Never Underestimate a Beauty Queen

2010_02_08_s-PALIN-largeThis piece published in The Huffington Post

Reporters used to laugh when beauty contestants began saying they wanted to someday be television “anchorwomen.”  They did not say “reporters.” They wanted the lights! They wanted the camera! They wanted the action and attention that comes with “anchoring.”

No one is laughing now, except for those former beauty queens occupying those chairs. Most are smart enough to take the catapulting beauty queen experience off their resumes. Consider this: Would you be willing to don a bikini, stiletto heels and tape your body into perkiness just to parade in front of lusty crowds fawning for attention?

Giving away power and agreeing to be objectified from the “get go,” as Sarah Palin might say, is a form of ambition taller than the Transamerica building.  The comparison is intentional, because it was here in San Francisco that George W. Bush was handed a wedge issue that helped him get re-elected. And, Palin is all about wedges…one in particular. She’s playing the “Sarah the Saint” card, ready and willing to tear an already torn apart county into shreds with an issue that should never be politicized to begin with.

Before getting to that, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. It’s November, 2004 and George W. Bush wins Ohio, pushing the Electoral College count in his favor. Here’s what the New York Times wrote: “Proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in many of the 11 states where the measures appeared on the ballot on Tuesday, political analysts say, providing crucial assistance to Republican candidates.”
In Ohio, residents began coming to the polls just before they closed, spurred on by watching gay marriage ceremonies on the nightly news. Those images of men and women rushing to marry their same sex partners got Ohioans fired up and primed to punch any chad located next to Republican names.

Fast forward to Friday as Sarah Palin delivers a mean-spirited address to the all White, middle-aged Tea Party crowd. Following the manic hiccups and incomplete thoughts, she came right down to her own wedge issue—abortion. It’s an oldie. But, in terms of stoking passionate fires, it’s a goodie.

In a new book– “Game Change”– Palin is re-named “Saracuda.” The book describes a woman fighting hard not to look like what she is—a woman way over her head and certainly not ready to be president. In the book, Palin is often quoted as saying, “I know, what I know, what I know.” By that she hopes to highlight what she considers her instincts for relating to the people. What Palin knows is that her anti-abortion comments got the most raucous ovations of the night. The beauty queen with the “special needs” child—Saint Sarah—who implies she would have continued with her pregnancy in spite of any dangers related to her advancing age, and no matter how “special” her child’s needs might be. The reasoning is Palineque, taking huge leaps in logic to get to the coveted wedge. Why? Because no one ever knows for sure why such intensely personal decisions are made, but a beauty queen can spot a wedge and an advantage like a Neiman Marcus store. (Palin apparently had Neiman Marcus bags full of clothes all over her hotel room during the campaign.)

Make no mistake; she’s willing to use whatever it takes.  She’s already signed up with FOX News.  So, she’s already got the conservative bully pulpit and the coveted anchor chair.

Writer Len Colodny, who co-wrote “The Forty Years war: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama” said recently on C-SPAN that “Sarah Palin is George W. Bush in drag.” I took that to mean, ambitious without the brainpower, and therefore, easily used by the Dick Cheneys and Karl Roves of this world. The names will be different, but they’ll use her up as “Saint Sarah” and then likely throw her away. From the ridiculous to the sublime:

Sarah—the renegade—is really just another rote.

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