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Simple Sarah

Well, she's done it again. Sarah Palin has thrown an endorsement into that Congressional race over in New York -- and she's rejected the Republican Party candidate in favor of the Conservative Party one.

And once again, everyone's poking at tea leaves and molesting goat innards in trying to figure out just what it all means, what Palin's really up to, what signal is she sending.


I figured out Palin a long time ago. And while understanding her doesn't always make her predictable, it does work fantastically well in hindsight.

All you have to do is listen to her.

For example, when she resigned as governor last summer, she cited the burden on her family and the unfairness to the state caused by all the bullshit ethics complaints against her. Well, let's look at how things stood when she stepped down.

At that point, she had run up about half a million dollars in legal bills, and pretty much every single complaint had been tossed. In other words, she had incurred debts equal to twice her family's net income and 40% of their net worth for absolutely nothing. And with the latest complaint going after her legal defense fund, it was shaping up to get more and more and more expensive, with no relief in sight. The agenda of her opponents was clear: to use Alaska's flawed ethics laws (the "flaw" being that no one foresaw a cabal filing an endless chain of worthless complaints purely to drive up the target's legal bills) to bankrupt her and her family.

So she took what she saw as the only solution: she resigned. And once she decided that, she saw no reason to drag matters out.

Now, in the case of New York, let's look at it in the simplest possible light. The race there is being treated as more and more important every day. There are three candidates -- a Democrat, a rather liberal Republican, and a suitably conservative Conservative. So Palin thought about it and decided that the Conservative could use all the help he could get -- so she threw him her backing.

So, what are the potential ulterior motives here for Palin?

Well, for one, should the Conservative win, he'll be viewed as immensely important -- and beholden to her. So that's a plus for her.

The Republican is quite cozy with the national Republican leadership, and she has little use for them. The national party cheerfully threw her to the wolves during her vice-presidential run, and a lot of the people are still kicking her. Giving them a good smacking around by helping beat their candidate with someone they can't stand could be quite satisfying.

And as noted, this race is getting a lot of attention. By involving herself in it, she's getting her name out there and keeping people thinking and talking about her.

But all those are incidental. They're frosting on the cake. The real reason is most likely the one she stated -- she thinks that the Conservative is the best candidate for the job.


In some ways, Sarah Palin reminds me of Tom Clancy's fictional hero, Jack Ryan. He ends up as president in the later books, and has a great deal of trouble getting a handle on how DC operates. There's one passage in "Executive Orders" where a top White House political operative and a very, very prominent journalist (think Karl Rove and Bob Woodward, kind of) are discussing Ryan's political failings -- and the dialogue sounds like it could be about Sarah Palin. (Well, if you occasionally switch the gender of some pronouns.)

"Every time I think I have him figured out, he swerves on me, and then I have to remind myself that he doesn't have an agenda."


"Sometimes I'm not sure what it is with him, you know?"

"A total outsider. "But --"

"Yeah, but. But he's being analyzed as though he's an insider with a hidden agenda, and they're playing the insider games as if they apply to him, but they don't."

"So the key to the guy is that there's nothing to figure out... son of a bitch."


"Nothing to figure out? Exactly. Like they say in golf, the hardest thing to do is to hit a straight ball, right? Everybody's looking for curves. There aren't any."

"So, what's the angle if there isn't an angle?"

That is precisely how you figure out Sarah Palin. She's precisely what she says she is, believes exactly what she says she believes, and does things for the reasons she says. She has no great craving for power -- she walked away from the governorship. She has no desire to remake the nation into some fundamentalist theocracy -- she's never tried to push her private beliefs into public policy. She's not some greedy kleptocrat or petty tyrant -- she took them on in Alaska, from within the GOP's own ranks, and shut them down.

She's precisely what she says, and what she appears to be: a 40-something wife and mother of five (and grandmother of one); fiercely devoted to her family, her faith, and her nation; of mediocre educational credentials but potent common sense; an indomitable will coupled with a healthy sense of pragmatism and decided lack of ego; a politician who entered and exited public service for the best reasons and with the best intent; and a force to be reckoned with in our political future.

Will she run for president? Should she? How well would she fare on the campaign trail, and in office?

Who knows? But I do know we could do worse.

Hell, I'd argue that we are already doing worse.


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Comments (41)

Yes, but I repeat: she (unf... (Below threshold)

Yes, but I repeat: she (unfairly) has been trashed and once trashed, no prospects beyond that of heroine to the rabid right.

As far as "mediocre educati... (Below threshold)

As far as "mediocre educational credentials" goes - I'm not seeing them as a bug but a feature. I'm looking at how the current crop of Columbia and Harvard folks are screwing things up - and it's clear their academic 'success' was unleavened with anything resembling real-world experience.

