] wants a future in national politics, her No. 1 job is doing a good job as governor." And while she will need, to a certain extent, to remain in the eyes of those of us in the lower 48, too much exposure will makes us all want her to just go away, like we all wanted to do with Paris Hilton after she was finally put in jail. We want our legislators, our national leaders, to be good at being leaders, not celebrities. Reagan didn't go straight from the silver screen to the White House, he spent several years being a good governor of California.

Governor Palin, while I know you will never read this blog and I probably would never vote for you, I hope someone somewhere gets it past your hairspray and into your brain that you will make more successful ground towards being a national political figure by being a really excellent governor and putting Alaska on the political map with its ability to be an energy leader. And at the same time, you can be a mother to your infant son with his special needs, which will help you learn what those mothers really need and will help you create appropriate legislation. Show me why I should consider you for national office based on more than your photogenic qualities. And until then, please, go away.

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