Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

"Who is responsible for Sarah Palin?"

I took a circuitous route that led me to a bit with the same title.  I started to write a comment in the latest open thread but it got to be really long so I decided to do a diary.  


If you want to know the answer, look below.  (Not down; unless you’re her mother or father the answer isn’t in your lap.)

The post by fellow Alaskan Andrew Halco is quite introspective:

Who is responsible for Sarah Palin?

It begins thusly:

January 27, 2011: Sarah Palin has a problem. With just months to go before the GOP field for the 2012 presidential race starts filling up like shoppers queuing for a Wal-Mart black Friday sale, polls show that she is the most intensely disliked politician in America.

The article goes on to mention why that might be so: the intense media focus and Sarah.  But the real issue, according to Halco, lies with the Alaska voters:

From her time as Mayor of Wasilla to her run for governor in 2006, Palin’s message on the issues of the day never had to mature. She was never forced to compete for votes on a knowledge based field, instead using her charisma while tapping into the public’s distrust and dissatisfaction with government. Everything was a soundbite, intended to give voters an easy way out without having to think.

In April of 2006, the morning after a debate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Palin and I were sharing a cup of coffee at the Captain Cook. “I hear you spout off facts and figures with no notes and I’m just amazed, but then I look out over the audience and I wonder if it really makes a difference”, she said to me.

An example:

During an August 2006 candidates forum, opponent John Binkley asked Palin what her vision was for the University of Alaska. For the next forty five seconds Palin prattled on about travelling Alaska, talking to Alaskans. “I’ve been travelling the state in a Jetta, not a jet (an obvious swipe at former Governor Murkowski’s ill-fated jet) and they understand the importance of education.”

I seem to recall that she didn’t want to answer Gwen Ifill’s questions, either, during the VP debate because she wanted to talk directly to the people about what mattered to them.  I am pretty sure most of us knew that Sarah knew she couldn’t actually give a good answer to most questions.  So, why not go her own way; she apparently was successful in the past.

But she was popular, largely I understand due to checks each Alaskan received from oil revenue, so she could use that popularity to push through important legislation (or not):

Her stratospheric approval from the public gave her the power necessary to pass her gas pipeline plan (AGIA) and to raise oil company taxes (ACES) to some of the highest marginal tax rates in the world. The public never questioned the significance or the risk, only taking Palin’s word. In one online poll, roughly sixty percent of respondents felt Palin’s plan would deliver Alaskans a gas pipeline.

Today, three years after the passage of both pieces of legislation, there is widespread recognition that the only two pieces of Palin’s legacy are failures. Headlines scream about lost investment due to high taxes and a failed pipeline plan while the state is on the hook for almost $500 million. The new governor and legislative leaders are talking out loud about abandoning both policies to protect Alaska’s economic future.

So can she repair the damage she’s done to her image?  Doesn’t look like it:

Palin’s problem is she has fallen too far too fast and judging from history, a mid-course correction is highly unlikely. If Palin were to succeed in repairing her high negatives she must immediately begin to temper her tone and offer more substance than an occasional tweet or two blaming Obama for high gas prices.

She must take into account she is marketing herself to many different audiences and one size, or in this case one screed, does not fit all.

These segments include Republican base voters who will be a big factor in next years primaries; independent and moderate voters who will vote in next year’s general election and the news media itself which will continue to scrutinize, dissect and parse her words in different ways and in greater volumes, all with their own twist and interpretation.

We have seen that she cannot, or doesn’t think she has to, change.  Her comments after the Tucson shootings show that clearly.  Now she’s given us a “spudnut” moment ~ I watched her interview with Greta with the sound off so I didn’t realize what that was about.  Having since read the transcription her “spudnut” moment is a bigger WTF? moment than she claims the President’s “Sputnik” moment was.  By the way, Sarah has posted a Facebook response to the SOTU.  I’m surprised the media hasn’t commented, although I guess the on-air interview is better “news.”

