Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sarah Palinís future? Political gimmick


By PAT MURPHY

Despite frothy reviews from Republicans, Sarah Palin has as much chance to become president of the United States as, say, any other flash-in-the-pan, small-town beauty queen who's short on gray matter and long on acting like a vamp.

As national GOP leaders scramble for ideas on how to rebuild a party whose integrity and worth have been shattered by the destructive Bush-Cheney White House years and the absurd, chaotic McCain-Palin presidential campaign, Palin isn't on anyone's short or long list as a solution to the GOP's problems.

Palin's star power stems entirely from her persona as a curiosity—the wolf-shooting, moose-meat-eating hockey Mom whom some men in the audience call a "chick." Her wider fame created by Tina Fey's "Saturday Night Live" imitations have only added ridicule to Palin's celebrity.

It doesn't help Republicans in general or Palin in particular that the party now reports that another estimated $50,000 was spent on Palin to dress her for the role of John McCain's VP, bringing the total to some $200,000 for haute courtier threads, and that $68,400 was spent on a makeup artist and $42,000 on a hair stylist. So much for the plain old hockey mom.

The public already has a firmly implanted impression of Palin being a somewhat daffy yokel, claiming a view of Russia from Alaska and a hurried visit to the United Nations to shake hands with foreign delegates as her foreign policy bonafides. When she was punked on the telephone by a Montreal radio comic posing as the president of France, Palin seemed to be a dimwit.

Her disastrous, rambling, stumbling, blank-stare TV interviews were reminiscent of the South Carolina Miss Teen USA contestant's indecipherable, incomprehensible answer to a question about why Americans can't locate their country on a world map.

Over the next four years, Palin's flirtatious winks and "you betcha" vernacular will suffer excruciating setbacks as Barack Obama restores intelligence and eloquence in national politics and government. Republicans who've gotten by all these years with dirty tricks and stunts to win elections will need to come up with presidential candidates more appealing and persuasive than a perky, living caricature of a dumb blonde with brunette hair.

Republican men such as Georgia's redneck U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who flew Palin around the Peach State as his warm-up act at runoff re-election rallies last week, will exploit Palin with simple-minded voters who hang onto her words as the gospel because she's "one of us."

Happily, Palin eventually will fade away as an amusing has-been and as the worst decision of John McCain's political career.




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