July 6, 2009

And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride


Alex Goldschmidt, Man and His Paper, 2009


* New York Times. excerpt:

"Had she refused John McCain, Palin would still be a popular female governor in a Republican Party starved for future stars. Her scandals would be the stuff of local politics, her daughter’s pregnancy a minor story in the Lower 48, her son Trig’s parentage a nonissue even for conspiracy theorists. There would still be plenty of time to ease into the national spotlight, to bone up on the issues, and to craft a persona more appealing than the Mrs. Spiro Agnew role the McCain campaign assigned to her.

"Most important, nobody would have realized yet how much she looks like Tina Fey.

"But she said yes. It wasn’t the right thing to do, in hindsight, but it was certainly the human thing. She was coming off a charmed rise through statewide politics. John McCain was offering her a spot on a national ticket. It was the chance of a lifetime.

"And now, seemingly, it’s over. Oh, maybe not forever: she’s only 45, young enough (and, yes, talented enough) to have a second act. But last Friday’s bizarre, rambling resignation speech should take her off the political map for the duration of the Obama era.

"One hopes that was intentional. A Sarah Palin who stepped down for the sake of her family and her media-swarmed state deserves sympathy even from the millions of Americans who despise her. A Sarah Palin who resigned in the delusional belief that it would give her a better shot at the presidency in 2012 warrants no such kindness.

"Either way, though, her 10 months on the national stage have been a dispiriting period for American democracy.

"If Palin were exactly what her critics believe she is — the distillation of every right-wing pathology, from anti-intellectualism to apocalyptic Christianity — then she wouldn’t be a terribly interesting figure. But this caricature has always missed the point of the Alaska governor’s appeal — one that extends well outside the Republican Party’s shrinking base.

"In a recent Pew poll, 44 percent of Americans regarded Palin unfavorably. But slightly more had a favorable impression of her. That number included 46 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Americans without a college education.

"That last statistic is a crucial one. Palin’s popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. In this sense, she really is the perfect foil for Barack Obama. Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

"This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman."
...
"Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

"But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it."

* Rubik's Cube used to recreate the Abbey Road and London's Calling record covers.

* "I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." -- Gilda Radner

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