“Her agenda was not necessarily to show me in the best light.”
— Sarah Palin to Oprah Winfrey, complaining about Katie Couric’s 2008 interview that revealed her to be an uninformed pageant sash, as quoted at NBC’s Today Show website, Nov. 16, 2009.
As this quote shows, Sarah Palin still has no idea what the role of the news media is in a Jeffersonian democracy, apparently believing that reporters should have the ‘agenda’ of lobbing affable Wiffle balls that make her look good rather than exposing a candidate’s fitness for office. That she was so vexed by Couric’s mild inquiries asking her what she reads, for instance, becoming in Palin’s mind a ‘gotcha’ question without parallel and then whining to Oprah that she had just been ‘pumped up’ by walking a rope line of enthusiastic followers only to encounter the bummerooski of Katie the ‘Perky One’ with microphone and camera ready to pounce on her with school-test interrogations suited to a spiteful teacher well, it was just too much to bear!
This, then, is the Beauty Pageant Contestant (BPC) view of the world; you memorize certain attractive-sounding answers, such as advocating world peace or groceries for the hungry, and it’s not fair of the judges to delve into what particular set of policies you would promote to achieve those goals. Isn’t it enough that you have shown yourself to be a really good caring ‘people person’ by just desiring such cures for the world’s ills?
In the same way, Palin thought it was sufficient that she merely presented herself as informed on a daily basis by newspapers and magazines without actually having to bother to learn some by name or talk knowledgeably about their contents. Isn’t it enough that she said she reads all that intellectual stuff, for Pete’s sake? Hey, Real America doesn’t care they’re too busy shooting wolves from circling Cessnas.
She showed a similar BPC understanding of the law in the campaign of 2008 when she failed to come up with any Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade that entered her memory but, then, come on — a real leader can always call on her staff to review such inane details for her, as befits a princess with a yen for higher office, such as Ms. Vice President of America.
As for calling Couric ‘The Perky One’ the giddy Sarah often gives irony a hernia from too much stress, but this was an entry worthy of an Olympic record.
The late Kurt Vonnegut would have heartily appreciated the alternately peevishly snippy and wholesome Hockey-Mom vacuity of Sarah Palin. The Tattler can picture him with his kindly grin, the world-weary eyes twinkling in satirical amusement, a Pall Mall with a droopy ash poised in mid-air, observing one of his more incongruous characters come to life and dominating the American political landscape always slightly absurd, now keeled over into open farce — promulgated by a national news media that is no longer paid to tell the difference.
For incongruity is the Barracuda’s calling card she supports the infallible efficacy of sexual abstinence for teens while her own 16-year-old daughter swells in unwed pregnancy; she bleats about clean government while papering over her own administration’s manifold corruptions; she assaults small-minded cruelty while delivering velvet-gloved blows to those who dare criticize her; she talks of lofty Christian ideals while she’s perpetually immersed in petty paybacks; she decries government bailouts while the citizens of her home state accept nearly twice as much in federal money than they pay in taxes; she insinuates darkly of the evils of socialism and nationalization while Alaska annually divides its energy wealth equally among its inhabitants; she natters on about responsibility while refusing to own up to her own mistakes; she deplores politicians abusing their power while she used her office to settle personal scores; she hails freedom while sentencing other members of her gender to do without it; she supports the troops while wanting to prolong their agony in lost wars; she respects tough people who stay in the race, and then quits halfway through her stint as Alaska’s governor when either her ambition or her malfeasance, or both, catch up with her. Most of all, she admires honesty while practicing its opposite, either the result of intentional deception or the BPC’s natural tendency to slap sweet frosting on the ugly realities of human existence, especially when those realities are embedded in one’s own character.