Okay, we’re not actually friends. She doesn’t have a profile. But I am “a fan” of Sarah Palin’s on Facebook which is the famous-person version of being their friend. I am a fan of many political figures as I think it’s an interesting way to see how well they grasp this new landscape of communication. But except for El Presidente, she is the most potent force in politics and my car crash curiosity won’t allow me to drive by without a closer look. I read her posts and the comments from her supporters. She knows how to mix it up.
Take her recent posting of a map of vulnerable Democratic districts in the upcoming elections, highlighting them with rifle crosshairs and saying, “We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington.” Of course HuffingtonPost et al whirred into action condemning the gunslinger language, accusing her of stirring dangerous pots, etcetera, etcetera. Everyone was reminded of the term “politically correct” and the usual people had the usual reactions.
Then she posted again, using that same language to innocently encourage the teams remaining in the NCAA Final Four. (Her emphasis, not mine) “To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics.”
According to the thousand-plus comments that followed the post, this was a very very clever rebuttal to the liberal media’s unfair smear on her initial rifle-based voting pleas. Mixed in with these sentiments were rebel rousing echoes, statements of unmitigated adoration, slight consternation with her endorsement of “RINO McCain,” the rare dissenting wiseass and of course, on-bended-knee pleas for her to Run, Sarah, Run in 2012…like…lots of pleas. She has 1.5M fans just on Facebook. Not bad, if you consider McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and The Republican Party don’t have that number, combined. If I was to do an informal enthusiasm poll based on usage of caps, exclamation points and the word “GO,” I’d say she has an extremely motivated support group…if you didn’t know already.
So this got me thinking…does she really have a chance to become President? Like really. Then 0.23 seconds passed and I remembered how American elections work. Every one of her rebel rousing comments would be rehashed for middle of the road voters and they’d walk away. She’d be intricately linked with the Tea Parties and their, um, points of view. All those that have tuned out of politics will be reminded of her Katie Couric interviews and that she dropped the governorship of Alaska like a hot cup of coffee…none of these indicates a resume that will draw the better part of America at the voting booth. Too much baggage.
So what the heck is going on? Why is she everywhere? She has a certain political capital but anyone who’s honest will say she doesn’t have a shot in hell at the White House. Where is the motivation to keep her on this high of a Presidential-hopeful pedestal? I understand keeping her as tool to fire up the deep base but most of the staunch reasonable conservatives won’t go near her in 2012. Where is this faux-mentum (if you will) coming from? Keeping her in the spotlight is not in the best interest of the Republican Party. They need to start showcasing their horses for 2012 and she isn’t in the stable. So how do we “follow the money” as it were?
Then I looked at her Facebook profile picture, her lasting image, the picture all 1.5M fans use to identify her.
Riiight. Now it makes sense. We’re watching the greatest publicity tour of all time. Her book is published by Harper Collins. Harper Collins is owned by News Corp. News Corp owns a little outlet called Fox News. Fox News already has her on as a “guest analyst” now and again. Here’s to her and Huckabee becoming the Cable Conan/Leno in a few years. Now 1.5 million Facebook fans look less like a voting base and more like a customer base.
So to guess how this plays out…her millions of diehards will continue to flock, throwing flowers at her feet as she continues her rabid speaking engagements (for a fee). She’ll get out the vote and sway a few elections in November. Then another book comes out; something having to do with her views on the current struggles of America, the problems with big government and our fight against socialism, proving, once and for all, that she’s thoughtful and smart and the Couric interviews were just a bad day and she needs to be President. And it will skyrocket up the charts like Going Rogue. Pieces of Liberal America will shake their fists; Pieces of Conservative America will pump their fists. The rest of us won’t care. Call this book, Reloading America.
Then we’re into the Republican primaries. She will, of course, run. She will, of course, lose. To whom…no idea. My early money is that the nominee is not a current household name. Whoever it is, I hope he/she is always the smartest person in the room. (Mayyyyybe, maybe she gets the nomination and plays Barry Goldwater 2.0. Mayyyyyyybe.)
And then we get a third book, about how hard she tried to shape the country, her struggles against a pervasive socialist mindset, her struggles against chauvinism, her struggles against the liberal media, how to take back the country and how she won’t stop her fight; she gave it a good run but it’s time for her to focus on being the voice of Joe the Plummer against the liberal media that sabotaged her campaign…again! Call this one, Sarah Says.
End politics. Begin Oprahtics.
She has no intention of being President. She has the intention of wanting everyone to think she has the intention to be President. Read her resume again. The Tea Party support and quitting on the governorship of Alaska is too large of a red flag for swing voters. That, with the gun toting theatrics, will not draw 270 Electoral College votes. She could win a state or two but that’s it. And she knows this. The upper echelons of the Republican Party know this. And of course, News Corp knows this. They’re just milking that golden cow for all it’s worth, baby.
Now that I’m done playing Bob Woodward, I can say that I like the new lens with which I see my Facebook fan page. A grain of salt is involved with the implications though. I don’t know how to feel about the 1.5 million fans that are sure she has their best intentions at heart, that she speaks for them, that she is the true conservative savior this country needs. I guess I feel bad. Though I guess that’s what elections are for…along with book deals and advertising revenue.
Follow Caleb at www.twitter.com/calebgarling
Caleb Garling lives in San Francisco and wrote The St George’s Angling Club, available at