Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Canada: "the descent of American politics"

The Ottawa Citizen

Palin didn't know her history, but she made it
By Andrew Cohen, Citizen Special

There is a moment in Game Change, the engaging film about the 2008 presidential campaign playing on HBO, when the prospect of Sarah Palin as vicepresident of the United States becomes too much to contemplate even for her acolytes.

On election night, a tearful Nicolle Wallace, who had quit as Palin's senior adviser, admits that she cannot abide an incompetent successor ("she didn't know why North and South Korea were different countries," Wallace reports) to a septuagenarian president. "I didn't vote," she says.

So Wallace abandons Palin. This happens to disciples in elections. Having travelled with fellow Democrat Adlai Stevenson in the presidential campaign of 1956, a disillusioned Robert Kennedy quietly voted for Dwight Eisenhower.

How did Senator John McCain pick an unknown, untested governor of Alaska as his running mate in 2008? Why did he make the most foolish choice in modern American political history?

McCain, who emerges in the film somewhere between saint and Solomon, was persuaded that he had to do something dramatic to beat a surging Barack Obama. He needed a game changer.

Instead of a deity, he finds a diva. Behold, Sarah Palin - untutored, incurious, vainglorious, and about as filling as M&Ms. But as much as she's scary here, she is pitiable: a hopeless if aggressive naïf flying on a wing and prayer.

While McCain and his strategists know that she's a risk, no one could fathom her talent for self-immolation. Fundamentally, she knows nothing and hasn't the humility to acknowledge it. When she does learn, among other things, that there were two World Wars in the 20th century and that Germany had something to do with both of them, she exclaims: "That's flipping awesome!"

Our Sarah is not only ahistorical, she is atonal. She inhabits her own dominion of self-delusion. A little success is dangerous for her; puffed up and jumped up, she goes rogue on McCain.

Here Game Change reminds us of the ignoramus she is. It makes you wonder, once again, what the saga of Sarah Palin says about the process that produced her.

For the rest of this piece, please go to this link:

No comments:

Post a Comment