Leave Her AloneNovember 10th, 2008 © by Susan Swartz
Quit chasing after Sarah Palin. Let the woman go. I say this as part of the pack that resented her, ridiculed her and obsessed over her for two months.
For many of us there was much not to like about Sarah Palin. She shrugged off global warming and considered the Iraq war an act of God. She thought Alaska women should pay for their own rape kits. She hunted animals from a helicopter and leaned on a city librarian to test her loyalty.
On top of that the Republican Party tried to package her as a new style feminist and offer her as their default Hillary Clinton. Oh, no. Sarah Palin didn’t speak for Hillary Clinton. She didn’t speak for me. I didn’t want her making history on my behalf.
I was in Denver during the Democratic convention, staying with a friend, who like me had started off a Clinton supporter. We’d been saying that it would be smart if the Republicans named a woman as John McCain’s running mate. Maybe Olympia Snow, Kay Bailey Hutchison or Susan Collins. Someone with a name and credentials who could be a serious challenge.
That Friday morning my friend turned on the TV and called out, “He did it. It’s the one from Alaska with the pony tail.” No threat there, we laughed.
Seemingly overnight she became a rock star with her face on every magazine. Rush Limbaugh called her a babe. Even intelligent male pundits made dreamy comments about her. She didn’t snooker everybody. “She’s the girl in high school who got by with a short skirt and a wink to the fat old history professor,” said one of my friends.
Let the woman go.
As she whipped up her adoring crowds with dangerous, reckless accusations about Barack Obama, I declared her the new Queen of Mean and said she deserved every negative review. I played the game and lapped up every cutting remark made by Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow. Joined the Tina Fey fan club.
But then last Tuesday happened and she was no longer a worry. Had it turned out differently I would be sick to my stomach thinking of what might happen if John McCain slipped in his Jacuzzi. I feared Sarah Palin a whole lot more than I feared John McCain.
Now we discover that some anonymous McCain insiders did too, and the Republican brain trust has dropped her like a wet bath towel. Using her as scapegoat for losing the election, they began a turncoat attack that almost makes me feel sorry for her.
The Republicans anointed her, made her over, turned her into their hate-monger and forgot to give her a map of the world. When she didn’t deliver, they went after her with longer knives than the smug, eyebrow-cocking media that gloated every time she failed a trivia test. That same smirking media is back to rubbing their hands with glee.
Let her go. Get onto the important stuff. We’ve got our houses and jobs and two wars to deal with. And a president-elect setting a new model for behavior with his admonition on Tuesday night “to let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
In that spirit I’m willing to give up my hostility and forget the wink, the “say it ain’t so, Joe,” the “drill, baby, drill.” Give her one Valentino to wear with her Uggs and leave her to Alaska.
This commentary first appeared in the Santa Rosa (Ca.) Press Democrat in a “Close to Home” column.