With deference to Mellencamp: Here’s a little diddy about Jack and … political perception.
The Jack part – as in You Don’t Know Jack – directed squarely at consultants who take big money to stick a paw in the wind and advise candidates about how they’re doin. Hint: if you haven’t left Washington in 20 years, or even the East Coast, your populist meteorology might be off.
Sarah Palin – doin great. Why? She’s the only star “candidate” who has remained genuinely true to her schtick. Like her or hate her passionately, she’s the same “gal” who energized the hockey moms and stole McCain’s celebrity thunder in 2008. And Americans are dying for authenticity, looking for someone to go all Reagan on us at a time when the wheels are coming off of not only our national economy, but our global dignity.
We need a little momming — times are tough — and we also want our lackluster leaders to grow a pair.
Before we begin, this isn’t an endorsement of Sarah or anyone else. On a scale of genius to somnambulistic, we give the GOP presidential slate thus far an unrated ZZZZZZZ. The world may be falling apart and the White House polling in single digits, but if voters are looking for a savior-sure thing from Republicans in 2012, he/she ain’t there. Yet. And we may be owned by China before that happens.
How’s your Mandarin? Nee-How. Go phonics.
Back to Sarah. Here’s why she continues to fascinate. Because she somehow decided long ago that she’d define herself and not listen to other voices. She eschews the official and goes with her gut just as a lot of powerful people and pundits try to disrupt her groove. Even if you hate her platform or positions, her strength of self image and defined values is admirable if not shocking in the current climate of no cajones, “this will get me a fabulous committee appointment” pablum.
Lotsa folks, political and celebrity, have entered a national stage with big insecurity and a whole lotta vague, talented but ripe for an image spin by big-talkin’ starmakers. It’s why we see some many young Hollywooders falling into a vat of binge and excess. Too many people told them how to be before they knew who they were!
Change your look. Yes. Cut your hair, of course. Appeal to the base – sure, sure. How can I front to the masses about crap I don’t feel or believe? Anything to trend polls, appeal to a broader coalition – even if it’s a 180 from who you are in your living room on a Sunday night. In sweatpants, cracking a cold one, when that little voice comes atcha with what is right – and wrong.
We were bemused last week when her son Track got married to his nursing student galpal wearing jeans, on the side of a mountain, the glacier photo op eaten up by celebrity media. Washington proper. Absolutely not. But true to self. Indeed. Maybe they actually love each other enough to wed without a Vera Wang dress.
When Sarah’s kids failed to be prep school perfect, she didn’t even flinch. All families are crazy, she signaled knowingly. Daughter is pregnant, so what . We’ll work it out, love the new grandbaby, no matter. When Bristol’s boyfriend Levi Johnston opened up a can of dirty laundry? He’s a hillbilly kid being spun by big bucks. Sad, but not giving him attention.
Sarah still looks the same, too, although her skin may be thicker from the media hatred pool. Hair, still big (thankfully – the drag queens get it right.) She never was pushed into a cookie-cutter Pelosi bob like half of the Hill staffers in Washington. Her fashion, still a mix of Macy’s suits, outdoors practical and mom jeans, worn by a woman who could run a half-marathon and cook dinner – albeit wildgame-o-licious — for a party of 12. Plastic glasses all around. Are we surprised that her hubby looks normal and cute, not some Escalade-driving, golfclub-toting ass-clown with a closet full of khaki. He’s a dude – richer, no doubt. But still real. And real people like that. A little sexy and true.
You want middle-class Americans to love ya — feel their pain, to quote a faded image sage who got it long ago. More Harry down the street than Harry Reid at a Georgetown boite. Sarah was regular – albeit prettier and more patriotic — when she started, and she still registers for that very large, unpolitical voter bloc – people who are beat down, worried bigtime about their country – hell, their electric bills — and more pissed by the day over status quo, broken-record candidates who are self-unaware and who fight battles that protect government and not people.
While many may not want Sarah as president, there’s a reason why she still has a seat at the national political table. The Official K Sreet Guide To Presidential Start-Up? She passed on that book for a “make my own rules for political life” sensibility. And thousands will show up for her new national bus tour, the kind of turnout no other candidate on her side of the aisle could possibly draw. She might not be a titanic intellect or Ivy-educated thinker, as her detractors argue, but she seems to know what her brand is and what matters. She didn’t desert her values in the fame game so more people would like her. Funny how that worked. More people kinda DID.