Little Orphan Sarah here to stayWASHINGTON — With apologies to James Whitcomb Riley: Little Orphan Sarah has come to our world to stay, to frighten all the liberals and keep the pundits at bay,
By: Dan Thomasson, The Dickinson Press
WASHINGTON — With apologies to James Whitcomb Riley: Little Orphan Sarah has come to our world to stay, to frighten all the liberals and keep the pundits at bay, to shoo the chickens from the party and dust them off for good, and show us how to shoot a gun and kill a moose and make a fire from wood...we sit around the TV and have the very most fun listening to the scary tales that Sarah tells about, of how Obama will get you if you don’t watch out.
The Hoosier poet I’m not, obviously. But I couldn’t resist dredging up a childhood favorite when contemplating the near hysteria surrounding the publication and promotion of the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee’s autobiography. Left leaning bloggers and radio talkers view her as a threat to mankind while television’s top interviewers scramble for her presence, hoping for a kill shot like Katie Couric managed last year.
On the other end of the spectrum, conservative commentators seem to view her as a potential savior of the old time Republican religion of anti-abortion, anti-big government, anti-immigration, anti-spending and a return to American values, undefined though they may be.
In only a relatively short time she has gone from an obscure state chief executive to one of those rare celebrities instantly identifiable simply by her first name as most recently demonstrated by the use of only “Sarah” on the cover of a national newsmagazine whose inside spread is dedicated to almost frantically pointing out all the reasons why she isn’t fit to be president. Her sex appeal isn’t one of her liabilities of course as the cover amply displays although it was posed for a running magazine.
Even the queen of book promoters, Oprah Winfrey, a staunch supporter of Barack Obama, seemed fascinated if not mesmerized by her. The very fact Sarah was confident enough to face what could have been a withering experience shows her penchant for risky situations. Clearly her familiarity with the wilds of her home state has left her courage unquestionable. She is a tough cookie who many women — not to mention men — clearly admire whether or not they see her as presidential material. What they can’t deny about her, even those who express their disdain for her views, is that she is a woman who has displayed a determination to meet her challenges head on, with a record of standing up and pushing back as she did to her own party and to those who managed her vice presidential campaign, not always pleasantly.
Is she a force to be reckoned with in the GOP? Without a doubt she is at this moment, particularly to the party’s conservative base, but the beginning of the political marathon for a nomination is still a ways off. Once the flurry of publicity over the book is over, fascination with her could be expected to fade. But with shrewd management of speaking appearances and the asset of her personal good looks, it would be foolish to underestimate her long-term celebrity appeal or, for that matter, to overestimate her Oval Office chances based simply on that.
While most analysts thought she had made a terrible mistake in resigning her governorship with more than a year left, it now seems absolutely to have been the right choice for her, freeing her from statehouse restraints and local political infighting and allowing her to begin building a grass roots organization and an image as a national party force as well as personal wealth. It is way too early to anoint her as anything much more than the Wonder from Wasilla — the former beauty queen, basketball star, governor and second woman to be nominated for the vice presidency of the United States. But in the scheme of things that isn’t too bad for a small town girl.
Present in the hysteria from the left to the middle is the possibility that all this attention ultimately will make her that much more of a contender. The Sarah baiters and bashers and predictors of dire consequences will have become victims of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Little Orphan Sarah has come to our world to stay.
—Thomasson is former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at email@example.com.