Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category

Zippers, purses and politics

July 14, 2009

By David Farside

There is a lot of talk and speculation concerning Sarah Palin’s recent announcement to resign as Alaska’s governor. Levi Johnson, who was engaged to Palin’s daughter, Bristol, and also lived with the Palin family for about a month, claims she is resigning because of her personal finances. During that time, he said he overheard the governor talk about the lucrative opportunities being offered to her, including her own television talk show.

And Johnson may be right. Palin says she still owes $500,000 in attorney fees. She claims there have been 18 political or personally motivated frivolous ethics complaints filed against her since she joined John McCain on the Republican presidential ticket. But her financial woes should soon be over. She just signed on with Harper Collins to publish a book about her life. As governor of Alaska, she earns $125,000 annually. The new publication is estimated to make her more than $4 million. Her entrance on the stage of entertainment could boost her annual income to $15 million.

Harper Collins is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox TV network. So you can look forward to seeing the ultra-right conservative Republican “hawk the book” on her new TV show. It looks like she may find a niche for her celebrity and make a fortune.

Although you may not agree with her lifestyle, one-liners, personal opinions or politics, you have to give her some respect. She raised the political bar for women and who knows? She could someday become president of the United States. If George W. Bush got elected twice, anything can happen.

She entered politics in 1996 and served on the Wasilla City Council for 10 years, six of which she governed the city as mayor. In 2006, she was elected governor and was the first female governor of Alaska. She was also the youngest.

She demonstrated her self-confidence, family values, political skills and intelligence when she debated the then Sen. Joe Biden in the vice presidential debate. Did I agree with her on most of the issues? No. Did she impress me with her poise and fearless challenges to Biden on worldwide television? Yes.

From the very beginning of her candidacy for vice president, she has been ridiculed, laughed at and made fun of. In its comedic satire of Palin, Saturday Night Live almost went beyond the paradigms of humor and challenged the legal description of defamation of character.

Cartoonists published unflattering caricatures of Palin. Her elk-hunting trips with her father were the most popular and demeaning. Too bad she wasn‘t running on the ticket with Teddy Roosevelt back in 1902.

Roosevelt was hunting bear in Mississippi and refused to shoot the critter because, being a true sportsman, it was too easy to kill. A few days later, the Washington Post featured a flattering Clifford Berryman cartoon of Roosevelt and the bear. The bear became known as Teddy’s bear and the rest is history.

Last week, syndicated columnist Richard Coheen criticized Palin for using parsed words when she announced her resignation as governor. When dealing with the press, intelligent celebrities and politicians should parse their words. Bush should have taken his foot out of his mouth and analyzed his unparsed words when he pronounced the war was over in Iraq and declared a United States victory.

Coheen also wrote that Palin is unfit for public office, stating she is “a ditz” and was useless on the McCain ticket. How chauvinistic. She wasn’t anymore of what he calls a ditz than her Republican male counterparts seeking the position.

McCain, if elected, would have been the oldest candidate to win the White House. Palin brought a new face to national politics. She generated controversy, debate and a new focus on the Republican party and probably earned McCain more votes in the long run.

The balance and compromise between the polemics of political debate can only be achieved by intelligent representation of extremes. Palin, among other things, is an extreme right-wing anti-abortionist. You know exactly where she stands on the issues and she carries the Republican banner with pride, dignity and truthfulness. She is articulate and, as governor of Alaska, has demonstrated she can negotiate. What more can a supporter or a worthy adversary ask for?

With all the infidelity in politics, I don‘t see any women claiming they are having sex with their next-door neighbor. Yet Palin is facing more criticism for resigning as governor and going on with her life than male politicians who can’t control the remote on their zippers.

Again, do I agree with Palin’s politics? No. But I do admire her honesty, beliefs and passion for her faith. And I do respect her eagerness and capability to create more honest and meaningful debates on critical issues.

Sarah Palin will continue to be the target for ridicule and character assassination. But she will also inspire other women to reach for the highest office in the land, replacing the male zippers of infidelity in politics with their feminine purse of honesty, devotion and faithfulness.