Sarah Palin is the Honey Badger of American politics -- pursuing her goals despite all obstacles, despite naysayers, even despite logic.
Don't know the Honey Badger? You're in for a treat. Over 8 million people have delighted in this bizarre Internet sensation, in which the flamboyant "Randall" voices over National-Geographic-like footage of this interminable predator. The similarities to Ms. Palin stand out, especially given her recent One Nation Bus Tour:
"The Honey Badger is the most fearless animal in the animal kingdom. It has no regard for any other animal, whatsoever. It takes what it wants -- whenever it wants it. It's pretty bad-ass."
Secretly, many of us may wish we had this kind of bravado: to do what we wanted when we wanted -- no matter the consequences or the needs of other people. Not Sarah Palin.
She has defied all bounds of normal political chutzpah, whether it was not knowing anything about federal government policy, Supreme Court cases, or newspapers when she was a candidate for the Vice President, or spending campaign funds on a rich wardrobe, or just going rogue on the campaign trail frustrating the McCain folks. What kind of politician would leave the responsibilities of her elected office as governor to star in a reality TV show? Palin can rightfully sing: I did it my way.
Consider her recent One Nation bus tour. She never gave advance warning to the Republican National Committee about her tour, nor has she created an itinerary for journalists or local authorities. She's left the RNC in a lurch, as well as everyone else. The bus goes where it goes when it wants to. It breaks speed limits, blows through stop signs, ignores angry cops, and even outran a tornado just to get to Boston and spoil Mitt Romney's parade. Reporters are peeing on the side of the road, rather than taking bathroom breaks -- just to keep up with that bus. As Randall might say, "that bus doesn't give a sh**t."
"The Honey Badger runs all over the place. It even runs backwards. It's crazy."
Today, there remains no obvious logic to the Palin's actions. Is she running for office? No one knows. Palin says of her bus tour this "is not a campaign bus," but rather a family vacation in which she hopes to "highlight America's history" and "express to America how much we appreciate our foundation" by visiting famous American sites like the Liberty Bell. She's hoping people become more patriotic as a result. (Wait... how are we are going to become more patriotic by watching Sarah Palin walk around the Statue of Liberty in a pink shirt and a visor? Trying to unravel the logic of these statements leaves my brain in a knot.)
Supporting Palin's protestations is the fact that she hasn't put in place any ground team to launch a campaign and hasn't raised real campaign funds. If she were running, that would leave her way behind Mitt Romney, who has remained relatively quiet until now, but has been working behind the scenes to secure a huge war chest for his run.
So if you are not running, why race around the country foiling your party's campaign plans? Oh Honey Badger, you're so crazy!
"Other animals wait around to eat the scraps from the honey badger. Thanks, stupid! Thanks for the mouse; see you later!"
Despite the nuttiness that is the Palin, the Republicans are still playing ball. Even respectable Republicans, like Senator Mitch McConnell or commentator David Brooks, are calling her a viable contender.
Why? The Republicans see her as a key to wrangling an important voting block -- the social conservatives. Her "kill" -- so to speak -- would be especially important for someone like Romney who is seen as waivering on important social issues like abortion, health care, or gay rights. Perhaps that's why, when asked what he thought of Palin's surprise Boston visit, he simply said, "That's great!"
"Nothing can stop the honey badger when it's hungry. It doesn't care that it's stung by bees or a cobra snake -- or filled with poisonous venom. It just keeps eating. It's a hungry little bastard."
Sarah Palin is hungry all right. But for what? Her desire for the political spotlight doesn't seem to arise from a genuine desire to help people. If that were true, she never would have left her post as Alaskan governor where she could influence policy to star in reality show, manage her Facebook and Twitter accounts, or wander around the country in a bus to nowhere.
Palin' fearlessness seems to emerge out of a sense of not understanding or caring about consequences. She doesn't seem to care about anything except getting herself in the headlines, which is ironic given her alleged distaste for the "liberal-leaning" media. And despite being lambasted by the media -- probably more than any other political figure in modern memory -- she just keeps going, just like... you guessed it... the Honey Badger.
Follow Meredith Bagby on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bagbyreports