The mystery of Sarah that isn’t

Sarah Palin was the guest on Glenn Beck’s TV show last night. (I can just hear Beck doing a Larry King imitation: “For the FULL OWAH!!!”) I understand she made an appearance on Hannity’s TV show tonight and I know her inaugural appearance as a newly minted Fox News pundit occurred on Tuesday on the O’Reilly Factor. But I missed both of those. One man can’t watch all the good TV that’s out there, especially when Simon Cowell’s last season with American Idol started up this week.

Palin’s appearance on “Glenn Beck” was excellent TV, but it also provides me with some semblance of an opening for a blog post that never got written when she was doing her book tour and was the talk of the town. I saw some minimal buzz on Twitter today about the candid discussion that Beck & Palin engaged in concerning the role of faith and God in not only the past and future of our country. But it died down pretty quickly and for good reason. Beck is a dedicated Mormon. Palin is a committed Pentecostal. So they talked about God…STOP THE PRESSES!!! I mean, really, people…

So I’m not going to belabor that alleged drama.

I suppose I’m not the only one who, in retrospect, feels the Sarah Palin story only began to get really interesting after the McCain/Palin race was over. If any losing Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has received this much attention subsequent to the campaign, I don’t know who it would be. Some might argue that Al Gore has maintained a public profile and that is true. However, there are a number of differences in his case, chiefly that he had already been a very public figure for decades, including 8 years as Bill Clinton’s powerful Vice President. And even in Gore’s case, he wasn’t seen much for a couple of years after the 2000 Florida contest.

Sarah Palin has joined that elite circle of celebrities about whom there are virtually no expressions of neutrality. More simply put, people either love her or hate her. But political sentiments, at least from her supporters, seem a bit more nuanced.

I will make no bones about the fact that I am firmly in the camp of Sarah Palin’s devoted personal admirers. She is a woman of God, brave and outspoken about her convictions. As a father of a special needs child, I have been deeply moved over the courage that she and Todd have displayed in not only choosing to bring Trigg into the world, but to care for him with compassion and grace. (I just remembered that both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are parents to children with special needs.)

The vitriol that Sarah Palin has been subjected to defies human imagination. Does the mainstream media not realize that by any polling indicator, they are far more unpopular than she is? Yet the likes of the current crop of MSNBC personalities continue to denigrate her in vicious and personal terms.

There are two major distortions that the media has propagated: 1. Sarah Palin is stupid. 2. Sarah Palin lies. Both are incorrect. Anyone who remembers Sarah Palin’s introduction to the country in Dayton, OH on Labor Day weekend, followed by her convention speech the next week remembers not only how she electrified the nation (it is one of the most convincing speeches I have ever seen anyone give in any field), but how she took the gloves off in reference to the Washington Beltway media elite. It is clear that they have gunned for her ever since with a vulgar transparency.

Is it really necessary to tick off on one’s fingers the reasons why Palin isn’t a fool? Have we all descended to Chris Matthews/Keith Olbermann-style ad hominem shrillness? I think not. Nonetheless, for the record, Palin served as the Governor of Alaska very capably, after filling other positions of leadership and relentlessly focusing on the corruption and conflict of interest that had famously plagued Alaska politics for decades. She has now written a book that, while unread by me, has set all sorts of records. Yet none of these accomplishments are valued by today’s elite unless, of course, one of their own achieves some milestone that amounts to a fraction of the genuine political/business/economic contribution that Palin’s resume includes.

Yet having credited Palin with the heartfelt praise that is her due, she is not my candidate for President in 2012. She is smart, brave and yes, attractive (you knew I’d go there eventually, so there you are). But others are simply far more ready to lead.

Beyond that, there is a point where a person becomes such a lightning rod that they simply cannot be effective in a political campaign. Had Dan Quayle run for President, the same problem would have occurred. Sarah Palin, through no fault of her own, is in a similar position right now.

But I admire her and root for her. I don’t find her a complicated person, but rather a very simple, plainspoken patriot with clearly conservative values. We need Sarah Palin; I’m just not ready to let her lead the parade yet.

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