The Palin Charade

The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate hit the United States like an electric storm. But to understand the basis of her popular appeal is also to understand why support for her has already begun to collapse.

New York – The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate hit the United States like an electric storm. To her legions of lipstick-waving fans on the right, Palin is a down-to-earth, God-fearing “hockey mom” whose moose hunting, evangelical faith, and even chaotic family life are all evidence that she is a real, typical American.

To her equally frantic detractors on the left – and increasingly in the center – she is a frightening harbinger of a theocratic America, a mafia-style executrix of state business who lies about the connection of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to Iraq, mocks Barack Obama for his opposition to torturing prisoners, and defies subpoenas. Think of her as George W. Bush II, but in designer pumps.

Both groups are reacting to genuine evidence. Her supporters are responding to a potent set of symbols, and her detractors to an even more potent set of facts.

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