SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Who can blame Sarah Palin?
Scripps Howard News Service


July 06, 2009

WASHINGTON - Whatever else one may think about Sarah Palin, she obviously is a fascinating person. The absolute proof of that is the attention she receives from a media that has been obsessed with her one way or another since she burst onto the stage as John McCain's unlikely running mate, enlivening the debate and bringing her own down-home perspective to a national political scene too long dominated from inside the Washington beltway.

Probably no vice presidential candidate in history, certainly not after losing, has received as much attention or faced as much derision, some of which seems to be based on fear that she might actually charm enough people to become president of the United States. Saints preserve us!

Her chances of ever occupying the Oval Office seem pretty thin at the moment if one believes the conventional wisdom that resigning the governorship of Alaska with 18 months left on her first term makes the odds pretty long for a successful national effort. Well, that is, after all, the conventional wisdom, based on traditional thinking that wouldn't have given her a hoot in hell's chance of ever making it to a national ticket in the first place.

In fact the move that startled everyone over the Fourth of July weekend may just put her and her lively family in a far better position to expand her national support base than if she were trying to do so from Juneau or Wasilla or some icy Iditarod trail near Nome. But even if her decision marks the beginning of the end of a flash in the pan career, it has been refreshingly fun and certainly never dull.

Moreover, her impact on the fortunes of future female aspirants to high office may be considerable. Despite her short experience and her lack of worldliness, she has, if nothing else, shown that a relatively obscure woman, even one who is a governor, who is willing to stand unwavering in her beliefs can be a force with which to deal. It seems more and more obvious that her handlers in the John McCain presidential campaign couldn't (handle her, that is) and really had no idea what they had tied into.

The over-the-top rude treatment of a real live woman who has had to deal with the family problems that afflict millions of others but who dares to accept the challenge of modern politics is a clear indication of the lingering culture of animosity toward audacious females. Why is it they are always measured by a different yardstick than their male counterparts? No better example of that is Hillary Clinton, who underwent some of the came criticism because (shudder) she was seen from the start as politically ambitious in her own right.

Then along came this good-looking sourdough broad from the Alaskan sticks who had taken on her state's and her party's establishments and fought them to a standstill. It wasn't for nothing that she was called "Sarah Barracuda" in her all-star basketball days. She outdrew McCain on more than one occasion and was about the only spark -- good or bad, depending on one's perspective -- in an otherwise unexciting, futile campaign by a guy who never had a chance in the first place.

After it was over, there was this distinct impression that she wasn't just going back to the frozen north and read Robert Service or Jack London, and all the pundits and prognosticators and late night comedians and dipstick professional politicians began to get nervous. It was one put down after another and she and her snowmobiling hubby found her every move was like walking down a trail salted with bear traps, albeit some she admittedly had set for herself.

So why not take advantage of her new found fame and turn her focus to less parochial interests and probably make a little money along the way? Who can blame her? She has to know that every pundit and dipstick politician etc. won't let this alone. They have a sneaking suspicion that the former beauty queen with the "you betcha!" approach to life is at best pulling a fast one or at the worse pulling a fast one -- depending on one's perspective. Whatever.


E-mail Dan K. Thomasson, former editor of the Scripps
Howard News Service, at thomassondan(at)

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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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