Theory is great when it comes to politics, but you'd better have actual practice and experience to fall back on when the theory and reality collide. Because reality ALWAYS beats theory.

And that's one of the things that always puzzled me about the hate directed towards Palin. "Oh, she was just a mayor and a state governer - nothing important like a community organizer!" Your Clancy excerpt hits it.

"So, what's the angle if there isn't an angle?"

Play it straight for a change, and see what it gets us. I for one am pretty tired of trying to figure out the angles and dangles of the Beltway buffoons - I think Palin could clean up a lot of the mess there that's been long overdue for removal.

Sarah has a "decided lack o... (Below threshold)

Sarah has a "decided lack of ego" in inverse proportion to the number of times per speech Sarah pauses to smell her upper lip.

Picture FDR, chin raised, but without the cigarette holder. That's Sarah's chosen iconography of herself.

One of the best summations ... (Below threshold)

One of the best summations of the Palin phenomina I've read. Great post and double thanks from Deeeeeeep South Texas where Democrats reign supreme but where some conservatives are building strength.

Nice writeup Jay.A... (Below threshold)

Nice writeup Jay.

After 4 years of witnessing the dems and Obama running this country into the ground, trying to transform it into some multi-cultural "paradise", moderate voters might well find Palins' common sense and love of country rather attractive.

Obama wants to transform the country. Obama and those behind him loathe it as it stands. The apologies never end, the lies never stop, the corruption never ends.

Without realizing it, they just might be creating the opening for someone like Palin. We can only hope.

bryanDShut up bush... (Below threshold)


Shut up bushDerangement! You are so funny when Your jealous!

Excellent summation. The r... (Below threshold)

Excellent summation. The reason so many people can't figure out what you have figured out (to simply listen to what she is saying) is that they are so used to hearing only lies and obfuscations. You know, typical politician-speak.

"All you have to do is list... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

"All you have to do is listen to her."
Sometimes that would be nice.
Some people develop a pre-conceived image of a person based on a political ideology. This has a tendency to shut down the auditory sensing system and can lead to neurotic behavior. Taken to an extreme this can lead to psychotic behavior as with the case of David Letterman.

And it would have also been nice if more people had been paying attention to what Obama was saying in his campaign. It works both ways.

"Yes, but I repeat: she ... (Below threshold)

"Yes, but I repeat: she (unfairly) has been trashed ..."

Yeah, and your never ending criticisms have been purely constructive and well meaning. Pffft.

"And it would have also bee... (Below threshold)

"And it would have also been nice if more "people had been paying attention to what Obama was saying in his campaign. It works both ways"

Yeah.. Just what the hell was He sayin anyways? Socialism for America?

"Taken to an extreme this can lead to psychotic behavior as with the case of David Letterman"

No, He just forgot the ankle bracelet was tracking His predatory ass.

It was funny how people wer... (Below threshold)
JustRuss IT1(SW) USN [retired]:

It was funny how people were saying that show "The American President" was supposedly trying to get people ready for Hillary even though the character in the show was extremely conservative in comparison.

I think it might be a better fit for our favorite Alaskan.

Don'tcha know?

Good take. Thompson(emerit... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

Good take. Thompson(emeritus) and Bachman made hay also. TPaw, not so much, Romney, goose egg.

"I do know we could do worse."

We seem to be waiting for the Great White(Male) hope to emerge from the shadows having, invisibly, made all the right moves, paid the endorsement bills, seized the op-ed zeitgeist, stabbed the bolsheviks with the viral meme, built the 'party', established foreign gravitas, etc.

Ohmygod! ITS CUDA! It was her all along!

"she (unfairly) has been trashed and once trashed, no prospects beyond that of heroine to the rabid right"

All you heroes belongs us. Satan go home.

Picture FDR, chin raised, b... (Below threshold)

Picture FDR, chin raised, but without the cigarette holder. That's Obama's chosen iconography of himself.

914 re: 10I hope I d... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

914 re: 10
I hope I did not mislead you into thinking Obama got a raw deal by people not listening to him. I think he benefited well and captured more votes because people did not listen to his "Socialism for America" rantings. If anyone had put a critical ear to him and analyzed what he said he would have not received the support he did.
Not listening worked well for Obama and is short changing Palin.
that Ob

Sarah Palin has appeal beca... (Below threshold)

Sarah Palin has appeal because she is one of "us." She represents the common person, that made good. She earned her jobs as mayor and govenor. They were not purchased by her husband or her father. She regularly fought her own party to pass legislation that was for the common Alaskan, not just special interest groups. Her common education is what the vast majority of americans have. We graduated from community colleges, state universites, etc that nobody really heard of. Many of us changed schools and majores because of realities of having to go where the scholoraships were, or the jobs were to get us through school. Palin represents Free America and fly-over country better than any other "republican" in the public eye.

bryanDShut up bushDe... (Below threshold)

Shut up bushDerangement! You are so funny when Your jealous!
6. Posted by 914

Riiight. Heads up: Cheney, Libby, Feith and Co. awarded each other statuettes for the machismo. The Right rightly winces.

