Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Problem With Sarah Palin.

A week after Dave Letterman's truly tasteless joke about The Palin Family, it seems like poor Sarah just cannot stay away from a TV camera. Every time I turn around, here she is with that annoying nasal voice playing the damsel in distress role yet again.

The prevailing right wing angle on this seems to be that if the roles were reversed and Letterman had made jokes about the Obama kids, the media would be all over this one. While I can't necessarily dispute that argument, reality is the media is all over this one. It's been talked about on TV, radio, blogs, and even print media, ad nauseum.

There's one big problem in this whole "woe is me, I'm a victim" angle however. Well, actually two big problems.

1) No way in hell Letterman's writers intended to say that A-Rod knocked up Palin's 14 year old daughter Willow, Piper, Rainspout, or whatever the hell her name is. They simply saw Palin at the Yankees game with a kid and made assumptions. And to be honest, the 14 and 18 year old do look quite a bit alike. But statutory rape jokes? I just don't think even boneheaded latenight writers are that stoopid.

2) It certainly makes sense to say that kids shouldn't be picked on if they don't "put themselves out there". But when they do, they are fair game. We saw this will Chelsey Clinton last year, with Lynn Cheaney, with Alexandra Kerry, and with the Bush Twins. When you assume a public persona of your own, you do, in effect, become fair game. And yeah, Bristol Palin has assumed a public persona of her own. Did ya'll forget this?

Or this...

Or this...

Call me a wee bit crazy, but that sorta like looks like "putting yourself out there" to me. And when you put yourself out there (which the Obama kids haven't, and thus renders any comparison pointless), you are asking for such jokes. No jokes have been made about Tripp, the grandbaby, or the other kids. So why complain so vehemently about some lousy chatter regarding a non-minor who has been very active and vocal about advocating the very point (teen parenthood) that is being critiqued? I still think Letterman's joke was lazy and pointless, but out of bounds? Not really. This is par for the course, like it or not. I've heard far worse said about the Palin kids on Chelsey Lately, but apparently they don't get E! in Alaska.

And furthermore, we wouldn't even know what a "Bristol Palin" was, had her mother not put the whole family on shameless display repeatedly during last year's Presidential campaign. Having a daughter with a kid out of wedlock, a special needs child, and a son headed to Iraq were all presented as evidence of how Palin was "real", "authentic", and "just like Average everyday Americans". Why then, can you be upset when the very same element you tossed out there as an asset suddenly draws some critique? Can you have it both ways? I think not.

If I gotta be one hunned with ya'll, I think that the Palin Camp is using such an incident to continually cement the perception that she's a "threat to others, who must tear her down for fear of what she could do in 2012". That, of course is pure baloney. The real thing here is the perverse use of victimhood to endear yourself to a populace that feels more and more marginalized. There's a strong "we're losing our country" sentiment brewing out there, and Palin can easily capitalize on this if she simply continues to be seen as the "underdog". Painting yourself as a victim is an easy way to tap into this and I give Palin credit for knowing how to work the angles.

I just wish she'd knock it off before any remaining sympathy I have for her family is gone.

Question: Is Sarah Palin playing the victim role (again) for her own personal political gain, or is this the genuine concern of a mother for her wrongfully maligned child?

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