The moment I heard John McCain had chosen Sarah Palin I thought the decision had Karl Rove written all over it. Then Sidney Blumenthal wrote that Rove, who knows the American psyche like no other operative, wanted Mitt Romney and that Palin was McCain's call. Whoever chose her is an evil genius.
She is the link that unites the rich with the vast pool of small town, working class and rural voters. It's a little like European nobility conscripting the peasants to fight against a rising commercial class--the original middle class. The Democrats are the enemy in the middle today. The fight is for the heartland's electoral votes and with Sarah Palin the Republicans have a formidable edge.
So surreal was the experience that it was a little like watching a Hollywood movie about a presidential campaign rather than the real thing when she strode onto that stage last night.
I couldn't believe the nonsense going into the speech about it being make-or-break. Did anybody think she wrote it herself? It was written by the campaign. The only question was the delivery. If anyone had seen video of her speaking before, which I had, you knew she was going to nail it, which she did. She's a lot more effective speaker than John McCain and much more presentable. That's what makes her so dangerous.
This is narrative and identity politics at its most wicked. She gave her version of her own life story. It's a fairy tale that doesn't square with the facts. But as Joe Klein points out, the McCain camp is at war with the press precisely to keep the Sarah Story from exploding under the weight of scrutiny.
The sick thing about identity politics for me is that it shows millions of Americans think they should be president or vice president. Since they can't the next best thing is someone like them. Someone they think will at least fight for their interests. Palin is poisonous to the body politic because she brilliantly creates the illusion that she is the girl next door running for the White House on behalf of common people. She's one of us. Except that she is now their tool--representing an economic and political elite that spits on average Americans--eroding their civil rights, taking away their social benefits and sending their sons (including hers) and daughters off to unnecessary wars that only enrich that elite.
Sarah Palin is the enemy of small town America and average citizens, dressed up as their princess warrior.
Her record shows that she worked against the interests of small town Wasilla by pushing for construction of a sports complex rather than a needed sewer system. She tried to censor books and fire people who don't agree with her. She thinks God ordered the invasion of Iraq. Her ambition is outdone only by her vindictiveness.
Sarah Palin not only appeals directly to the conservative, religious fantasies of vast numbers of marginalized Americans. She appeals to men because of her beauty. Incredibly, she makes John McCain look hip. Once Barack Obama failed to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate, the door was open to McCain to look like the progressive and agent of change by choosing a woman.
If Sarah Palin can help deliver the White House to John McCain, and there is every indication now that she can, she will be part of a leadership at war with the interests of America's heartland and very likely at war with Iran and maybe with nuclear-armed Russia.