Elections & Voting
US President Palin? You betcha!
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Dec 18, 2009, 00:25

Alaska�s fairest, Sarah Palin, is on a mission. The US vice-presidency was snatched from her manicured grip, which from her perspective is just as well. This is no number two kinda gal. She�s no easily muzzled sidekick. Those who believed she would pale into insignificance following the McCain camp�s defeat got it wrong. She�s hungry for the top job and, judging by her rising popularity, she just might land it.

A December CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that she has a popularity rating of 46 percent with eight-out-of-10 Republicans viewing her favourably. Incredibly, she is only one point below President Barack Obama�s approval rating, which currently stands at just 47 percent.

She�s no Einstein, but she�s certainly a street-smart strategist who is succeeding in turning her supposed intellectual deficiencies into an asset. She knows that you don�t have to be a genius to become president of the United States; her role model president, Ronald Reagan, had a very average IQ of 105. Americans don�t hanker after nerds. They prefer good looks and likeability. Palin, a former beauty queen, is blessed with oodles of the former and is now carefully cultivating the latter.

Ever since she deserted her post as governor of Alaska last summer for the good of the Alaskan people, naturally she hasn�t put a foot wrong. Indeed, her strategy is quite brilliant.

First, she �wrote� her best-selling, seriously-wealth-creating memoir, Going Rogue, in collaboration with Lynne Vincent, a senior writer for the Conservative Christian publication World Magazine, that effectively distances her from the failures of the McCain bandwagon. Americans may be queuing up to get hold of it but Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch�s biographer, is unimpressed. Such �books are a sales tool,� he says, pointing at Palin�s. �They�re propaganda and they�re fake . . .�

Palin�s growing, predominantly white, fan base would probably write off Wolff�s criticisms as sour grapes. They�ve driven for hundreds of miles in the rain and camped out in the cold just to get her signature on their cherished copy. For them, she�s no caricature of a folksy hick. She�s Sarah. Good old huntin,� shootin,� hockey mom Sarah, whose right-wing Christian family values reflect their own.

Palin 2.0

Second, although she�s kept her trademark hairstyle and red jacket, she�s reinvented herself when it comes to showing off her grasp of issues. Plus, she understands the value of self-deprecating humour, which, lately, she�s been using to good effect. At a high-profile Washington dinner recently she gave her parodying look-alike Tina Fey a run for her money with lines like �I came down from my hotel room and I could see the Russian embassy,� a play on her pre-election attempt to beef up her foreign policy expertise by saying Russia could be seen from Alaska.

More recently, she unexpectedly showed up on the Tonight Show with Conan O�Brien to lightheartedly spar with one of her foremost critics, actor William Shatner. She�s been cleverly popping into America�s living rooms for weeks, managing to boost Oprah Winfrey�s viewer ratings by 68 percent.

Thirdly, and most importantly, she is shoring up a potential base. Like many presidential hopefuls before her she has made obeisance to 91-year-old evangelist preacher Billy Graham, who had this to say after the two broke bread: �I, like many people, have been impressed with her strong commitment to her faith, to family, and love of country.�

Likewise, she has been making nice with big business in an op-ed urging Obama to boycott the Copenhagen Climate Summit. In it, she slams what she calls agenda-driven policies, which won�t change the weather but will adversely change America�s economy. A stroke of genius is her inclusion of military bases in her book tour itinerary.

If you�re tempted to write off this woman as a dunderhead, don�t! Her scheming is working at a time when more and more Americans are becoming disillusioned with their silvery-tongued commander-in-chief. The idea that the lady might be changing the Oval Office drapes in 2012 is spine-chilling.

Why? She believes Muslims should be profiled if it �saves innocent American lives.� She fears an exit date from Afghanistan will encourage enemies to �wait us out.� She wants to tell Iran, �We�re the superpower of the world.�

To Israel, she says go ahead and expand colonies �because the population of Israel is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.� Sounds apocalyptic to me!

She is against the closure of Guantanamo and condemns the New York trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad as �atrocious.� She drums up hysteria by accusing Obama of being a closet socialist who is so weak he literally bows to the Japanese emperor and blasts former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for showing clemency to a death-row inmate.

Under that dazzling smile and apple-pie exterior lies a woman who is tough, egocentric, arrogant, ambitious, manipulative and determined; a m�lange of Lady Macbeth, a hillbilly redneck, Miss USA and a Stepford Wife. If she manages to keep the fa�ade from cracking for another three years, be afraid! Be very afraid.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at heardonthegrapevines@yahoo.co.uk.

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