Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury.

Vanity Fair have an article on the phenomenon which is Sarah Palin:

With few exceptions—mostly Palin antagonists in journalism and politics whose beefs with her have long been out in the open—virtually no one who knows Palin well is willing to talk about her on the record, whether because they are loyal and want to protect her (a small and shrinking number), or because they expect her prominence to grow and intend to keep their options open, or because they fear she will exact revenge, as she has been known to do. It is an astonishing phenomenon. Colleagues and acquaintances by the hundreds went on the record to reveal what they knew, for good or ill, about prospective national candidates as diverse as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Barack Obama. When it comes to Palin, people button their lips and slink away.
Palin rarely allows herself to be interviewed, which indicates to people like myself that she has intellectual shortcomings, but this only convinces her fans that "the lamestream media" are not to be trusted.

She communicates with them mostly through Twitter, inventing words as she does so, but her audience find nothing suspicious in this. Sarah is "just like them" and that's all the qualifications they require.
But in the year since she abruptly resigned the governorship of Alaska, in order to market herself full-time—earning an estimated $13 million in the process—she has submitted to authentic, unpaid interviews with only a handful of journalists, none of whom have posed notably challenging questions. She keeps tight control of her pronouncements, speaking only in settings of her own choosing, with audiences of her own selection, and with reporters kept at bay. (Despite many requests, neither Palin nor her current staff would comment for this article.) She injects herself into the news almost every day, but on a strictly one-way basis, through a steady stream of messages on Twitter and Facebook. The press plays along. Palin is the only politician whose tweets are regularly reported as news by TV networks. She is the only one who has been able to significantly change the course of debate on a major national issue (health-care reform) with a single Facebook posting (in which she accused the Obama administration, falsely, of wanting to set up a “death panel”).
The article sets out in exquisite detail the flawed nature which Palin hides behind that mask of silence.
Palin’s former personal assistants all refused to comment on the record for this story, some citing a fear of reprisal. Others who have worked with Palin recall that, when she feels threatened, she does not hesitate to wield some version of a signature threat: “I have the power to ruin you.”
And this part of Palin which appears brutal, is evidenced by her behaviour towards the site Conservatives For Palin, where criticism of Palin is considered heresy.
On C4P, any journalist or public figure who questions Palin in any way is flicked off as a “creep,” a “hack,” a “loser,” a “storm trooper,” a “liar,” or as just plain “slime.” “I assumed the governor was above that,” says Jay Ramras, an Alaska state legislator who has been a frequent target of the site. “Or at least that there was a Chinese wall between her and these people. But then they crossed over—she hired them.”
Most politicians would keep a distance between themselves and such a site, but Palin hired Rebecca Mansour, the woman who co-founded the blog.
The nastiness on C4P exists alongside an idealization of the former governor, as displayed in the closing lines of “Who is Sarah Palin?,” an 8,000-word posting by Mansour: “C4P has your back, Governor. And when you finally ride out from the north with your banner lifted high, we’ll rally.”
And Palin's relationship with the truth is evidenced in the fact that, as late as April 2009, Palin's press spokesman was stating that C4P was “not affiliated in any way with the governor.”

Mansour had something to say about that. She stated:
“Some readers have wondered if I felt tire tracks on my back this morning,” and went on to say, “I understand” why Palin’s spokesperson denied any connection, adding, “I’m not hurt … much.”
The article even goes on to suggest that Mansour might very well be ghost writing Palin's Twitter posts.
Palin’s virtual voice does sometimes have the ring of authenticity. But often it sounds less like Palin herself than someone else’s fantasy version of Palin at her most vitriolic. On one occasion Palin’s virtual voice contradicted remarks she made in a TV interview two days later.
So there is a dishonesty to Palin and a certain ruthlessness. But neither of those things has ever disbarred any other politician from success, so it's not on those grounds that anyone should oppose Palin. Rather it's her jaw dropping lack of knowledge which people should find worrying.

The woman who today wants to meet Margaret Thatcher, despite being unaware that Thatcher now suffers from dementia, apparently had no idea who Thatcher was when she ran for the Vice Presidency.

Just think on that. Which Republican politician, who claims to love Ronald Reagan, could possibly not have heard of Margaret Thatcher? It's a sign of staggering ignorance from a woman who claims to wish to "shatter that glass ceiling once and for all" for "the women of America".

One would imagine that Britain's first and only female Prime Minister would have impacted upon her consciousness on some level. Especially as Thatcher had such a famous relationship with the man who Palin identifies as her hero.

But then, most of Palin's image is manufactured, created to please a certain fundamentalist Republican/Christian mindset.

Vanity Fair report that she doesn't even hunt.
“This whole hunter thing, for Sarah? That is the biggest fallacy,” says one longtime friend of the family. “That woman has never hunted. The picture of her with the caribou she says she shot? She got out of the R.V. to pose for a picture. She never helps with the fishing either. It’s all a joke.” The friend goes on to recall that when Greta Van Susteren came to the house to interview Palin “[Sarah] cooked moose chili and whatnot. Todd was calling everyone he knew the day before—‘Do you got any moose?’ Desperate.”
It was to be expected that the Palin camp would react strongly to such an article, and I suppose it comes as no surprise that the reaction is almost completely incoherent.
In response to the VF article, Palin said: "Those who are impotent and limp and gutless and they go on their anonymous – sources that are anonymous – and impotent, limp and gutless reporters take anonymous sources and cite them as being factual references."
Who wrote that I wonder? Palin or Mansour?

Click here for the Vanity Fair article.

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