You are here:   Counterpoints > ONLINE ONLY: How Sarah Got Drafted
 

When John McCain invited Sarah Palin to join his cause, he blindsided the press. But a campaign for her to be called to serve her country had been building its case for months.

The McCain camp was surely aware of Task Force Palin, the motley alliance of blogs and websites who spotted Palin's potential and then devoted themselves to spreading the word. I certainly was: I joined the "Draft Sarah Palin" Facebook group weeks ago. If the political press didn't notice, that may be because they no longer talk to anyone but themselves. An early complaint against Palin, a candidate they had refused to take seriously despite her acknowledged place on the Republican shortlist, was that she had never appeared on Meet the Press. Where else should they get their information from?

Yet the ordinary American citizens who encountered Sarah Palin recognised her charisma and promise immediately. According to The Times, Postman David Parcha told his teenagers to attend her inauguration as governor because "this was going to be historic". Listen to her phone-in interview on C-SPAN in February and you will hear callers saying they are Democrats but they would vote for her on a national ticket because her words touch their hearts. Such political alchemy is worth a dozen Mitt Romneys. Her father knows Sarah is special, too: he hasn't bested her in argument since she was two years old.

Palin speaks to America at a mythic level. She is not just a formidable politician: she is the American Dream personified. The life of "Sarah America" proves that the trek from log cabin to White House is still possible. She renews the promise of her nation just as much as Barack Obama - arguably more so, since she didn't have the benefit of an Ivy League education, and grew up on America's last true frontier. Many Americans feel represented by her in a profound way. Go to Zazzle.com and you'll find T-shirts for sale that say "I am Sarah Palin".

Sarah Palin is an ordinary citizen with a great gift for popular politics, and the people know it. The press keep arguing that Palin is a redneck bigot who can appeal only to Republican extremists. But out in the blogosphere, people are studying her opinions, thinking for themselves and giving endorsements that overturn that narrative, making the libertarian case for Palin.

If America's citizens helped bring Mrs Palin onto the Republican ticket, they now seem determined to carry her all the way to the Vice President's Mansion. As well as overturning the lies featured in the mainstream press, they are having fun as well. Palinfacts.com celebrates her potential with absurd hyperbole. "Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North." Or as one geek twitters, "Sarah Palin doesn't have a favorite web framework. She is a web framework". The site is crude, sometimes crass, but it is a window on how America really feels about Palin, and it looks good for John McCain. Sarah's web army is still worth watching.

 
Share/Save
 
 
 
 
Anonymous
January 3rd, 2009
5:01 AM
Article became quickly outdated once the governor began speaking away from the stump. Was nevertheless good as an exercise in if-only thinking, in case Palin had turned out to have something worthwhile to contribute.

Anonymous
November 1st, 2008
9:11 PM
"The life of "Sarah America" proves that the trek from log cabin to White House is still possible. She renews the promise of her nation just as much as Barack Obama - arguably more so, since she didn't have the benefit of an Ivy League education, and grew up on America's last true frontier." Could the author give more details about the "log cabin," and go into further detail on the extraordinarily privileged upbringing enjoyed by Mr. Obama, which made it possible to attend Ivy League universities? No, I thought not. Whay a drivel-rich article.

Scott Alan Joseph, MD
October 2nd, 2008
5:10 AM
This election is very simple. Barack Obama had his fist political fundraiser in the home of William Ayers, an unrepentant American terrorist. John McCain was tortured for America. One is a hero, one is a scumbag. Sarah is more competent than either Joe or Obama.

bluespapa in Iowa
September 30th, 2008
1:09 AM
"Palin speaks to America at a mythic level." That's very good. I think that's right, too, that her appeal goes beyond the specifics of policy to touch the values Americans themselves want to champion. Unfortunately, she seems not to have much of a grasp of the specifics of any issues outside Alaska, and her charge-ahead confidence is troubling to those of us who are more contempletive and better informed. It feels like a repeat of Bush, who has blundered through his presidency with certitude and bluster lacking any understanding of either consequences or complexities, alienatifng our allies, depleting our resources, and squandering our prestige, and losing thousands of our finest young people, our most valuable resource. She doesn't blink, but she makes us wince. That she shows no signs of humility, repeats utter distortions of her record even when they are pointed out as such, and can't fake her way through matters about which she hasn't a clue (nor is willing to admit as much), she invokes a lot of hostility from people who are concerned about all the issues of which she's ignorant (U.S. position on Israel potentially attacking nuclear sites in Iran while we have ships in the gulf and troops in Iraq; emerging democracies that require tremendous help, but whose interests don't always match the U.S., e.g., Pakistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and even Iran; our complex relationships with Russia, China, and other trading partners who are other than democracies, like Vietnam). Knowing the issues, caring about them, and hearing someone whose ambitions are to be a step away from the power of the President of the United States, who doesn't know or care, but is certain her own moral compass will win the day is terrifying and appalling, and earns us the scorn of her supporters as elitists, socialists, class-prejudice, haters of (the real) America, etc., etc. I wouldn't care if she were Wasilla Assembly of God, or Bernie's Tap and Grill, if she were Wal-Mart or Lane Bryant, if she spoke grammatically or cussed like a sailor, if she had an anti-witch ritual or a skull and bones secret handshake--if she knew the issues, and could speak about America's hopes and values in that context. I'd love to hear her version of what she did for uninsured children in Alaska. These aren't designed to be gotcha questions, just questions.

Robert Pinkerton
September 21st, 2008
4:09 PM
What I love about the tempest her nomination has raised, is how it brings out the hypocritical class-bigotry of the Left, as well as showcasing "Left 'manners(?)'" (i.e.: Intentional use of bad manners to dominate an argument one knows one otherwise is going to lose). Your magazine should do a study of Socialist class-prejudice against the working and lower-middle classes.

St. Louie MO
September 18th, 2008
12:09 AM
Whatever Sarah Palin's iconic qualities may be, her selection by John McCain clearly shows that his motto should be "Country Third, Fourth, or Whatever." Her Everyman - er - Everyperson qualities cannot remedy her frightening lack of qualifications to be (pardon the worn cliché) a heartbeat from the Oval Office.

Robert D. Rachlin, Burlington, Vermont USA
September 17th, 2008
12:09 AM
Whatever Sarah Palin's iconic qualities may be, her selection by John McCain clearly shows that his motto should be "Country Third, Fourth, or Whatever." Her Everyman - er - Everyperson qualities cannot remedy her frightening lack of qualifications to be (pardon the worn cliché) a heartbeat from the Oval Office.

City On A Hill Political Observer
September 13th, 2008
5:09 PM
We Palin fans have been following her career for some time, and many of us were blogging for her to be selected VP long before most people even heard of her. Her selection has been a great moment in political history to many of us! Go SARAH GO! www.cityonahillpolitics.blogspot.com

Post your comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.