Saturday, November 27, 2010

Obama Doesn't Think About Palin

I watched Barbara Walters' special Thanksgiving interview with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. I loved it. How can one not like the Obamas? They are an intelligent couple, well-spoken, and just ooze class like we haven't seen since John and Jacqueline Kennedy lived in the White House. The president comes across as a likable person, with a sense of humour that would make him fun to hang out with. The most remarkable thing about the interview, though, is that no matter how vicious the opposition has been towards him since Day One of his administration, he refused to be uncivil in his remarks.

For example, Ms Walters revealed that the Obamas have a ritual at every meal where the family reveals their roses and thorns to one another. Walters answered for Obama in that the Republicans are his thorns, but he said that the high unemployment numbers are his thorns. Good answer! I was pleased to hear about the roses and thorns ritual, because at the Atlanta Area Council, my last supervisor had a weekly meeting in which we were expected to give a "roses, thorns, and buds" (the "buds" were upcoming things we were looking forward to). I liked the idea, though I was certainly cautious about what I chose to reveal to management (for example, I did not share as a "bud" that I was planning to leave the job and move to the West Coast).

The juiciest portion of the interview, which was advertised and hyped over and over, was the comments Sarah Palin had made a week earlier to Barbara Walters. The Quitter Queen had told Walters that she believed that she could beat President Obama in 2012. Of course, our shallow, corporate media loves stirring up the drama and hoped to draw our president into a "tit-for-tat" cattiness that Palin is quite famous for. However, Obama is Mr. Cool Kat and he refused to take the bait (whoo-hoo!). When pressed by Ms. Walters for his non-answer to her first question, he finally said: "I don't think about Sarah Palin." I loved that answer! It made me laugh. Whether it is true or not, it was the only answer a president should give. Palin is a non-entity. Her most recent slip of the tongue when she said that we should stand with our "North Korean allies" only reminds people what a vapid, ignorant shrill this woman is.

Even more, I love the rest of what President Obama said about Palin's popularity in certain circles: "Obviously, Sarah Palin has a strong base of support in the Republican Party and I respect those skills." That's sure to aggravate Ms. Palin, as she sure seems to be obsessed with the Obama family, as she attacks them constantly in her speeches, comments on political talk shows, tweets, Facebook posts, and even her just released, ghostwritten second novel, America By Heart. Her latest attack is on First Lady Michelle Obama's crusade to end childhood obesity through a promotion of healthy eating and exercising habits. This is baffling, as Michelle mentioned in the interview that fighting childhood obesity is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue. Its non-partisan. Why is everything turned into a partisan debate these days?

Even though I did not like George W. Bush, I never thought poorly of First Lady Laura Bush. Her cause was reading and there was nothing partisan about that. It is tradition that the First Lady takes up a cause to advocate, and usually its not a controversial one. Tipper Gore would have likely taken up the cause of mental health. Barbara Bush's was literacy. Nancy Reagan's was "Just Say No" (to drugs, not deficits). Jacqueline Kennedy's was White House preservation. Hillary Clinton started with Health Care Reform, then focused on children's and women's issues in the larger, global sphere. She was a lightning rod, though, and thus why its understandable that Michelle Obama chooses to focus on military families and childhood obesity. She's an intelligent woman, and too many people are still threatened by a smart woman. Doubly so if she happens to be African American, as well. So when Sarah Palin attacks Michelle, one can't help but wonder if it might be based in a little bit of jealousy because Palin is nowhere as intelligent as Michelle. For a person suspected of harbouring racist views, Palin is probably seething with envy. Can you imagine the outcry among conservatives if a Democratic candidate for president or vice president harped on First Lady Laura Bush?

Like last year, Sarah Palin has had a big media push in the month of November. As is well known in the U.S., November is considered "sweeps month" when television stations go all out in putting on high-profile specials, interviews, or programs in which to increase viewership because the all-important ratings determine the ad rates for the next period. Its a silly ritual, because advertisers could have access to the ratings of television shows during non-sweeps month and demand lower rates. So, knowing this, of course Sarah Palin is going to boost viewers. She is a human train wreck that hasn't crashed yet.

This month, her TLC reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska debuted to strong numbers (the highest rated show on TLC) but in subsequent weeks has seen a significant drop, which indicates the curiosity factor was a big draw for the first show but that was it. After the curiosity was satisfied, people didn't see a reason to tune in each week for more of her family dramas.

Next came the controversy regarding her daughter Bristol Palin who has been dancing each week on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. When she made it to the final three to the shock of audiences everywhere, reports have emerged that the Palin cultists had swamped phonelines to vote early and often for Palin to win the show. As Bristol had reportedly told her mother: winning Dancing With the Stars would be "a huge middle finger" to everyone who does not like the Palin family. Damn, she inherited her mother's petty desire for revenge. You would think that she would want to win for herself, as a sense of accomplishment. That reveal is important, because it shows just what motivates this family. Its all for the sake of revenge against everyone who hasn't fallen under Palin's winking cult of personality.

