We are genuinely intrigued.
Intrigued, that is, by how much she intrigues you.
For someone who was fulminating against Hollywood in her final speech in office, the subtext was classic Obi-Wan Kenobi: If you strike me down I will become more powerful than ever before. The delicious irony of using a national media platform to announce finally she didn't care what the media thought of her was not lost on us.
Equally curious is the great question now posed by her very resignation: will she run for the Presidency in 2012?
It looks to us as if even she herself doesn't yet know. Is there a Grand Plan? Certainly. Although it is likely to be, Let's get a Grand Plan. Perhaps what America is observing is political opportunism in its freshest form. We see this a great deal in the new order of the entertainment industry: fame without responsibility. Except, in the cut-and-thrust of politics, one might describe it as public office without public service. But what could be exciting here is the advent of a new breed of Anti-politician.
But hopes may be quickly dashed when one examines the track record of the former Governor of Alaska. Running for office on wasteful spending tickets is, of course, not rocket science. It is a reactionary rather than pro-active kind of politics: identifying abuses and promising fixes is the meat and potatoes for many seeking office. So why should the former mayor of Wasilla be any different? She isn't. Being a woman and the youngest in Alaskan gubernatorial history to hold office, however, has been a shot in the arm both for the state and national politics itself.
But polls show many to believe that this goodwill has now been squandered. Slipping from a pre-Veep nomination approval rating of 89% to a reported 53% at final count, in her own state, takes some doing.
So what's next? She may perhaps pick and choose issues which resonate around the country, blurring the lines between soft-campaigning and self-aggrandizing. But the Palin doctrine will have to graduate beyond drill, shoot and abstain. She will be a mouthpiece for certain quarters of the population but on which issues and across what media platform is not yet clear - even to her. But she'll know it when she sees it - you betch'ya!
It is over this proving ground that she will glad-hand her base, carefully counting them off to see if they amount to a hill o' beans. For it is difficult to see how someone of her reported character traits would not secretly covet (at the very least) the 'top job'. Her broad-brush approach to politics suggests that she might only ever be interested in the Presidency or nothing at all. Who needs the minutae of a cabinet post?
Indeed, for someone who is resigning suddenly from a high-profile political position, we've yet to actually hear the phrase, 'To spend more time with my family...'. In British politics this usually indicates culpability in something akin to an Elliot Spitzer-level event (scandals involving rubber, Nazi uniforms and unusually-shaped vegetables are not uncommon here).
But going so far as to allude to numerous policy areas in a resignation address might seem odd if she had truly put the thought of further political office from her mind. But with tough economic times ahead for Alaska, and much of the country, could it not be the very fact that Palin has chosen to abandon her voters at this crucial time that will return to haunt her, should she pretend to the GOP nomination in 2012?
Liberal media bias has, of course, been blamed by the outgoing Governor and her Republican supporters. Of course, in America it is the Democrats who are often accused of being the more media-savvy, over-educated, East-coast liberal elitists. Ironically, in Britain, it is the Conservatives to the right who are accused of same. So as it falls to the Republicans to sometimes parody themselves as the working man's party, so too is it left for Gordon Brown's Labour party to do the same, for his is the party long-favoured by Trade Unions, miners and champagne socialists. Tony Blair was a blip.
But if it is a media career that the Idaho native truly craves, one wonders how she will cope. It is fair to say she hasn't handled her media appearances all that well. Ever. American media have not had to break a sweat to portray her as a low-hanging fruit. She's abetted that all by herself. As a politician, Palin is superb in straight lines yet doesn't appear to corner all that well. Like the great American automobiles, pretty to look at but we wouldn't want to own one, if you don't mind.
In fact, we are still trying to figure out how so many in the great North West can be pro-gun and pro-life. And if you carry anything less than a .357 Magnum handgun you're quite clearly homosexual. Of course none of us carry around light artillery in Blighty.
Where would we put our umbrella? Don't answer that.
We certainly don't subscribe to the notion that the main difference between men and women, in that part of the world, is that the men spit further. In the same way that we are reasonably sure that most Americans don't believe that Gordon Brown becomes Susan Boyle at weekends.
But the well-documented string of Palin mistakes only really caught our own eye last year. It was during the 2008 Presidential campaign that the British Foreign Office felt obliged to contact Palin's representatives to remind them, apologetically, that she hadn't in fact held diplomatic talks with then British ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald -- despite thinking she had. Of course, wars aren't always started that way. There are other triggers too.
With promises of unfettered vitriol soon to 'fly from her fingertips' and onward to Christian souls through her Twitter page, the addition of micro-blogging to the news source trickle via the likes of Politico and Twitter sets the news cycle permanently to 'Spin'. David Axelrod recently put it as, "...[contributing] at times to sloppy journalism and a dumbed-down public debate. It's become a carnival where every day is Election Day; Where we're consumed with who's up and who's down; Where we book people on TV to do nothing more than argue with one another, generating more heat than light."
And it is in this low earth orbit, that the narcissist can both rise and be felled by their own hand, in the land where it is showtime all the time, everywhere for everyone.
As life imitating art imitating life, politics is showbiz is politics.
Lew Wasserman understood that more than fifty years ago. He was the Democrat powerbroker who spotted the political potential of the young, photogenic and charismatic Republican Ronald Reagan. From his early Presidency of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), to his Governorship of California in 1960 to the White House in 1980, Wasserman wielded major influence in Reagan's political life. Yet despite success as political kingmaker, Wasserman never gave up his day job. He was, of course, Hollywood's super agent responsible for the success of some of the most recognizable stars and films of the twentieth century.
Were he alive today, Wasserman would have found the prospect of mentoring Palin too enticing to resist. He would have curtailed the torrent of incoherent ramblings, muted her right-wing platitudes and sharpened her folksy wit. Only then would the Democrats have had something to worry about. But since her shock resignation, someone is honing the media monster that could be Sarah Palin, keeping her off the air, away from her BlackBerry and behind closed doors from the baying tabloids. Finally, she may be listening to someone's wise counsel and, managed correctly, this could be to devastating effect.
Of course, contracting a virulent case of the tabloids is just as easy in Britain. Could the same meteoric media rise be possible on this side of the pond? Absolutely.
The British love an underdog.
She would perhaps have come from 'up North', Yorkshire even. She would be a straight-talking lass, blessed with a common touch and all the finesse of an All-You-Can-Eat. She would be the winner of one of the nation's most-watched reality shows, doyenne of many a vacuous weekly glossy and, with a bit of luck, a Page-3 girl. We would know what she ate for breakfast and what she weighed at any given moment. We'd be all-too-familiar with her hit-and-miss lovelife conducted with members of our finest football clubs and recognize, at ten paces, her Marks and Spencer knickers each time she was photographed falling out of a taxi in the wee small hours. Every indiscretion trumpeted. Every thoughtless gem quoted, printed, celebrated. Yes, she would run as a Labour candidate in a local by-election and have the support of the Prime Minister as poster-girl of ordinary, hard-working Brits all over the land.
Then upon winning the seat in Parliament for her small constituency of Bell End & Lickey, her voters would line the streets to wave her off triumphantly to London, filmed from the air by a BBC News helicopter. And there, in the coliseum that we've built to democracy that is our venerated House of Commons, the people's champion would take her rightful place, where she would be fed to the lions.
Ultimately dismantled and ridiculed by the media, as an indictment on the power of the media, she would be hung out to dry in a bitter wind. This is England me ol' fruit and we do love a loser.
As for Sarah Palin, yes admittedly she fascinates us.
But then so does Mickey Mouse.