Thursday, November 18, 2010

Palin Delusions of Adequacy

In her alternate universe, the kickoff of Sarah Palin's presidential campaign makes perfect sense: After backstage triumphs in the midterms, the candidate emerges to take the spotlight to the acclaim of an adoring America.

We are in a "Sunset Boulevard" remake here, with a 21st century Norma Desmond taking bows for killing GOP chances to control the Senate and, after years of hiding from them, blowing kisses at the "lamestream media" like Barbara Walters and the New York Times Magazine. ("I'm ready for my closeup, Mr DeMille. Pay no attention to the corpse in the swimming pool.")

For all this, the Milwaukee man who shot his TV set to protest Bristol Palin's dancing may have been acting out for many Americans who have the urge to blast their computers over her mother's ubiquity online.

Yet the Palins, for all their weird delusions of adequacy, are themselves the most telling metaphor for how far gone we all are, to switch movie images, into a political land of Oz.

As she confides to the Times about her White House ambitions, the piece reports advice Palin got from "her friend Fred Malek, whom she met through McCain during the 2008 campaign. She was listening to the former White House aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford map out logical next steps to her political career. Focus on amassing a good record as governor, he advised her. Run for a second term. Develop some policy expertise. Do some extensive overseas travel. Generate some good will by campaigning for fellow Republicans."

Sarah Palin did none of this, except the campaigning and that was not for established Republicans but Tea Party rogues, most of whom lost to the annoyance of Karl Rove and other party poobahs.

And yet... For all this politically suicidal behavior, she is running not far behind Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in the early 2012 polls.

In the coming months, it will become clearer whether it is Palin who is delusional--or the rest of us. Meanwhile, she will keep posing for those Norma Desmond closeups.

Update: New metaphor alert: If Palin is "Alice in Wonderland," here comes the Mad Hatter. Donald Trump tells George Stephanopoulos that a presidential run "could be fun."

"I'm looking at this country, George, and what's happened in terms of respect," Trump muses. "And the respect for this country is just not there. I have many people from China that I do business with, they laugh at us. They feel we're fools. And almost being led by fools."

That "almost" suggests he may be serious. The Donald never pulls his punches when he fires people. Would he settle for being Palin's Dick Cheney?

1 comment:

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Before the election, I would have welcomed Apocalypstick Palin with hopes that her candidacy would result in an Obama landslide victory in 2012. Since the election, I am not so sure.

Reasonable and thoughtful voters, disappointed and demoralized, stayed home; whereas a rabid minority turned themselves into an electoral majority and gave us the junkiest government within living memory. Given these elections results, a Palin candidacy would scare the hell out of me ... enough to consider ex-patrioting myself to Europe.

These days, our country is starting to appear more and more like late-stage Weimar Republic.