Friday, December 24, 2010

Robert J. Elisberg: Sarah Palin: America's Whine-O

Robert J. Elisberg: Sarah Palin: America's Whine-O

Sarah Palin has become your crazy, goofy uncle. You know, the world's self-proclaimed expert who sits around complaining about everything.

"That's not how you eat spaghetti. You cut the strands first. Here, give me your plate, let me show you."

"You watch this show? How can you tell what's even going on? I could write a better TV show than this.

"You'd think a second baseman who makes $5 million a year could catch a ground ball. I could have caught that."

"I could fix the economy. I'll tell you where bin Laden is. What's a Harry Potter? Here's how you end the War in Afghanistan -- two weeks, snap, it's over."

That's Sarah Palin.

She really doesn't know much of anything, and we all are pretty well aware of that, even her acolytes, who largely like what she "represents." There's no actual expertise that anyone can point to. No one has ever seriously thought that being ceremonial mayor of a 9,000-person hamlet was evidence of world leadership. Quitting as governor halfway through removed any chance of experience.

She's never been outside the U.S., except for one speech in Hong Kong and a photo op in Haiti. She told Glenn Beck that her favorite Founding Father was "All of them." She struggled to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with. She couldn't name a newspaper or magazine she read. Being able to see Russia from Alaska was the answer a clueless third-grader would give. She cowardly runs from serious interviews. She doesn't even have expertise in her sole area of self-professed "expertise" -- oil, never having actually worked in the oil industry, but serving on a state board, briefly.

She's your crazy, goofy uncle -- who your crotchety grandpa John McCain asked to be his traveling companion, shocking the relatives.

When you have no game, all you can do is nag at everyone to make yourself seen. It's like the legal mantra -- "If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the facts are against you, argue the law. And if the law and facts are against you, pound on the table and yell." Sarah Palin has just been pounding on the table and yelling.

And now she's so far out of her depth that all she's left with is whining about the first lady of the United States trying to stop child obesity. This is the equivalent of complaining that Anne Hathaway saved a baby panda.

"Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities," she groused, "just leave us alone, get off our back."

Surely it's just an oversight that Ms. Palin, the former half-term governor, forgot to blast some other politician's wife, Laura Bush, four years earlier for promoting literacy. Or complaining about Hootie Owl telling kids to "Give a hoot, don't pollute."

This isn't just ridiculous, it's ridiculous and ignorant. It doesn't just ignore the serious reality that one-third of American children are overweight or obese which risks damaging diseases, like diabetes - but it presumes that the First Lady has actual governing powers, and that her issue (like ALL issues by America's First Ladies, ever) is legally binding.

It's further evidence that our national crazy, goofy uncle Ms. Palin is limited to whining. Stamp the name "Obama" on it, and she'll complain. And since she's far out of her depth with the president, she's left with snarking on his wife. Mind you, Ms. Palin is the same hypocrite who whines whenever her own family is addressed (despite herself using them as circus props) -- now she's saying that another public figure's family member is fair game. It's a dangerous game for her to play, because that ice she's skating on is painfully thin.

But then, Sarah Palin is pretty much out of her depth on everything. She bizarrely complained about President Obama because North Korea attacked South Korea, getting our "North" ally wrong in the process, while even that other famed Obama complainer, Liz Cheney, acknowledged the blame belonged on the Bush administration. She's whined about bloggers, David Letterman, Newsweek covers, being asked what she reads, and on and on.

This is a person who even complained about lack of privacy while getting paid to have her life filmed for a reality TV show.

Even Republicans are finally wearying of it. And Republicans almost never criticize one another, it's Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment." But former governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) told CNN, "She'd have to show me a lot more than I've seen thus far, as far as an understanding of the depth and the complexity of the issues that we face." Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor of Arkansas, told a radio audience, "I think she misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do," adding that the first lady is "stating the obvious." Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner rebuked Ms. Palin's criticism of the new tax bill.

Sarah Palin's book sales are plummeting. Her TV reality show ratings are plummeting. Her 15 minutes are plummeting. Without question, she'll still have a very loud voice at the table and be heard. But then so will your crazy, goofy uncle.

Being heard is not a problem -- being taken seriously, that's becoming a lost cause.

Honestly, how do you misunderstand "eat less and exercise"?

The author Gertrude Stein once described the emptiness of Oakland by saying, "There's no 'there' there." It's pretty much how Sarah Palin has shown herself.

At least we should be grateful that she pronounces most of her complaints on Twitter, since 140 characters seems to be the limit of her depth.