Why Is Sarah Palin Running against Barack Obama?

In her September 17 New York Times column, Maureen Dowd quotes a Wasilla “Wal-Mart mom” who said that Obama “gives [her] the creeps” – he “seems snotty and he looks weaselly”, whereas Sarah Palin is “down home”.

This is exactly why the Republicans are once again asserting the politics of identity—in which wealthy candidates pose as down-home types (clearing brush, shooting moose), thus inducing ordinary people to feel comfortable with them. 

There’s another reason, of course, that people feel comfortable with Sarah Palin, just as they did with George Bush: she knows nothing about foreign or domestic policy, her morals are rigid and hypocritical (see previous post) and her views on everything from the economy to global warming range from simplistic to no-nothing.

In America these days the following are suspect: sophistication, intelligence applied to anything beyond making money, knowledge of the world across the oceans or south of the border, and liberal views. All are still equated at best with elitism and snobbery and at worst with socialism and—still! Communism.

What else can we expect from a country that values its football teams more highly than the quality of its educational system?

Democrats who can’t understand how people can so easily be induced to vote against their own self-interest should consider the fact that the politics of identity is based on identification. Not just with the down-home part, but also with the wealth.

After all, the American Dream guarantees that everyone can get rich quick. So the fact that Sarah Palin and George Bush are wealthy is as big a part of their allure as their folksiness, fake as that may be. (You can bet Sarah Palin, celebrated mother of 5, doesn’t spend a lot of time on the child-care chores that occupy mothers who can’t afford staff.)

That’s why Palin has replaced John McCain as the Republican Presidential-ticket draw. He’s pallid by comparison. Not particularly folksy, although undeniably wealthy. And he’s old!

Ignorance is bliss. And we all have a chance to win the lottery. (One in how many million?)


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One Response to “Why Is Sarah Palin Running against Barack Obama?”

  1. Charles Ruas Says:

    Dear Signe,
    I enjoyed your blog site immensely. Keep up the good work. The Democrats should get you and Jerry to write their campaign ads. I see that finally they got Macain’s campaign advisors and identified the special interest for which they served as lobbyist.
    See you at the WR.

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