I remember exactly where I first heard about Sarah Palin sashaying onto the national scene. My family and I were visiting my little brother out in Colorado when it was announced that John "I walk with a (Mc)Cain" had chosen his running mate after months of speculation. Had the Republicans finally found their golden ticket into the White House?
Watching her infamous "hockey mom with pit-bull lipstick" speech at the Republican National Convention was riveting to say the least. She was so confident and polished, it made me weep. In a dream sequence I had later, I envisioned myself in a similar situation only I'm tripping as I'm walking across the stage, lunging towards the podium, mumbling something into the microphone about campaigning for more malls in West Virginia before passing out in front of the rolling teleprompter. All that to say, she was inordinately eloquent and poised that night no matter what you thought of her politics.
Once she dipped her toe into the shark infested waters policed by the mainstream press and Keith Olbermann (MSNBC hardly qualifies as "press" of any kind), the slashing and burning of her personal character, family, religious beliefs, and accent began. Attacking her pregnant teenage daughter and the maternity of her mentally retarded son, the media also went after her admirable record as governor and portrayed her solely as a Bush-Lite beauty queen. Her admittedly poor interview performances with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were played endlessly on cable news as comedic fodder and had even Karl Rove scratching his big shiny bald head...what exactly was the "Bush Doctrine" again?
Feminists rejected her outright because, although a woman, she was not one of them and thus she was outside of their protectionist circle of feminist outrage. To a majority of conservatives, she was a breath of fresh air, to most liberals she was a know-nothing knuckle-dragging pin up. Although much information out on Sarah Palin is schizophrenic in nature: she's bright and dumb as a rock, she's a trail blazer and overly scripted, she's determined and she's a quitter, it seems as if the only person who is sure of Sarah Palins' message is Sarah Palin.
While I would like to report that the press operates as an unbiased platform, to say so would make my previous points moot. She has precious little control over the things they chose to dwell on, but she can still sculpt her own image outside the confines of a system that undermines her every move. It is possible and it is necessary.
If a book tour and a sit down chat with Oprah Winfrey is all that Sarah has in the cards, then I say run that ship into the ground. However, if higher political aspirations are in the works, such displays of celebrity will not initiate a resurgence in base loyalty or lead to a re-evaluation of credentials. Let me propose that instead of shirking responsibilities as governor by dropping out prematurely and instead of talks pertaining to a wardrobe budget, let's discuss relevant solutions regarding the economy, health care, human rights, Afghanistan, etc. As a voter, I'm greedy; I like style but but I demand substance. I want a real contender. Where's the (moose) meat, Sarah?