Sarah Palin: Why is she still the face of the GOP?

Andrew Fingerett

At first I thought it was slightly amusing that the furor over Gov. Sarah Palin still hasn’t calmed. Maybe I’m na’iuml;ve, but I really thought people would just forget about her and, a few years from now, recall this campaign season with amusement and a chuckle about how 46 percent of the country voted to elect a vice-presidential candidate that couldn’t explain the Bush Doctrine. But she isn’t obsolete yet, and while it’s starting to get frightening, I think maybe it’s for the better.

After all, Palin is an ignorant, temperamental religious zealot with little regard for truth and integrity. She is the perfect face for what the core of the GOP has become.

As far as female politicians are concerned, it boggles my mind to think that this vapid woman was elevated to rock-star status before somebody like Hillary Clinton. I failed to consider the tenets of Bible Belt America.

Let’s begin with ignorance. Palin has vehemently denied accusations made by former McCain aides regarding her political knowledge (Africa as a country instead of a continent’hellip; really?) and personality deficiencies, but I tend to believe the aides. My perception of her as a vacuous political Barbie doll was solidified long ago after the infamous Katie Couric interviews, and the aides only further confirmed my sentiments. If one simply observes the behavior of audience members at her rallies, it’s obvious that they share her distaste for intellectualism.

One prominent example that comes to mind is the woman who told McCain at a rally that she didn’t trust Barack Obama because he was an Arab. The only reason I can think of for this woman to find Arabs as people one should inherently distrust is because she associates all Arabs with terrorists.

The remark was terrifyingly stupid and a horrible message for any young Arab-Americans who dream of one day entering politics. The rumor that Obama is a Muslim sheds even further light on the undercurrents of modern conservative thought, in a world where accusations of being a Muslim are considered offensive.

There are many more examples ‘- I need not list them all. It is sufficient to say that in this regard, Palin serves as a wonderful representative for these people who have no knowledge, and refuse to seek more, beyond that of their own narrow minds.

Next, think of Palin’s remarks about how Obama ‘pals around with terrorists,’ in reference to his loose association with Bill Ayers. The guilt-by-association tactic invokes images of McCarthyism and the Ayers connection is something McCain staffers wanted further verification of. McCain aides stated Palin decided to go rogue with the information and make the accusations in the dark.

The notion that Obama, a civil rights attorney, community organizer and United States senator, could be a terrorist or that he associates with terrorists is just as ridiculous as stating that John McCain was buddy-buddy with communists during his stay in Vietnam.

Yet such duplicitous statements always draw huge cheers from her crowds. Such blatant dishonesty is encouraged and applauded. These people don’t care about facts, policy or even their own well-being (how many middle-class republicans falsely believed Obama would raise their taxes?). They care about perceived values and imaginative worlds.

The holy trinity of red-state fundamentalism isn’t yet complete. In addition to ignorance and dishonesty, she has the requisite religious extremism to complete her arsenal. The videos of Palin at the altar being electrified by a healthy dose of Jesus are enough to whet the political fantasies of any vacuous fundamentalist.

How many presidential candidates have ever been elected without several conspicuous photo-ops of them and their family attending church? That’s mandatory. It is not mandatory, however, to take religion to the point where one begins to make statements supporting the teaching of creationism alongside evolution (although, to her credit, she never pushed to actually make it part of the curriculum). That’s just dumb.

But it is certainly in keeping with the three Republican presidential nominees who raised their hands during the primaries to indicate that they don’t believe in evolution, and it’s in keeping with the millions of Americans who think the same way.

It’s no wonder so many Republicans are jumping ship. The GOP no longer represents what have traditionally been conservative ideas, things like private financial responsibility, school vouchers and a strong national defense. You know, things that make sense. Instead, the GOP has come to represent war, religious extremism and dangerous anti-intellectualism. Palin doesn’t just represent these traits. She’s a caricature of them and just what the GOP needs to take a step back and realize that it needs to reinvent itself.