Palin must demonstrate that she’s more than an archetype

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2008, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

Remember that old bumper sticker, “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill”? John McCain must have it plastered on his car.

When McCain first introduced former beauty queen and governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running mate, I – like most everyone -- was completely, positively astounded. Virtually unknown outside of Alaska, Palin’s only political experience is two years as governor and a term as mayor of a town about the size of Winters. Before that, she served on the PTA. Is this a joke? What is McCain thinking?

At first glance, the unfathomable choice of Palin as a running mate appeared to be a last-ditch grasp for disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters -- sheer cold-sweat desperation in the face of Barack Obama’s burgeoning popularity. There was no other explanation.

However, Palin’s address at the Republican National Convention cleared everything up. McCain is as treacherous as they come. He didn’t just drop a bomb on this election, he dropped a bombshell. A brunette bombshell.

Sarah Palin isn’t a mere candidate. She’s an archetype. She’s a super hero. It’d take a team of Hollywood screenwriters to dream up a character as over the top as Palin. She’s Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone morphed into one. She’s Rambette! And, she’s the collective wet dream of your average American male: drop-dead gorgeous, likes to play with guns, and loves hunting, fishing and hockey. In a bikini and stilettos. That’ll grab the male subconscious by the short hairs and make it pay attention.

Don’t think so? Go ask 10 guys if they’d like to watch Sarah Palin mudwrestle Pamela Anderson and see how long it takes them to drool. Make sure your watch has a second hand. There’s already a photo circulating of Palin in an American flag bikini, holding a rifle in a perfectly phallic-like stance. Is it real or is it fake? Doesn’t matter, because that’s exactly the archetype that’s already lodged in the American psyche.

Yes, Sarah’s sexy. But despite that frumpy-librarian-closet-sex-kitten thing she’s got goin’ on, Palin’s no bubbleheaded bimbo. She’s got a head on her shoulders. And on that head, she has a mouth. Whooee, does she have a mouth. She delivered that speech that was written for her like a torpedo. (You didn’t think she wrote it herself, did you?)

Palin, who has surely never even met Obama (probably because she’s never stepped foot in a White House ladies room, let alone onto the senate floor), didn’t waste any time ridiculing his resume. She belittled Obama’s two decades of community service in Chicago, insinuating that being mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 7,000, was the more challenging job.

Watch out, Sarah, your provincial slip is showing.

Even if you throw in Palin’s brief stint as governor, her experience pales in comparison to Obama’s. Alaska has a mostly white population of 670,053 spread out over a vast wilderness. Chicago has a multi-racial population of 2,896,016, contained within its relatively miniscule city limits. Obama dealt with more types of people and problems before lunchtime on any average Tuesday than Palin did in her entire political career.

Besides her smug disdain for Obama, what else did Palin really have to offer in her convention speech? That John McCain is a war hero who suffered mightily and proudly served his country? We already knew that. Take away those two topics, and what’s most obvious about Palin’s speech is what she didn’t say, namely, anything indicating that she has any grasp of anything beyond the borders of Alaska. Like the economy, foreign policy, healthcare, poverty, homelessness, outsourcing, the mortgage crisis, the yawning chasm of national debt, or that the perpetrators of 9/11 weren’t Iraqis. Does she know the difference between Sunni and Shiite? (Hint: ask Joe Lieberman.)

Baby, you may call yourself a pit bull, but if you’re gonna run with the big dogs, you need to venture outside your back yard first.

Forget the rootin’ tootin’ rifle babe Ms. Chismo. Palin must demonstrate that she has familiarity with, let alone a grasp of, the challenges facing the entire country and surrounding world. Sure, she’s demonstrated that she can spit words like bullets, and that she’s ready, willing and able to go trampling over the world by John McCain’s side, guns a-blazing, tracking down the Godless like caribou over the tundra. And all without smudging her lipstick!

That’s great for a starring role in the next Hollywood blockbuster. But for the second most powerful position in the country, maybe the world? Not so much.

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