Well, I don't really know Sarah Palin personally, although, I have been to Alaska twice.
But over the course of my life, I've met plenty of Sarah Palins. I bet you have, too.
When I see Palin, I see the flirty high school cheerleader who had no interest in publishing or photography, but was compelled to beat out everyone else for editor-in-chief of the yearbook, so she cozies up to the adviser.
She reminds me of the girl who got grades and test scores good enough to get into college or grad school, but once there, instead of just putting her nose to the grindstone, used head fakes and games to convince others they didn't have to work so hard, thus changing the shape of the bell curve.
Palin makes me think of the one summer intern who, instead of trying to get along, ensured her queen bee status with whisper campaigns, always sure that no matter what tactic she used to get ahead, her cuteness and perkiness would carry the day, leaving those less savvy and prone to relying on their actual talent in her wake. The one who was just nice enough and just smart enough, that few would ever suspect her true motives.
The uber-Tracy Flick.
Sarah Palin is that girl. Nicolle Wallace of the McCain campaign says Palin is just misunderstood and that we're intimidated by her when we're critical of whether she has the necessary experience and gravitas to handle being Vice President:
"My personal theory is that she's something that [women in cable news] can't grasp... They don't know how to process her. She is beautiful, accomplished, successful, pro-gun and pro-life. They've never seen all those things in one package. She totally disorients many in the liberal media, especially a lot of the women."
I hate to break it to the McCain campaign, but I'm not disoriented by her at all. Palin's winking and so-called "folksy" manner don't fool me or many others I know. We've seen her type all to often in our lives and we know exactly who she is.
Sarah Palin isn't stupid or incompetent, she's just someone who has decided that there's no reason to know too much about sophisticated economic policy, international power dynamics or how past so often becomes prologue, by golly.
Palin isn't misunderstood. We understand her ways perfectly.
Joanne Bamberger is a political analyst who writes about all things political at her blog, PunditMom. Her commentary has appeared this election season on CNN, Fox News, ABC.com, XM Radio POTUS '08, and others.