So, I guess this is old news, but it’s freshly disturbing to me.

Sarah Palin is going to have her own reality TV show.

This just doesn’t seem good for the future of political dialog. I was talking about this yesterday with a friend of mine and said, “Well, I guess this means she is done running for office.” To which she answered, “Does it?” and sent shivers down my spine. Are we at a point in our inability to separate politics from entertainment and sensationalism that someone who expects to be a viable candidate for a major political office would consider such a display of her family life as a positive political move? Am I the only one who thinks this is some sort of doomsday sign?

Let me be clear. I don’t mind Sarah Palin that much. I like that she’s plucky. I like that she’s a mom to lots of kids. I like that she’s not an Ivy-Leager, I like her accent, I like Alaska. In fact, I love the idea of Palin, but Palin herself just hasn’t panned out that well, and has done, I think, some considerable damage to the respectability of the right. I can’t help but think a reality show is exactly the opposite of what she needs to improve her public image and political ability.


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Posted by Cate MacDonald


  1. “but Palin herself just hasn’t panned out that well, and has done, I think, some considerable damage to the respectability of the right.”


    I think I respectfully disagree, but I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts on the subject.


  2. why would her being, or not being, from the Ivy League matter?


  3. Can we treat this as confirmation that she is NOT running for President?


    1. Matt, I sure hope so.

      If not, I am personally seceding from the Union.


  4. I don’t really consider her a serious potential candidate for office. She is more a cheerleader for the right. As for damage, it depends on who you are. I think she has done less damage to the respectability of the right than Pelosi has done to the left. Palin has done her thing. Some love her, some hate her and some don’t quite know what to make of her. Personally, I like her; period. I just want a stronger leader to emerge as a presidential candidate.


  5. Nathan and Jon, I think I can address both your questions with one answer. I remember when Palin first emerged as the vice presidential candidate and was introduced to those of us who don’t pay that much attention to politics. At the time, I found her to be refreshing and exciting, and part of that was her decidedly middle-America, political outsider feel.

    Though I am normally an unapologetic snob, I had grown tired of what looked like an Ivy covered boy’s club surrounding the White House. A mother of five from the University of Idaho and the final frontier of Alaska, she excited people because she was so different and seemed to represent a large group of Americans that felt unheard (much like Obama did for an entirely different group).

    Jon, it was exactly this reason that I think she was so damaging. She became (and presented herself as) a representative of the Average Joe on the right, and then made a series of huge public image errors, wrote a very silly book, and spent most her time pandering to the people who already liked her, rather than seeking to bring understanding across party lines. She was polarizing, and made it easy for the left to view all those millions of people who supported her as the under-educated country bumpkins they always suspected them to be. In other words, she became a figurehead of the Republican resurgence, and then fulfilled the wrong people’s expectations.

    I would love for her to prove me wrong and be what so many thought she could be. I don’t think a reality show is going to do that.


  6. Thanks for your answer. I don’t think you’re being a snob when you want qualified highly trained people to do intense demanding jobs that affect the lives of millions.

    I’m not saying a U of Idaho grad can’t be that person, but the whole “real america” rhetoric and nebulous appeals to “common sense” just aren’t what it takes to navigate the complexities of governance anymore. I don’t think that’s being snobby, that’s just handling reality. I wouldn’t resent a doctor for knowing more about my liver, neither do I resent a lawyer for knowing more about the law, nor Hilary Clinton for being able to speak intelligently about the nature of dairy subsidies for upstate farmers.

    Good intentions and a vague commitment to the Constitution aren’t what it takes anymore…

    The whole “elitist” charge that some politicians throw around is meaningless simply because if you can make it to the top of our political structures you are, by definition, part of the elite.

    Just to be clear, I’m not ranting against you…I think you’re right about her initial appeal to a certain segment of people.


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