Monday, June 06, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Nothing she's done since resigning her position as governor of Alaska really suggests she's planning a serious presidential candidacy, nor are her current activities indicative of any real commitment to public service. What they do demonstrate is an understanding that outrageous statements, calculated controversy and the blurring of the line between candidate and celebrity are a sure route to lots of attention -- and lots of money."

-- From a piece in today's Salon from Alyssa Battistoni called "Sarah Palin and Profit-Motive Politics"

I realize that there's nothing especially revealing about this quote; it pretty much states the obvious. But it gives me a chance to say something I was going to put in the comment section last week. Despite a few Palin-related posts in the past couple of work days, I'm sticking by my pledge that I'm not returning to, as Glenn Beck might say, a pre-1/12 mentality (that would be the date this year that the Idiot Queen unleashed her staggeringly narcissistic and tone-deaf "blood libel" accusation in the wake of the shooting of Gabby Giffords).

Still, there's something I wanted to expound on a little in regard to Palin, fame, and why she's no longer worth spending too much time on. I alluded to this before, but the above column in Salon kind of hints at why the Palin "brand" is well past its expiration date. When all of this post-election insanity first started three years ago, after her political fortunes had tanked miserably, Palin made a conscious decision that her career trajectory was going to be exactly what it's turned out to be -- that of a reality TV star. She peaked early, saturated the market, oversaturated the market and consequently created a backlash among all but her most obsessive fans.

Anyone who follows these kinds of trends will tell you that in order to restart your fame clock after it winds down to oblivion, you have to do something new -- and by new I don't mean just clumsily inject yourself back into the spotlight, I mean show people something they haven't seen before. In case you haven't been paying attention, so far the Palin 2011 Tour has brought us exactly what you'd expect from an aging act well past its glory days: a predictable roster of stale greatest hits. In Palin's case, there have been the red meat talking points, the comically dumb misstatements coupled with an almost astonishing level of moral and intellectual certitude, the cryptic and thoroughly meaningless allusions to a potential candidacy -- really, she may as well be ending every appearance by doing My Generation. In other words, there's nothing to see here, folks -- may as well move along. Granted the lapdog political press is far too stupid, gullible and desperate for something to fill airtime and copy space to completely ignore Palin's publicity stunt -- but for most of the rest of the country, barring her getting an emergency brain transplant compliments of Stephen Hawking or saving a bus-load of infants from going over a cliff, it's the same old, same old from Sarah. To twist a bit that comic Larry Miller used to do years ago, expecting anything new from the Sarah Palin brand at this point is like putting sour milk back in the refrigerator again hoping it'll somehow be better in a couple of days.

Later this week, 24,000 e-mails between Palin and various subordinates -- all from her first 21 months as governor of Alaska -- will be released to the public. The political media is giddily anticipating a few potential bombshell revelations within these correspondences but Palin is already shrugging off the hype, saying, "Every rock in the Palin household that could ever be kicked over and uncovered anything, it's already been kicked over."

And you know something? She's absolutely right for once. That's exactly the point.


Krissy said...

Did you see the quote from her trying to backpedal on the Paul Revere stuff? Completely moronic. And of course she ended it by accusing the press of hitting her with a "Gotcha!" question. She makes my brain ache.

Eric said...

I've been happy to have a Palin moratorium, myself, that I'll be temporarily breaking today. But I'll say this: while I hope I'm wrong and really don't want to see Palin run for anything, nothing I've seen convinces me she's not running for President in her own deluded, incompetent, incomprehensible way. In fact, everything she's doing is pretty much what I'd expect from a Palin Presidential run: an outsider candidacy premised on the (likely erroneous) belief that social media and television can be used to rally a grassroots base to either steal the GOP primaries or (when that's thwarted by the party elites who have been turning on Palin lately) fuel a quixotic independent bid that flames out sometime in 2012 with Palin's name possibly even making it onto a handful of state ballots.

As far as I can tell, Palin is a narcissist who gets off on the whole "rogue" and "maverick" mythos she's created in her own head even more than in the public eye. Efforts by the old men running the GOP to strangle her candidacy in the crib would be a gratifyingly masochistic challenge for her, another shot at self-righteous vindication, and when it flopped on its belly it wouldn't be her fault for splitting the party in some states, it would be the party's fault for denying her obvious appeal and being out-of-touch with the real heart and soul of the Republican Party; this is, I think, how Palin's brain works.

I want to be wrong about this. I'd loooooooove to be so waaaaaaaaaay off that it's comical how far off base I am and everyone can laugh at Eric (more than usual). But there's a fundamental flaw in every "she won't run" analysis I've seen: they all assume she's a rational actor who understands how the game she's playing is supposed to work, as opposed to a vindictive self-obsessed kook who wouldn't have a clue if Pat Sajak sold her one.

I hope I'm just being dumb.