Note to Sarah as well ~ middle-aged women (I’m one so I know what I’m talking about) should not use WTF? in public … ever.  Seriously.  OMG!



  1. Kysen

    but, the underlying culprit….is IGNORANCE. There is a disturbing ‘Cult of Ignorance’ that has been fighting a battle against knowledge…against intelligence…for several years now. A club with a quickly growing membership in which higher education and critical thought are things worthy of derision. It is like an Anti-Enlightenment movement….better to be an ignorant dullard cleaving to the ways of yesteryear than to exercise one’s higher faculties and work towards a better tomorrow.

    And the spokeswomEn of this movement are Palin and Bachmann. It is a bloody shame that, arguably, the two most prominent women on TODAY’s political scene (Hillary and Pelosi have been not near as visible of late), are such a bloody disgrace to their gender. I can’t help but be amazed that even Republican women are not horrified at being represented by such dullards.

    So, while I am sure there are many to ‘blame’ for her meteoric rise….the foundation of it is ignorance, pure and simple. Think about how ignorant your ‘average’ American is…then stop to realize that half are more ignorant than that. Sad. Scary.

    BTW, WTF, Happy? IIRC, URnt m1ddL3 4g3d…IMO, U iz a y0ung w0m4n y3t.

    On second thought…yeah, maybe not the best way to present yourself in public no matter WHAT your age.  😉

  2. HappyinVT

    If you watch with the sound off you’ll only lose half the brain power you would with the sound up.  And, she looks really mad; the president seems to have irritated her more than usual.  Finally, someone needs to tell Greta to lay off the botox ~ the only things moving on her face are her lips and her eyeballs.  That ain’t natural.

  3. spacemanspiff

    …. an NBA basketball (suck it nerds) game while they were live.

    When asked what he thought of Sara Palin he said:

    She’s great masturbation material.

  4. jsfox

    I started my working life on Madison Ave. as a copywriter ( don’t even say it )

    and very early on I was told to write as though 90% of the US is functionally illiterate. I laughed and said yeah right. Then I started to go to focus groups around the country and  . . . the functionally illiterate part was incorrect the ignorance part not so much.

    Today it has only gotten worse when you would think the trend should be in the other direction. And even worse there are folks that on the whole are smart, bright and capable, but  . . . intellectually lazy.

    And I think Kysen has a point there seems to be some intellectual backlash going on and I am not sure what is causing it. The numbers aren’t huge give or take 25% of the population, but they are noisy.

    One does wonder if it is the beginning of the death throes of an empire

  5. spacemanspiff

    … by calling Michelle Bachman an airhead.

    ^^^^^^^ never thought I’d write a sentence like this. lol! Carry on.

  6. Shaun Appleby

    A generation of reality TV producers.  Sarah is what you get when you do the political equivalent of “America’s Next Top Model.”  Serves us right.

    And as for establishment Republicans, I’ll bet they wish the Alaska cruise ship which originally took Kristol and his neoconservative illuminati up to meet her had struck an iceberg instead.  She is the unguided ballistic missile experiment which targets the command bunker.

  7. spacemanspiff

    Bold mine.

    “I think the government will fall. I’m really hopeful. All these rumours that Mubarak’s son, Gamal, has fled and that Mubarak himself has packed his bag.”

    The presence of so many women had initially helped moderate the violence. Groups of women chanted “Peaceful! Peaceful!” and seized rocks and stones from the young men.

    By the day’s end it seemed that all of Egypt had come to join them.

    Watch and learn Palin.

  8. Rashaverak

    Glenn Beck: “Who’s your favorite Founder?”

    Sarah Palin: “You know, well, all of them, because they came collectively

    together with so much–”

    Glenn Beck: “Bullcrap. Who’s your favorite?”

    Sarah Palin: “–so much diverse and so much diversity in terms of belief, but

    collectively they came together — and they were led by, of course George

    Washington, so he’s got to rise to the top.”

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