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Who Betcha? The Sociology of Sarah Palin

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SARAH PALIN THUMBS UP
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Sarah Palin has called for President Obama's impeachment. "Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president," Palin wrote on a politically conservative website. "His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, 'No mas.'" To which my reply is, "Battered wives speak Spanish?"

Personally, I would hope a woman would leave her husband after the first assault, not after "years of abuse." I would also hope Sarah Palin has read the Constitution. But, of course, after the Katie Couric interview, we're still not sure what she reads.

According to Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States of America, "The President... shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors." Perhaps Palin legitimately disputes the President's handling of, oh, the border crisis. Regardless, even if Palin's criticism of President Obama is accurate, her complaints are still irrelevant to the Constitution, which as Palin is well aware, was written by Jesus.

So, basically, Sarah Palin believes the most important, most powerful human being on the planet (not counting, of course, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein) should be removed from office because, well, I guess because she doesn't like him. That doesn't seem fair. I wasn't a fan of the previous administration, but based on Constitutional law, that doesn't mean George Bush should've been impeached or that Dick Cheney should've been exposed to sunlight. Impeachment is a big deal. People need to stop bringing it up every time they don't like the guy in office. It makes you sound stupid.

And whenever Sarah Palin makes news for saying ridiculous things, that's what the story is really about -- not what she says, but who she is. People still like talking about Sarah Palin.

Some people hate Sarah Palin. Those people hate her way too much. Some people absolutely love Palin. Those people love her way too much. Palin just isn't important enough to illicit such strong emotions. She's simply a celebrity, one with no political power or economic authority. She's the Justin Bieber of empty media chatter... unless you consider Justin Bieber to be the Justin Bieber of empty media chatter, which I don't. Rather, I think of Justin Bieber as the Todd Palin of music.

It's disconcerting to think there might be an extra level of hostility towards Sarah Palin because she's a woman. But it's probably true. Society has come a long way towards gender equality. Women have our support now... as long as they agree with us. Yes, we all like Jennifer Lawrence because she's cute and harmless and she says funny things on the red carpet. Plus, she's Katniss. But the true way to judge one's tolerance is by their attitude towards women who fall outside of their own comfort zone. In other words, the moment you refer to Palin as a "bitch", you lose your "my opinion of Sarah Palin has nothing to do with her sex" credibility. Palin doesn't shoot wolves from a helicopter because she's a bitch. She does it because she's a jerk.

Senator John McCain was widely criticized for picking Sarah Palin as his Presidential running mate. I thought it was a good choice. She was attractive and unknown, she had a striking TV presence, and she wasn't Rand Paul. If Rand Paul had any of these qualities, he might have a chance in 2016.

Sarah Palin is a media star. Accept it. Why is she so famous? I have no idea. But nobody can explain Ryan Reynolds' popularity, either.

Sarah Palin rejuvenated the Republican Party. Because of Palin, a lot of ignorant, disinterested Americans started getting involved in politics. And that's a good thing. Eh, it's probably a bad thing.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I watched Sarah Palin's reality show. I didn't care for it -- not because of any dislike I have for Palin, but because it was boring. I prefer reality shows with more hair-pulling. Actually, I found Palin very likable and engaging on the show. But there's a limit to how engaging anyone can be while walking around the starting line at a sled dog race.

However, Palin's daughter Bristol also had her own reality show, a sparsely-watched program called Life's A Tripp. I enjoyed that show very much. I especially liked the sweet interaction Bristol had with her sister Willow. I know. You're waiting for me to finish this paragraph with something snarky. But I got nothing. I just liked the show.

I think Sarah Palin will have a brighter future on television if she slowly phases into bipartisan issues. Not everything is political. During her Vice-Presidential nomination speech, Palin told the families of special-needs children that they would have a friend and advocate in the White House. I appreciated that line. Palin's not in the White House, of course. But she could still be a powerful advocate for the disabled. Instead, in the past six years, when I've heard Palin make mention of special-needs citizens, it's usually within the context of a biased political attack.

Palin is a slave to her political agenda. I mean, she even criticized the President's Christmas card. Her message is "I disagree with whatever Obama did, is doing, or is going to do." This isn't a good career strategy; President Obama will be out of office in a couple of years. It's like people who make their living as Judge Ito impersonators. Your time is running out.

Republican pundits tend to get lumped together as one giant talking hurricane of blustering doomsday predictions and fake-outrage, spewing its unwavering hatred of Obama as it advances across the country... though this has nothing to do with global warming and is simply a normal part of the earth's insane weather patterns. But there are differences. Rush Limbaugh doesn't care what his liberal critics think of him. Limbaugh's show is not for them; it's for his followers who worship him. On the other hand, Ann Coulter writes not for the people who agree with her nonsense; rather, she is playing to her opponents. Coulter knows what she is doing. She writes or says something outrageous and pseudo-shocking. The liberals freak out. They post angry, anti-Coulter messages on Facebook. And Coulter gets the buzz and the talk show bookings. But Sarah Palin is speaking consciously to conservative America. This is her intended audience. Of course, she isn't saying anything particular original or clever. So her base, love her as they do, doesn't really care what she has to say. They know what she is going to say before she even says it. Instead, Palin's real audience is her detractors. These are the only people still listening to her... and loathing her. I'd bet that a typical Sarah Palin quote receives more interest among liberal blogs than conservative ones. Oh, and neither his fans nor his critics give a crap what Sean Hannity has to say about anything.

Sarah Palin is a symbol, not of Tea Party idiocy, but of liberal laziness. To mock Palin is easy. She relies on broad, black-and-white political strokes; "we support the troops and love America and the liberals want to increase your taxes and use the money to hand out free condoms to illegal immigrants." It doesn't take knowledge of the issues to point out Palin's ridiculousness. All you have to do is write down what she said and then make fun of it. Hence, uninformed progressives use Palin as a crutch to feel good about themselves, and to compensate for their own lack of factual knowledge.

Why don't liberals just ignore Sarah Palin? Because they don't want to ignore her. They like not ignoring Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is comforting. She's familiar. She's the Tea Party cliché that reminds us why we keep voting Democrat, even though our heart's not really in it anymore.

But there are smart Republicans. Or, at least, there are Republicans who can debate an issue intelligently and with facts. I've met these people. There are ways to recognize them; sometimes they tuck their short-sleeve polo shirts into their shorts. And also, they sometimes know what they're talking about. And if you don't know what you're talking about, these people will win the argument. And so it's a lot easier to ignore them.

The thing with Sarah Palin is that her saying dumb stuff doesn't make you smart. And mocking her just to mock her makes you a bit of a condescending a-hole... which, let's face it, is a bit of a liberal cliché.

Sarah Palin is not a villain. She's simply an opportunist, a benefactor of the "irrational outrage" movement that has polarized a section of the country so deathly afraid that Leave It To Beaver and John Wayne movies might not have been an entirely accurate portrayal of what life was really like back then. Palin has found her niche and she's sticking with it. And, for now, she makes a lot of money doing personal appearances. Good for her.

Years from now, when we're all living in floating houses and I'm 29, and historians access the Sarah Palin phenomenon, very little will be written about her short, uneventful political career or her silly Tea Party tweets. Instead, she will be tied into this era's odd, obsessive fascination with meaningless fame. Hence, if I ever get a chance to meet Palin in person, I won't challenge her about the "impeachment" comments. Rather, I'll say, "Hello, Governor Palin. I'm a big fan. Would you mind taking a selfie with me?"