Sunday, November 15, 2009

Palin's Propaganda Primp

Michiko Kakutani’s book review of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue is forceful past the point of disturbing. Not because she says anything bizarre or unfounded, but rather because she says what 70% of us already know:

“A CNN poll taken last month indicates that 7 out of 10 Americans now think Ms. Palin is not qualified to be president, and even as ardent a conservative as Charles Krauthammer lamented in September 2008 ‘the paucity of any Palin record or expressed conviction on the major issues of our time.’ ”

(“Memoir is Palin’s Payback to McCain Campaign,” NYT, Nov. 14)

However, things are much worse than run-of-the-mill political ignorance. The terrifying part is the 3 in 10 who think Palin is qualified to supervise nuclear missiles. These folks don’t care that she comes across as spiteful and petty (“Ms. Palin emerges ... as an eager player in the blame game, thoroughly ungrateful toward the McCain campaign”) or that she professes to have no advanced level of insight, experience or education pertaining to the management of an already sinking Empire.

In fact, it’s a weakness in Palin-world to stray beyond a standard deviation from the norm of know-how. In Going Rogue, Palin claims as her best qualification the fact that she is a mother (“There’s no better training ground for politics than motherhood”), and secondly that she is just a Joe Six-Pack like the horde of diploma-loathers, about 90 million strong, who stare at her with starry crusader eyes.

Yes, I fear that Palin’s appeal signals the corresponding ascent of Orwellian evangelical tactics. As Kakutani says, it is alarming how “expertise is discounted--or equated with elitism--in our increasingly democratized era, and just how thoroughly colorful personal narratives overshadow policy arguments and actual knowledge.”

Are you afraid yet? Has it not been pellucidly shown that a wolf in Coors-can clothing could soon come to power and whip up nationalistic furor? Palin’s stratagem is basic: maximize furor to gain the throne. Woe to any that get in her way, or who fail to worship her properly like McCain.

Why am I envisioning a huge bonfire with lots of books, artworks, and writhing witches in its hysterical flames?

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