Sarah Palin’s decision not to run could push her to the top of the vice presidential slate, where (with the right nominee) she could reprise her role as the extremist spoiler that tanked a mainstream candidate. Here’s hoping.
But in the interim, all that’s certain is that she’s managed to successfully cash in on the uncertainty surrounding her potential presidential bid without going through the hard work of actually running for something, holding public office, or making a difference. Jon Stewart details the absurdity of it all — especially in light of misleading fundraising letters her personal PAC has put out over the past few months. From one:
Someone has to save our nation from this road to European Socialism. Do you think it should be [ex-]Governor Palin?
If so, can you send your best, one-time gift to SarahPAC today to help her elect more common-sense conservatives — and show her that we support her if she decides to run?
Now there’s certainly nothing illegal in any of this fundraising — when I use the word “Ponzi Scheme,” I use it as loosely as Governor Perry — but this sort of inducement to give someone money, to perform a discretionary act that they have no intention of ever performing, feels a lot like the kind of securities fraud that gets companies investigated, and directors thrown in jail. At the very least, it’s slimy. Voters spend money to “convince” Sarah to run, and in exchange, get nothing more than another visit from the Grifter Express, and the peace of knowing that someone cares enough about their loose cultural beliefs to take their money and use it to write Facebook posts. I suppose that’s something, but it’s not much.
What Sarah Palin has become, and what we’ve allowed her to become through this “will she or won’t she” dance, is a political version of Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton, “famous because she’s famous,” consuming public money and attention in exchange for the sheer joy of knowing she exists, and witnessing her wacky hijinks. She’s an entertainer, taking in the political energy of her supporters and converting it into spectacle. We should ignore her, until she decides to do something useful.
That we don’t, though, says something. It speaks to a vacuum on both sides of the aisle — of ideas on the Republican side, and of leadership on the Democratic side. There’s no space for such demagogues in a healthy democracy.