Sarah Palin: Average Hockey Mom or Spawn of Satan?

01/11/2009 06:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sean Carman Environmental lawyer, dabbler in the literary arts

Well, John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate on Friday, sending all of us political columnists to Google in search of something to say about the "average hockey mom" who can drop a bear at 150 yards with a bolt action if her scope is well-sighted and also happens to be the living embodiment of the hot librarian fantasy shared by all the men and half the women in America. What the selection means for yours truly is that the canned columns I had worked up on Mitt Romney, Joe Lieberman and Condaleeza Rice are out the window. Thanks a lot, John McCain.

Like the other 30% of America paying attention to the presidential race, I have been feverishly learning as much as possible about the former PTA president who says that she doesn't know what the Vice President does, really, and hasn't thought very much about Iraq, but hopes that, now that her son is going to be deployed there, we at least have some sort of plan.

Earth to Sarah Palin: Your job as Vice President is not to hope we have some sort of plan for Iraq. It is to help develop one. Hopefully they'll explain that to her at some point.

I thought it was a nice touch that, as Palin stood at the podium in Ohio yesterday, waiting to begin her first speech to a national audience, and she looked uncertain for a second about when to start, McCain leaned forward with his Cheshire Cat smile and helpfully said, "No hurry."

Yes, that's the sort of advice an experienced politician needs -- when to stop graciously receiving applause and begin speaking. It's good they've chosen someone with experience, who knows how to take charge of a situation.

It was undoubtedly the sort of on-the-job training McCain advisor Charlie Black was referring to when he said Palin will be, "learning foreign policy at the foot of a master for the next four years." But why at his feet? Do they not plan to give Palin a chair? If I were her, I would demand my own chair. Sitting on the carpet at the feet of John McCain for four years while he preaches about how we have no exit strategy for Iraq sounds degrading, and also really dull.

Although the image does make me think that Palin could become McCain's Shahrazad, telling a captivated McCain endless stories of fascinating adventures in Alaska so he can never quite bring himself to remove her from the ticket once this whole "throw a curve to Obama" strategy becomes the Republican embarrassment of the Century.

"And yet that story was not nearly as interesting as The Story of the Time Sarah Palin Made Love to a Polar Bear While Her Husband Was Winning the Great Northern Snow Machine Race . . ."

Oh wait, I forgot. She hates Polar Bears and wants to see them go extinct. Well, you get the idea.

Because I believe this is an historic election, and that Palin's selection could determine its outcome, I'll share with you the best Palin video I've found on the internet, a KTVA news story about the state trooper controversy. Check it out at the end of this piece.

Apart from its sordid tale of Palin's abuse of power as Governor in carrying out a personal vendetta against her sister's ex-husband, compare the Palin in the white sun visor who, about half-way through, denies speaking with Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan (whom she fired for his refusal to can state tropper Mike Wooten) to the Palin shown elsewhere in the piece. Clearly, she's had some work done. They thinned her nose, took something off her cheeks, and gave her a complete personal appearance makeover. Unless the Alaska local news was just interviewing some random woman in a sun visor about whether she'd spoken to Monegan about Wooten, always a possibility. I grew up in Wyoming, which is not unlike Alaska, and where the local news was always interviewing the wrong people and getting the stories all wrong, which was a great source of entertainment, but that's another story.

My point was, Palin appears to have turned herself into a Barbie doll to advance her political career. Which, of course, will make feminists everywhere line up to vote for her. Especially Hilary supporters.

The other gem in the KTVA news piece is the anxiety-ridden, beady-eyed Palin speaking at some sort of art gallery function about why, before supposedly firing Monagen for failing to address rural alcohol issues (her cover story) she had, two weeks before, praised his work on the issue and nominated him to be Director of the Alaska State Beverage Control Commission. Oops. Palin's frantic explanation comes about two-third of the way through piece and it is priceless. It's so rare these days that you find footage on the internet of a national politician looking like a cornered rat.

My political instincts -- which are never right, by the way -- tell me McCain's selection of Palin is going to explode in his face, like the best kind of slow-motion political train wreck. This could be the most entertaining political development of the last 20 years. And it could get better. Maybe Palin, before she was a beauty queen, danced at the Great Alaska Bush Company. Maybe that's how she met her husband, the North Slope oil rig operator Todd Palin. An eager nation can only hope.

But the other part of me fears for our country if this woman gets anywhere near the White House. I also think that if America elects this pair, it's game over and I'm moving to Canada. Or Spain. Or anywhere that will take me.