Is Sarah Palin becoming an albatross around the neck of John McCain? Two weeks ago, the thought that we would be asking this question seemed unlikely at best. Alaska’s own ‘hockey mom/beauty queen’ governor had become the overnight darling of the political world. She had everything – spunk, principles, smarts, beauty, ethics, and an attitude that was just plain “maverick”. Right?
Never mind that the hearts of progressive Alaskans (and even some Republicans) were gripped with an icy fear that made breathing alone difficult, nevermind shouting, “Noooooooo!” The rest of the world loved Sarah. Lipstick became an iconic symbol of political girl power. Her recent stint as a small town mayor, and her journalism degree from the University of Idaho showed us that “anyone can be president”. Her eyeglass frames were sold out at retail outlets around the land almost instantly. Pitbulls gained an unlikely place in our hearts. And all of a sudden John McCain didn’t have to grovel, and offer to bus people in from miles away to make his rallies look not so embarrasingly empty. It was a Disney movie – Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, Cinderella and The Mighty Ducks all rolled into one.
But now, it’s the morning after, and America is starting to have some regrets. Sarah, it seems, has been our “rebound girl” after our escape from a disastrous and abusive long-term relationship with our soon-to-be ex, Dick Cheney. Rebound relationships are normal, but no one expects them to last.
What was it? Shooting wolves from airplanes? The pastor problem? Abuse of power? The embarrasing interview with Charlie Gibson? Charging victims for rape kits? Being for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it? Her far-right stance on reproductive rights? Todd’s membership in a secessionist political party? New Earth evangelism? Stonewalling an ethics investigation? Leaving her small town in debt? Her love of earmarks? Her hatred of polar bears? Who knows? It may be a little of all of these things, or for some people, one is enough. But, we’re starting to realize, in the light of day, that the beautiful shiny image of Sarah Palin that swept us off our political feet isn’t the whole story. I wonder sometimes if there isn’t a portrait of a hideous, wrinkled old woman hidden away in a closet of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, and we’re all living some unexplainable Arctic version of Dorian Gray.
For the rest of America in the thralls of Sarah-Mania, Alaskans have been trying to be your sensible friend. “Are you crazy? This will never work!” “At the risk of our friendship, I have to tell you she is totally wrong for you!” “Do not, I repeat, do NOT move in with her!”
During the last few weeks of this ‘discovery period,’ Palin’s positive ratings have steadily and rapidly eroded, and according to the most recent report from the Daily Kos (excellent visual below) she can now actually be considered a ‘drag’ on the ticket. Not everyone is ‘there’ yet, but the trend is undeniable, and there are still weeks to go before election day.
America, on behalf of all Alaskans, and as your sensible friend, I want to thank you for hearing us out.