Palin’s Pitbull Problem.

4 09 2008

Hoo. OK. Before I get out the mud boots and shovel my way through the steaming pile of speech that Sarah Palin deposited on the stage of the Republican Convention last night, let me mention one thing that might be lost to most Americans – a telling little footnote.

Believe it or not, despite the unbelievable political news that’s been happening in Alaska lately (indictment of Senator Ted Stevens, investigation of Rep. Don Young, and all of the Palin antics) there’s really not that much else going on here. If you went throught the Anchorage Daily News wtih a pair of scissors, and removed the stories about politics, you’d end up with a quirky assortment of news that most people in the Lower 48 would consider not very newsworthy. The local news covers the high school basketball games.

Just so you get the idea, here are a few headline, front page news stories from the past few weeks:

Electronic scarecrows haze ravens from utility equipment

Orphaned Bear Cub Eludes Fish & Game Agents

Missing Hikers Found in Denali

In a small community, these are the kinds of things that really ARE news.

So last night, as I watched Palin’s debut on the national stage, something struck me. First, of course, she was polished and poised and handling her new found celebrity with confidence. She even pulled off an ad lib that was her greatest laugh line of the night. In response to the homemade “Hockey Moms for Palin” signs that were being held aloft, she said, “I love those hockey moms. You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!” (thunderous laughter and applause from the crowd)

Now let me share with you another of those headline stories from three weeks ago:

Child Taken Off Life Support After Pit Bull Attack.

This was the big news story in Alaska for several days that week. A child and her babysitter were viciously attacked by the family pet pit bull. The owner surrendered the dog, waited for the girls father to return from his deployment in Iraq, and watched as his six-year-old daughter was taken off life support after she went into an irreversably vegetative state.

I don’t know how other Alaska residents felt about the pit bull joke, and obviously her audience loved it, but most of us here in “small town America” probably didn’t find it particularly funny.

Cross posted on Huffington Post

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