Embarrassing Israeli spy sting this last week. Neocons swallow tongues.

George Bush tries to remember to forget and succeeds...in remembering...d'OH!

P.S. Health care reform bill to pass in November, as I predicted. Right wing opponents strive mightily to pretend they never drew no stinkin' lines in no stinkin' sand!


bryanD:Cheerio? Y... (Below threshold)
Texas Tom:


Cheerio? You have got to be kidding! No one outside their mommy's basement or Leftistan uses that kind of language when discussing the common man's ability to rise to a new level of self reliance and exceptionalism. You must be wondering if HC is ever passed why will the results you wish for never be realized.

(the key is in you top drawer...you can leave the basement any time you have the courage.)

I was one of two engineers ... (Below threshold)

I was one of two engineers hired at a computer firm. I graduated from a state college and the other engineer was from the elitest of the Ivy League.

Wow was that a revelation, as I took on all the work that she couldn't figure out how to do. She went to the Ivy League but they grade on a huge curve. She regularly got 37% or below on her tests, but passed her classes. She got the diploma, but I received a real education.

Sarah Palin got an actual education. I wouldn't hire an Ivy League grad to clean toilets.

Pffft and i... (Below threshold)


and in that I'm supposed to find a rebutatal to my claim that Palin is damaged goods and can not win a national election?

Palin is New Coke, victims of botched rollouts, and with a public perception so bad and engrained it doesn't matter how loudly their small band of loyal aficionados proclaim that they're really better than the junk being pushed on us.

And yes, I did like the taste of New Coke...

"...and in that I'm supp... (Below threshold)

"...and in that I'm supposed to find a rebutatal to my claim that Palin is damaged goods and can not win a national election?"

The rebuttal part (if you were willing to comprehend) is that your opinion about Palin is well known. One can't even mention her name without your unique and savvy criticisms of just about anything related to her. My point is that you've over saturated threads with your negative opinion of Palin. Every time you start in about her again all I can think is, "Oh crap, here he goes again." The mere mention of her sends you rifling through your brain for something critical to say. It's actually boring now. Hence: pffft.

s strum - "and in that ... (Below threshold)

s strum - "and in that I'm supposed to find a rebutatal to my claim that Palin is damaged goods and can not win a national election?"
Political history is not your strong suit.

Reagan, damaged goods, Nixon, damaged goods are but two of dozens thought to be politically dead.

But weren't

Picture FDR, chin raised... (Below threshold)
Mike G in Corvallis:

Picture FDR, chin raised, but without the cigarette holder. That's Sarah's chosen iconography of herself.

It's someone else's trademark pose, even more extreme and even more obnoxiously smug than Roosevelt's pose. Not a pretty picture at all.

The Palin damaged goods mem... (Below threshold)
Nicole Coulter:

The Palin damaged goods meme. Ok.

But what you fail to see is that she is ordinary America, and we are damaged goods too. We're damaged because we've been assaulted by a tyrannical federal government drunk on its own power, and ever willing to undermine, slander, and destroy its own citizens.

People now are seeing a natural alliance between Sarah and the Tea Parties.

But I'll take that a step farther... Sarah INSPIRED the Tea Parties. People saw how she was trashed. They saw how John McCain and other so-called Republicans lapped up the bailout hogwash.

Sarah is inseparable from the grassroots movement sweeping into power in the next two election cycles.

You may call us the rabid right ... I prefer to just call us the rabidly right.

"Not a pretty picture at al... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"Not a pretty picture at all."

Strongly reminiscent of Il Duce.

"Palin is New Coke, ...it d... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"Palin is New Coke, ...it doesn't matter how loudly their small band of loyal aficionados proclaim that they're...better than the junk being pushed on us."

Curious, an implicit admission that our political class is lacking but never a recommendation, only derogation of one particular person.

Effete if genuine perfectionism, like a deluded if devoted mommy(object of affection unknown), or(as a number propose) an obsessed troll?

Like the song Don Schlitz w... (Below threshold)

Like the song Don Schlitz wrote:

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.

Simple Sarah knows when to stand her ground and when to retreat and knows that it isn't in the cards she has been dealt but how to play them.

Makes her one extraordinary woman.

New Coke was invented in la... (Below threshold)
Nicole Coulter:

New Coke was invented in labratories by very smart people, and marketed by other smart people, probably quite a few with Ivy League degrees.

