What message did Sarah Palin send to her CPAC ’13 audience Saturday, and thence to the world, by sipping from a Big Gulp soda during her speech and, in conclusion, brandishing it as if it were a trophy? Oh, I know what message she intended to send: Don’t tell us real Americans how to live our lives. We’ll decide what’s best for ourselves and our children. Stop treading on our liberty.
But that’s not the message Palin sent. Amazingly for someone who still must harbor some kind of desire for a second act in American politics, the message Sarah Palin sent was this:Republicans will start winning elections again by telling Americans they should be proud of acting stupid.
Remember when Palin jumped all over Michelle Obama for planting an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn, and telling kids not to eat dessert? Because embracing obesity, I suppose, is a conservative value. Gluttony and indulging in stupid, self-destructive food habits is a sign of your conservative bona fides. If Michelle Obama took up the cause of literacy, Palin would recommend watching more Honey Boo Boo.
Look, I’m not averse to populist appeals. I instinctively liked Palin when she debuted on the national stage, not because any of us knew much about her, but because she instantly made all the right enemies. But as we learned in a matter of weeks, being despised by despicable people does not make you admirable. Is there anybody outside the hardcore GOP base who finds Palin’s shtick remotely appealing anymore?