When Bristol was not voted off, one viewer shot his television! Whoa, that's a little too obsessive there. You would think that a gun owner would just love the Palin family, since Sarah loves to shoot wolves from helicopters! I don't watch the show because I think its inappropriately named. They keep getting B or C list celebrities, which is scraping the barrel of mediocrity. The "stars" who are selected to learn how to Ballroom Dance should be making guest appearances on a new Love Boat series. Bristol Palin is about as annoying as Charo ("coochie coochie!"), who was a frequent guest on that cheesy 80s show about a cruise line. I don't consider Bristol Palin to be a "star." She's only famous because her mother is famous. Getting pregnant as an unwed teen and using that to gain esteem among evangelical Christian voters who are proud that she didn't get an abortion is not the stuff stars are made of. You know our country is in decline when we make celebrities out of the likes of Bristol Palin. To be fair, though, I don't think Mike "The Situation" is a "star" either. He's just some stupid meathead on a popular reality series. I did harbour a secret wish that he would impregnate Bristol...just to be the middle finger to the Palin family! Now that would have made for an excellent sweeps attention grabber!

I was pleased to hear that Jennifer Grey won this season's Dancing With the Stars. She seemed to be the emotional favourite because of her warm tribute to the late Patrick Swayze. Bristol had to settle for third place. On the same day as her fate was revealed, her mother's second book was released in bookstores, just in time for Black Friday. In the book, Palin claims to hold the vision of "the real America", which I find as a nightmare version that I want no part of. I love living in a multicultural, highly educated, diverse community. The pride of ignorance and being uneducated, while obsessive worship of the flag and military servicemembers is so foreign to my experience. There is nothing to be proud about in remaining ignorant. It means that you are easily manipulated by demagogues who know the truth and want you to be distracted and confused. No thanks. If Sarah wants to promote that in her book tour, she can be the Quitter Queen of their ignorant dreams for all I care. Palin and the teabaggers deserve one another.

All of this attention has the media elite wondering...will she or won't she? As in run for president in 2012. There is no logical sense why anyone in the media is daring her to make a run for it. Anyone with a triple digit IQ can see just how vapidly ignorant Sarah Palin is. It should be considered treason to encourage such an inexperienced ignoramus to run for political office. The fact remains: she quit her elected position in the middle of her first term. In the world of reason and logic, no person who quits after two years would be taken seriously in any industry if they indicated that they wanted to interview for the top position. Who would be dumb enough to hire such a flake?

I have my theory on why the media is practically egging her on to run in 2012. The 2008 election was truly the greatest election cycle in our lifetime. It was exciting and unprecedented. It sold a lot of newspapers and magazines. It generated bigger audiences for all of the debates. The crowds that showed up at rallies all across the country were larger than in previous years. Voter registration was up in many states. The electorate was electrified by the 2008 elections. With the standard GOP lineup of geriatric white men, the corporate media is actually bored by the prospect of more of the same in 2012. If Palin enters the race, many newspapers and magazines will be bought, interviews and debates will find larger audiences, and rallies will likely be large everywhere Palin goes. While she would certainly provide much entertainment if she throws her Prada bag into the race, I'm still hoping for the sake of her family and her own self that she opts not to run. Its hard to predict which way she will go. There's speculation on some blogs that Palin is a narcissist with a chip on her shoulder that her team lost to "the black man", thus she might harbour delusions of grandeur that she will be more successful without the old geezer on the ticket.

I read an article that appeared in the New Yorker magazine online about a truly scary prospect: Sarah Palin could become president if New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decides to make a third party run for the president (a la Ross Perot). He's a billionaire with a vast media empire (America's Silvio Berlusconi?). Since he is a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, who leads America's largest city, he has the possibility to drain votes away from Obama in the swing states, which could give Palin the numbers she needs to reach that critical 270 electoral votes. Bloomberg had thought of running in 2008, but I've read online speculation that the reason he did not run was because he did not want to deprive Barack Obama the chance to make history. He, like many others, saw the election of Obama as a good thing for the country. Now, though, if the unemployment crisis is not dealt with, voters might be looking for someone who has more experience than Obama brought to the office. I hope not, though. If Obama is going to be a one term president, I'd much rather see Mitt Romney as the Republican president, for another historical election (our first Mormon president). If by some fluke Sarah Palin ends up as our next president, all I can say is that option is completely unexceptable. Her fans seem incapable of understanding that we have already tried the experiment of putting an incurious, ignorant ideologue in the White House and it ended in disaster of epic proportions. How on earth could anyone think that putting an even more ignorant and incurious ideologue in office will succeed where the previous one failed? It defies logic.

Ironically, I agree with Barbara Bush, who said in an interview recently: "I hope Sarah Palin stays in Alaska." I concur. Its where the Quitter Queen belongs: her frozen queendom, standing eternal vigilence against the invading hoards of Russians sent by Vladimir Putin across the Bering Strait to bring communist death panels to America. Give the woman a pair of binoculars to watch for the invasion from her back porch and let the rest of America live without her mediocre mendacity.

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