Monday, July 26, 2010

The Dragon Slayer

I like the title but as for the rest of it, this woman is simply off her tree - and just when you started thinking that maybe the truth is getting out there....


Bits I thought were interesting:
'I love Sarah Palin, I just LOVE her. She's bright, she's clever and she thinks like we do, she acts like we do and she lives like we do. She listens to the people, and she has a proven track record. She talks the talk and walks the walk and she'd make a wonderful president.'

'What's more, she's got good old common horse sense, as we call it round here,' chips in his white-haired neighbour. 'She tells it like it is. And she can shoot and skin a moose! Not many world leaders can do that.'

Indeed they can't. They can also only dream of the hysterical hero worship, extraordinary influence and fevered debate that - whether she's out shooting moose and catching wild salmon in her native Alaska, or updating her Twitter account with seemingly inane comments - 46-year-old Mrs Palin generates on a daily basis.
then this:

Goodness, I say. Very quietly and to myself.

Because while here in Sharon Mrs Palin is worshipped, outside America she is widely viewed as a figure of fun - the batty Alaskan ex-Governor who supposedly didn't know Africa was a continent, thought she could see Russia from her front lawn and whose tawdry domestic life is a cross between Desperate Housewives and Alaskan comedy Northern Exposure.
Named after the Boston Tea Party revolt of 1773, the Tea Party movement was established on April 19 last year - the day Americans have to file their tax returns (Tea stands for 'Taxed Enough Already').

It started out as a weird mish-mash of, among others, swine-flu sceptics, 9/11 'truthers' (or conspiracy theorists), evangelicals and 'birthers' (those convinced that Obama is a Muslim double agent born in Kenya), and was largely ridiculed by the media, the Democratic Party and even Right-wing Republicans.

She appears to know little about government, even less about international affairs and, like most Alaskans, refers to everywhere other than the 49th state as 'outside'.

But to millions of disenfranchised Republican Americans, she's a national heroine.

They don't care that it's not yet two years since her disastrous Vice Presidential campaign (she's widely blamed as one reason John McCain and the Republicans lost the 2008 election to Barack Obama).

Or that, when it was all over, instead of going back to Alaska and keeping her head down, she resigned her Governorship in a bizarre speech touching on God, dead fish, her special-needs baby and her desire to pursue a 'higher calling'. She has since become a media star and money-making machine.

In less than a year, she's made more than £10 million from her memoirs, Going Rogue, charges £70,000 per speech and has reportedly developed diva tendencies to go with it - insisting on first-class travel or private jet 'of at least the size of a Lear 60' and, inexplicably, insists on bendy straws for her bottled water.

None of which troubles the Tea Baggers at my next stop - a protest rally in the town of Forsyth, Illinois (Obama's home state).

'She's wonderful,' says Robert, 34. 'We'd far rather have someone who doesn't know much about Washington and the rest of the world and, like us, is just very normal.'

They certainly look pretty normal here. Genteel, almost. Organiser June Innis, 74 has a neat grey bob, very white teeth, cream slacks and a warm smile as she tells me that it's all about 'leaning on one another and standing up for God and for our country'.

Hazel Fennel is 78 and wearing a dress made out of the Stars and Stripes. She tells me that it's 'all about being right with the Lord', then adds: 'I hate Obama. He's ruining our country and he's wrong on immigration . . . we need to put them all back outside and let them try to get back in properly, build a big fence and put people on the border.

'He's a communist, a Marxist and he's trying to turn America into a Muslim country. He's a Muslim extremist, theatening our Christian values.'

And, wherever I go, that's the thing about Tea Baggers. They all start off sounding normal - extremely sympathetic even, worried about their life savings, rising taxes and the growth of what they see as the nanny state. But give them a few minutes and some of them go over to the dark side.

'Yes, she's made some goofs and errors,' says Jody Fronk, 46. 'But so what. We all make mistakes. That's what makes her one of us. And who cares if there's been a bit of scandal.'

A bit! It's hard to know where to start. There was the teenage pregnancy of her unmarried daughter Bristol and the latter's then boyfriend Levi; the burglary arrest of Palin's sister-in-law; the custody battle over Palin's grandson, Tripp.

And, most damaging, Levi's interview with Vanity Fair magazine in which he claimed Palin was a rubbish mother who never cooked, slobbed about in her pyjamas all afternoon, referred to her Down's syndrome baby as 'retarded' and, horror of horrors, doesn't actually know how to skin a moose.

Oh yes, and on top of all that was last week's shock announcement, in a gossip magazine, that after all the mud-slinging, Levi and Bristol are now to get married.
Sarah Palin is certainly an extraordinary woman with a zealous following. Granted, no one I met, when pressed, could pinpoint what she would do to get America out of its current mess.

But they were adamant she would succeed, on the basis that: 'If she can skin a moose and run a family and govern Alaska, she can do anything.'

Oh what the hell read the whole thing - it's amazing that Jane Fryer actually gets paid for this drivel and laziness - not to mention her intellectual dishonesty

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