It’s almost official: Sarah Palin is going to run for president.
Yesterday, I watched the highly anticipated debut episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” According to The Wall Street Journal, approximately 4.96 million people watched the show. It was the most watched debut program in TLC history.
Palin’s new reality show is already offering us glimpses into how she intends to conduct her presidential campaign. She is going to run as an Andrew Jackson style populist candidate, a down home “woman of the people,” against an unpopular Barack Obama, who is going to be cast in the role of John Quincy Adams, a cerebral out of touch Washington elitist, a closet Federalist who struck a “corrupt bargain” with Wall Street.
The Palin campaign will be based on an implicit form of White identity politics. She isn’t running on the basis of her experience as Governor of Alaska. She isn’t running as the champion of some public policy cause like the flat tax. Nor is Palin the favorite of the GOP establishment. The whole basis of her appeal is her identification with Red America.
Sarah Palin wants to be the first president of Red America.
Her television show is an eight hour campaign pitch to White voters in the Red States. It is so obviously telegraphed that it is almost indisputable: driving an RV up to Mt. McKinley, fishing for salmon with the kids while watching brown bears fight, landing on a glacier, mountain climbing. In upcoming episodes, Sarah of Alaska will be shown on television dog sledding, camping out, kayaking, and shooting rifles.
Think Dubya at the ranch on steroids.
In the promo for the show, Palin says, “I’d rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office” and “I’d rather be out here being free.” In other words, Palin is more comfortable in the outdoors than in the metropolitan areas where Barack Obama seems to thrive.
Palin’s children have unorthodox names like “Bristol,” “Piper,” “Track,” “Willow,” and “Trig.” There was a “McKinley” in the show who was also a Palin family member. The exaggerated whiteness here is on the same level of black women who give their children African ghetto names like La’Kisha, Mo’Nique, Latoya, and Da’Quonda.
The show is based on the way of life of Red America.
Blowing the Dog Whistle
The dog whistle is blown in “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” so hard to White voters that progressives are already freaking out about it. Salon has a new article called “The insidious message of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” that psychoanalyzes her every move.
This is worth quoting at length:
“And when in the first episode, she just happens to observe, “I love watchin’ these mama bears; they’ve got a nature humankind could learn from,” that has nothing at all to do with her own political action committee ad of earlier this year entitled — what was it again? — Mama Grizzlies. Sure, TLC, I believe you. Because I’m just that stupid. Likewise, when the Palin family triumphant built a fence to protect themselves from a journalist who’s “writing an ugly book” next door, it wasn’t just an issue of privacy; it was, as Sarah declared, “a good example of what we need to do to secure our border.” Palin 2012 — Keeping America safe from Joe McGinniss.
Palin, in fact, is shutting down access and asking for papers with the zeal of an Arizona border patrol agent in the show’s first episode. . . .
“I love watching these mama bears,” Palin tells the TLC camera. “They’ve got a nature, yeah, that humankind could learn from. She’s trying to show her cubs, ‘Nobody’s gonna do it for ya. You get out there and do it yourself, guys.'”
Translation: Stop relying on government.”
The first episode was loaded with hints and suggestions of public policy positions. The fence scene suggested that Palin will champion building the border fence and defending Arizona-style laws with federal court appointments.
She has a child with down syndrome to endear her to the anti-abortion crowd. Palin has been bellicose enough in her rhetoric to appeal to the warhawks. She has endeared herself to the small government, low tax constituency in the Tea Party. There is also the enticement to her candidacy of becoming “the first woman president” that could eliminate the traditional Democratic advantage with White women.
With such public visibility and widespread appeal to the various factions inside the Republican Party, I have a hard time imagining anyone beating Palin in a race for the presidential nomination.
Palin for President
It is too early to start talking about the 2012 presidential race. We don’t know who the candidates will be or their positions on issues like immigration. A few of the other likely major candidates are already making moves. Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal have new books out. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney make regular appearances on television. Haley Barbour, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Jim DeMint could possibly run. There is already talk in some kosher con quarters of drafting Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio running as the Republican version of Barack Obama.
A Jeb Bush presidential candidacy must be defeated at all costs. The last thing we need is a resurrection of the Bush dynasty. Similarly, Rubio and Jindal must be prevented from getting the nomination, or that will further the narrative that the GOP must sell out its White conservative base to remain viable.
There is nothing inspiring about Gingrich, Romney, Pawlenty, Barbour, Huckabee, or Santorum. Jim DeMint is loved in Tea Party circles, but he would face too much opposition in the primaries and he doesn’t have the charisma to become president. If Ron Paul has any plan to run again, I haven’t heard any buzz about it.
At this early date, Sarah Palin is the logical choice for the nomination. There isn’t a more polarizing figure on the national political stage. Something about Palin drives Blue America up the wall. She is easily the most despised figure among the political class in Washington.
At the same time, Red America loves Sarah Palin as a symbol and representative of White provincial life in the Heartland. They would lash out in anger at attacks upon their champion. A presidential race between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama would be the most divisive national election since Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams.
It would put White identity politics at the center of the national political conversation in a way that a showdown with other bland candidates like Mitt Romney would not. At the same time, the perception that Sarah Palin is running as the White candidate of Middle America would drive SWPL progressives to new hysterical heights of overreaction. It would draw out the most slanderous venom possible from non-White organizations like the NAACP and La Raza.
Elections are opportunities.
If Sarah Palin runs for president and wins the Republican nomination, the mainstream media will spend at least a year trashing and vilifying a cultural icon of Red America. If Palin manages to defeat Obama, they will spend at least five years doing it, and the resulting polarization will further damage and undermine their credibility with Whites in the Heartland.
Unless some other equally polarizing national figure emerges, the insidious whiteness of Sarah of the Provinces is our best shot at driving a hard wedge between Washington and Middle America.