Sarah Palin is on the road in a great big bus and much of the media world is a-buzz. Questions like; Is she running for President? or Where is she going next? or Just what in the world is she doing? are being asked and left unanswered by the very wily Ms. P. Sarah’s media savvy and ability to grab the attention away from pretty much everyone else in politics in general and Republicans in particular shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the media; but they make a big deal about it anyway. Then of course, they start to complain about what a big deal the media makes out of everything Palin does and says.
In reality, no matter how much they criticize her, they absolutely love when Palin gives them any chance to raise and re-raise her profile. The simple fact is that Sarah Palin makes a great opportunity for folks in the media to do some talking, get some face time and write some article (guilty as charged). It’s quite understandable what the attraction Sassy Sarah has for the media; she draws big crowds and says quotable things. This is true for the Left, the Right or the Distanced Middle media world.
The Left can’t wait for a Palinesque remark which they can jump on and mash into a pulp. The Right likewise looks forward to those Momma Grizzly quips that so tickle their fancy. We in the Distanced Middle may not find what flows from Sarah’s lips all that interesting, but we are fascinated by the sheer volume of media coverage of almost anything she says. Sarah has just about perfected the 21st Century skill of being famous for being famous.
Sarah will sooner than later say something that will ignite a firestorm of Left indignation and Right staunch defense. And getting the obvious standard Conservative social values but only relevant to primarily to the religious Right issues out and bashed around by real candidates early in the 2012 election cycle will make it possible to focus on more important matters later in the election season. But Sarah’s part in the 2012 campaign can be more than just starting fights. And so perhaps in the role of presenter of issues and positions that the Left and the Right will eventually have to argue about, Sarah will speed things up and pull us into and through the required classical Left-Right dividing diatribes and move things along towards the real discussions that must take place regarding the direction and fate of this country which will determined by the upcoming elections.
With her place in history assured, as the first and spunkiest female candidate the Republican Party ever put on the national ticket; Sarah can now go on and burnish her own self created legend as the Queen of the Party of TEA and the Princess of Grizzly Bear Mommas everywhere. She can talk in support of her own unique brand of values, which combines old fashioned nationalistic patriotism with long held fears and prejudice against some of the ways in which the world in general and the U.S. in particular is changing. Her loyal followers can revile in the pure joy of her winks and down home wise cracks and those who dislike her, not only on the issues but viscerally, can (and will) broadly condemn everything she says as being either dumb or wrong or both.
But the mainstream and even the backwater media doesn’t have to treat each and every whistle-stop remark as if it had import beyond what it is; Sarah being Sarah. We can nod, tip our hat and even smile a little, but let’s not make her current PR tour into anything more than it is; Sarah keeping herself in front of the public and enjoying the celebrity of it all. If she runs, which is doubtful because she apparently hasn’t made any real organizational plans to do so; then we may have to pay more attention to her. Once she is clearly not really running she will be relegated to the role of Chief Obama Basher (who is not on the ticket) and GOP home team cheerleader. She may still grab a headline now and then, but she will ultimately fade and be eclipsed by the real words and actions of the real candidates, probably Pawlenty and Romney. But until then, let Sarah enjoy what may be her last hurrah in the spotlight; but let’s not enable her to use up an undue amount of political oxygen and media time and space and distract us from what’s really important; who we chose to lead this nation in the future.