Old Coke was preferred by the vast majority of Americans.

RINO = New Coke
Sarah = Old Coke

"Cheerio? You have got to b... (Below threshold)

"Cheerio? You have got to be kidding! No one outside their mommy's"...Texas Tom

Oh, hell! I've paid for sex in 22 countries so shut the fudge up, "Texas".

"Exceptionally" yours, et cetra, et cetra

bryanD,So the only... (Below threshold)


So the only way you can get a woman to touch you is to pay for it.... After reading your insulting posts around here that doesn't surprise me at all.

Oh, hell! I've paid for ... (Below threshold)

Oh, hell! I've paid for sex in 22 countries.

Man, you sub yourself out to medical schools as a disease farm to show folks what not to do or what?

Kenny - maybe he left a "be... (Below threshold)

Kenny - maybe he left a "been" out somewhere - it makes more sense that way.

bryanD,#16 and lif... (Below threshold)


#16 and life to go...

Im not right wing Bryan. Im a conservative free soul with a few liberal twists. Nice try at labeling though.

Actually BryanyunP,<p... (Below threshold)

Actually BryanyunP,

Me and U and a dog named boo have a lot in common. We both dont support higher taxes. We both dont like rino's like the one in the oval office now. And we both love Sarah "gorgeous" Palin.

Im so glad We had this time together. Bonding is so important among bloggers~!

Oh, hell! I've paid for ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Oh, hell! I've paid for sex in 22 countries so shut the fudge up, "Texas".

That's about the only way anyone would sleep with you. Surprisingly, you would admit it.

I suppose you will give us a list of those 22 countries now...please, if "Thailand" is on there, just keep that info to yourself.

So the only way you can ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

So the only way you can get a woman to touch you is to pay for it...

Kenny, you shouldn't assume it is a woman...

"Oh, hell! I've paid for se... (Below threshold)

"Oh, hell! I've paid for sex in 22 countries so shut the fudge up, "Texas"."

Ive never paid for it even in this one Country.

What stinks in Thailand, stays in bryanD

Kenny, you shouldn't ass... (Below threshold)

Kenny, you shouldn't assume it is a woman...

Or even human, come to think of it...

Hey, the Japanese have a LOT of things that'd fit that bill!

"" .... a top White House p... (Below threshold)

"" .... a top White House political operative and a very, very prominent journalist (think Karl Rove and Bob Woodward ... ""

Bob Woodward is a "prominent 'journalist?'"


Right on.

As Michael Jackson is a prominent heterosexual and José Feliciano has a good eye for the ladies.

And Bill Gates', Henry Ford's, Winston Leonard Spencer Jerome Churchill's, Thomas Alva Edison's and Richard Branson's lack of academic "qualifications" condemned every one of them to a lifetime in the the dunce's chair.

--------------------... (Below threshold)

"I suppose you will give us a list of those 22 countries now...please, if "Thailand" is on there, just keep that info to yourself."
34. Posted by James Cloninger
Hey! I was talking Texan to Texas Tom!
The real answer is 7 that can be stretched to 10, i.e. Yugoslavia, 1978- Slovenia, Croatia, more recently, and West Germany, 1978, and Germany (east), Leipzig, Berlin, etc.

The others are Holland, Mexico, Okinawa, Philippines, S. Korea, Romania. Those are the cash sites.

I have connections in England, Scotland, Ulster, and Denmark. Iceland was a swinger republic, no introductions necessary, just show up at Reykjavik Square at midnight. Actually, the Brits require no connections, either. Very wild skinny girls who like to get wasted on whatever you got. An under-rated area for sure.

Thailand? Didn't like girls yet.

PS. I am not a slut!

Oyster, you ignorant ***. ... (Below threshold)

Oyster, you ignorant ***. I like Palin. I voted for her (in order, against Obama, for Palin, for McCain). But liking her and thinking that she has no future beyond heroine of the right wing are not mutually exclusive.

When a poll (accepting for the sake of argument that it is accurate) reports that 71% of the public has a negative opinion of her, that is way too high a hurdle to overcome. It's Quayle redux.

Steve, I hope that's not yo... (Below threshold)

Steve, I hope that's not your way of showing you "like" someone. I suppose then I might feel flattered that you've called me an "ignorant ***". (I thought the "***" would stand for slut, thinking that perhaps you're hearkening back to the old Saturday Night Live days. But then slut has four letters. So, please don't elaborate further. Allow me to continue to bask in the glow of your flattery.)

I gotta tell ya. The way you talk about her, "like" never entered my mind.

I think you might be wrong about her. While I'm one who thinks she's not ready to hold the reins, I think she has enormous potential.






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