A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Sarah Palin is so furious with the North Koreans right now, she can’t think straight, and if she ever does get to be president, Kim Jong-il better find himself a rock to crawl under. Our girl holds a grudge, and Kimmy is going to be Numero Uno on her whip-ass list. You betcha! So what did Kim do that was so terrible, aside from that whole nuclear weapons thing? He stole Sarah’s headlines. On Tuesday, Sarah Palin was all set up to launch her book, America by Heart, and her 2012 presidential campaign when along came Kim and started pumping artillery shells into South Korea. Suddenly, the cameras were pointed east and Sarah was drinking tea by herself. It was all a bunch of Jong-il bluster and “You’re not the boss of me” bull, but the damage was done and Palin is pissed – and so are a lot of other people. This is the crux of what Sarah Palin is all about. She represents a whole pile of angry people who are looking for answers – when nobody is listening to their questions.
In 2008, Barack Obama promised Hope and Change to just about every mammal on this planet (I’m sure some dolphins voted for the guy) and he hasn’t delivered. History is going to write volumes on the wherefore and the why of that, but unless you’re keeping score, it was a pretty tall order in the first place. Honestly, anybody without a halo was going to fall short on that one. Two years later, voters from Codstomper, Maine to Extraflaky, California told him — point blank — “Shape up!” but so far it doesn’t look like he’s listening. The Obama message is still the same with a “but” added as an explanation and a “you don’t understand” thrown in as an excuse. Meanwhile, the Republican alternatives are so low profile you’d think they’d all just made the rude noise in the elevator. Ordinary Americans, who’ve been taking a knee to the groin for a while now, are desperate to find a flicker at the end of the tunnel. Enter Sarah Palin.
Like her or not, Palin is just saying the same thing a lot of people have been thinking for a long time (long before Obama, actually.) “Hold it! There’s something wrong here.” The American middle class is just about fed up with getting kicked around. They’re sick of being called names and told they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re tired of working their asses off and then getting handed the bill. They see themselves as used and abused and at the mercy of every wild-eyed committee with a cause and an outstretched palm. They think special interest groups have kidnapped their government, and they’re the ones who have to pay the ransom. They see their accumulated wealth being turned into diminishing returns, and they no longer see their tax dollars as a good investment. (Does any of this sound familiar, by the way?) The other thing that Palin is saying that a lot of people, including myself, agree with, is — “Hey! How hard can this be?” Palin might not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but she’s captured the mood of the mob insofar as they speak with one voice.
Which brings us around to the essential question: how big is that voice, and can it turn 2012 into a circus? Maybe. America by Heart is Palin’s political manifesto. In it she takes some healthy swings at Obama and the Democrats, but she also lays some right jabs into the Republicans, as well. This isn’t just Tea Party propaganda. She’s trying to reshape the political landscape. You heard it here first. The Republican Party can do a lot of things between now and the 2012 primaries — including finding a candidate who isn’t camera shy — but the one thing they’d better not do is ignore Sarah Palin. She’s served notice that there’s a new kid on the block who’s not going to play by the rules. Up to this point, she hasn’t had to because, for the last two plus years, she’s worked really really hard at doing absolutely everything wrong, but still nobody gets more media time than Sarah Palin. Just think about it — it took a belligerent act of aggression by a maverick nuclear power to knock her out off the front page. And speaking of Kim Jong-il, quite a few people around the world wouldn’t mind seeing Palin, or somebody like her, go Maggie Thatcher on his ass and beat the crap out of that little punk.