News & Politics

4 Most Provocative Reactions to Sarah Palin's Lofty Presidential Ambitions

When Sarah Palin smugly announced that she was considering a 2012 run for the presidency, it set off a ripple of reactions ranging from shrugs to shrieks. Here are the best ones.

When Sarah Palin smugly announced that she was considering a 2012 run for the presidency in a recent interview with Barbara Walters -- and added that she could beat Barack Obama -- it set off a ripple of reactions ranging from shrugs to shrieks.

Even though this was the same week the former Alaska governor, who quit midway through her term, bobbled on the crucial distinction between North and South Korea, and the same month her unfavorable ratings with the public clocked in at over 50%, it seems that every public figure was asked to weigh in with his or her reaction to Palin's high hopes. And they did, with hilarious and thought-provoking results.

Here is a roundup of the most provocative reactions, categorized for your reading pleasure:

4. Sarah Palin who? Oh yeah, that Alaska lady.

This reaction came from our own President Barack Obama when asked about his potential rival by Walters herself. ‘I don’t think about Sarah Palin,’ he said firmly. He added that while he respected Palin's standing with her party's base, he was too busy, you know, leading the free world to really spend time mulling over the electoral threat she posed.

This caused Wonkette's Jack Stuef toponder the single way Obama really is a worthy object of envy for us commoners -- he's insulated from Palin-mania. "We are now all envious of this man’s life. Apparently the only defense against having this woman and her rhetoric burrow into your brain is to be the most powerful man in the world. We are all doomed," he wrote.

3. Don't joke so much. "It" could happen. 

This reaction came from a petrified pundit class, concerned about Sarah Palin's ability to rise up from gaffe after gaffe, misstep after misstep and remain beloved by her party and the mainstream media. In last weekend's Sunday Times, Frank Rich wrote:

" ... logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success."

At The Nation, Melissa Harris-Perry sounded a similar note of concern, pointing to the idea that all of these seemingly-negative attention-getting qualities fit in with a new, reality TV aesthetic that seems to have captivated Americans: "Rather than pay for advertising, she is getting paid to advertise her politics. Rather than wait for kingmakers to declare her a contender, she smirks while predicting her victories. Her reality show is a pinnacle of this new media-saturation strategy.'

2. Pure disdain.

The iciest disdain leveled at Palin's ambitions have come from within her own party. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who had previously pointedly rejected Palin's help on the campaign trail, rolled his eyes when Jimmy Fallon asked him if she could do it, and said "it's a crazy world."

Meanwhile grand doyenne of old-school Republicanism Barbara Bush reacted with typical witty patrician condescension when discussing Palin on Larry King Live: " I think she's very happy in Alaska. And I hope she'll stay there."

1. Uncontrollable laughter.

Perhaps the most heartening, and succinct, reaction to Palin's aspirations came from Joe Biden with a little bit of contagious-laughter prompting from host Joe Scarborough. They cracked up at the mere thought. Although to be fair, after calming down, Biden said "she's always underestimated" and left his comments at that.

 

<p>With two years of reality TV and book touring to go before the race heats up, this is doubtless only the beginning of bemusement, amusement and paranoia caused by Palin's kooky, dangerous presence on the national stage.

Sarah Seltzer is an Associate Editor at Alternet, an RH Reality Check staff writer and a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in Bitch, Jezebel, and on the websites of The Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal. She can be found at sarahmseltzer.com.
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