If recent history is anything to go by, both traditional and new media are going to be flooded with verbiage on Sarah Palin’s appearance this weekend the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Love or hate the former-Alaska governor, only a fool would argue the lady doesn’t have an attention-grabbing public persona.
Her supporters believe this the real Mrs. Palin. An attractive do-it-all-modern mom who shoots from the hip, holds nothing back and brushes off emotional punches like a prizefighter.
Her detractors blast her as a manipulative and dangerous talking head that spews vitriol without checking her facts first.
I’ve always straddled the middle – certainly not red, but not quite blue, more a violet purple. I consider myself a liberal conservative. The worst of the worst of the oxymoron. And I am no different when it comes to Palin ….
I admire her for her chutzpah and her willingness to stay in the ring. I like the fact that she’s a woman in a traditionally man’s world who is strong, unapologetic and keeps a pair of boxing gloves in her purse. I love that she is willing to stand up and try to make a difference in the world around her.
But her naiveté on foreign policy scares me. Many of her political positions (which can change quite rapidly) are in opposition to my own. And I really despise the political blood-sport that seems to rev her followers into a frenzy. I get sick to my stomach when uninformed throngs seize on a single sentence and deconstruct efforts to make things better instead of contributing to an educated conversation.
However we feel about Palin as individuals she’s built her persona and platform on being the outsider, the rogue – and it works for her.
So I had to laugh when I saw the following in the New York Times about her address this weekend:
“This is about the people, and it’s bigger than any one king or queen of a tea party, and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter,” she said.
That was just one of several digs at President Obama. “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for you?” she asked at one point.
Whether she chooses to acknowledge it or not – while her tactics are different, she is building her campaign (for what office I’ll leave it to the pundits to argue) on some of the same things Barack Obama did during his meteoric rise to the highest office in the land.
She is change. She is something new. She is the outsider. The ROGUE.
And that is what many of her supporters profess to love the most about Palin. They’re so excited by her message that on the Going Rogue book signing tour stop I covered for a story in November, hawkers were already selling “Palin 2012” pins (and, a-HEM, yes, I did actually buy one just in case… oh, and Palin was actually really, really personable, as were the family members traveling with her).
This weekend Tea Party supporters shook the rafters with chants of “Run, Sarah, Run” after she finished her speech.
Well, she might want to give Obama a call before she makes any decisions.
He’s had a heck of a lesson in the way Washington works over the last year. Outsiders don’t remain outsiders for long. The black hole of party-and-election-interest-dominated policymaking has sucked in just about every politician to hit the D.C. streets in the last fifty years…..
…and, well, history really does have a funny way of repeating itself …