Sarah Palin fascinates me as a person, personality type, and behavioral specimen. As a ‘psycvhological’ screen for a certain type of ‘main street’ resentment, she’s obvious ideally configured.
Sarah Palin’s ego and ambitions are breathtaking. People have told me: “Palin isn’t qualified to be President!” My reply: “It’s a popularity contest.” A lingering question would be: what kind of brain trust would she put together? How would she be manipulated? What kind of wreckage would be realized given her modest mental talents?
But Palin is not much like Eva Peron. The point of comparison is presumably Peron’s magical hold on her public. But Eva Peron was altogether a more complicated character. Palin obviously isn’t a creature of left populism as was Peron, even if Peron married into something much darker.
“This is not rocket science. We’re talkin’ about going back to the basics of America.”
Of course, the documentarian has the ability to shoot a lot of film, select the most appalling clips, and assemble the horror show above. Similar takes were produced during last year’s campaign to highlight the lack of thoughtfulness of some Obama supporters.
On the other hand, Palin’s core constituency, it would seem, is: the ignorant. Point me in the direction of thoughtfully articulated belief in her capabilities, and I’ll come back tail between my legs.
Among several elements which pop up for me is how Palin seems clueless about both being overmatched, and, about her not getting to specify the terms and context for her encounters with the media. Her reflections to Bill O’Reilly about her being annoyed by Katie Couric, are close to being the most psychologically revealing video of a politician since the time when Dubya froze when asked if ‘there was one mistake he most regretted.’
Yet, just because Palin’s own ‘theory of mind’ is—evidently—completely reflexive, (because she believes everyone is but her foil,) this plugs directly into the circuit of populist paranoia about a pointy-headed elite conspiring to “strip away their freedoms.” So: Palin herself gets to carry that collective projection forward and battle against the dark forces arrayed against so-called real Americans. She’s in way over her head, but that’s an advantage right now in the current, paranoid-delusional environment.
Never mind that Sarah Palin has obtained her own elite status in the scheme of Alaska success stories and is busily working to be a millionaire. Her main street bona fides are modest but her iconic stickiness lives large. In a way, Palin is a celebrity genre unto-herself.
As it is for other celebrated public figure and pundits, I wonder whether, in fact, he or she actually believes their own bullsh*t. Does Glenn Beck really read American history closely? This same reading engenders grandiose delusions such as his “100 Year Plan” to “re-found America.” Likewise, does Palin really think that her restoration of messianic Reaganism will in turn restore real American’s freedoms? In both cases, it could be said that it doesn’t work that way—since it hasn’t worked this way in the past.
Meanwhile, the Republicans once again get to flesh out the imago of a victimized main street, and mount the resentments of a white anti-elite, anti-intellectual, populace gasping for air. Their propositions are incoherent, but it hardly matters because it’s simple work to feed the embittered with talk of their loss of freedoms, the spectre of incipient socialism, and the rise of the personally irresponsible, (i.e. immigrants and minorities.)
It should go without saying that this is only the gambit of the Republican political elite when they’re out of power. Once they come back in power they morph back into Tories, social Darwinists, and go onto to laugh all the way to the bank. Reagan, Bush I, Bush II., didn’t deliver squat to their sacred silent majority. You can look it up.
I try to imagine the most cynical and dangerous Republican ticket in 2012. Easy: Palin/Petreaus. Still, the deranged possibilities are hilarious.