Since 2008, when John McCain picked Sarah Palin in a blatantly political “game changing” move to be his vice-presidential running mate, she’s been the object of mockery and derision and scorn and revulsion for progressives. But as this recent Republican government shutdown, and the twin risk of a Republican-driven U.S. debt default, has clearly demonstrated, the personification of Sarah Palin as the voice and face of the anti-government, anarchist faction of the tea party remains sturdy.
Although it was our hope she had vanished for good, she’s not done with us yet, and the tea party, apparently, is not yet done with her. And that, my friends, is alarming indeed.
Many of us still remember Palin’s gut-wrenching, cringe-worthy RNC speech, her gratuitous potshots at President Obama, her derision of his professional background, the way she seemed to revel in her own lack of humanity, her lack of a moral center. Of all the things she has never understood, one thing stands out: That we, as progressives, as Obama supporters, never needed him to be as perfect as she needed him to be imperfect.
Lately, Palin found a hairline crack in the foundation of national politics, and slid back in, prancing onto the national stage alongside domestic terrorists such as Ted Cruz, scraping up what political capital she could while she predictably shunned responsibility, shamelessly selected a heroic group of veterans to align herself with, and predictably ginned up even greater animosity, among like-thinkers, toward President Obama. If she has one special gift, it’s her ability to focus with laser-like attention on emotionally charged issues, and co-opt them as her own.
Throughout the last couple of years of President Obama’s presidency, Palin largely evaporated from the national scene. Although still idolized by tea partiers, her grating style, irrational attacks on the President, Democrats, and liberals, unwillingness to adhere to truth or facts, and divisiveness ensured that a national political career was not part of “God’s plan” for her. Even Fox News, watching the world tilt in President Obama’s direction, earlier this year gave her the heave-ho. But lately, she’s yoked herself to the most strident extremists, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. She has, once again, been trotted out by the right wing media as the one person they can count on to consistently drive a lance through President Obama’s presidency while maintaining a callous disregard for truth or accuracy, the one person who has evidently not been humbled by failure and public humiliation, the one person who will water the seeds of bitterness and vitriol and racism with reckless disregard for the good of this country.
We, progressives, ignore people like Sarah Palin at our own peril. She, along with Cruz and Lee and Hannity and others, will seek to dismantle any healing we attempt in this country, will not be content with bi-partisanship or the concept of coming together as a nation. In her recent roll-out, Palin casually called our President a murderer, is seeking vengeance on the more sensible wing of the Republican Party who, in the end, voted to end the nonsense driven by the House tea party caucus, and is, once again, recklessly striving to create conflict and foment hatred.
“What emboldened our enemies,” Palin told Megyn Kelly recently, “And what empowered competitors was his [President Obama’s] promise to fundamentally transform America from being a solvent, free exceptional country into something that we’re not gonna recognize . . . then of course he, having left behind . . . our brave men in Benghazi to be murdered . . . and then . . . he, using our military .. . our military, our vets, shutting down their memorials and holding them hostage in terms of budget deals . . . .”
Palin’s blatant, reckless dishonesty regarding the facts of the Republican government shutdown, and her use of incendiary rhetoric, is predictable, yet no less shocking for its predictability. This recent battle reflected the willingness of some in the Republican Party to do the right and sensible thing, and they will pay a price from those, like Palin, who believe there are only two options – her way, or her other way.
Her re-emergence on the national stage is alarming, unnecessary, and harmful to any American values. Though hope springs eternal that her relevance is vastly diminished, we’ve seen what type of havoc the right-wing fringe can wreak. This country has no more room for radical, bitter, enemies to America, domestic terrorists who will stop at nothing to see this President (along with everyone in this country, if that’s the price) brought to his knees.