The Tragedy of Sarah Palin

By Joshua Green

It’s hard to escape Sarah Palin. On Facebook and Twitter, cable news and reality television, she is a constant object of dispute, the target or instigator of some distressingly large proportion of the political discourse. If she runs for president—well, brace yourself! But there is one place where a kind of collective resolve has been able to push her aside, make her a less suffocating presence than almost everywhere else: Alaska.

During a week spent traveling there recently, I learned that Palin occupies a place in the minds of most Alaskans roughly like that of an ex-spouse from a stormy marriage: she’s a distant bad memory, and questions about her seem vaguely unwelcome. Visitors to Juneau, the capital and a haven for cruise-ship tourism, are hard-pressed to find signs of the state’s most famous citizen—no “Mama Grizzly” memorabilia or T-shirts bearing her spunky slogans. Although the town was buzzing with politics because the legislature was in session, talk of Palin mainly revolved around a rumored Democratic poll showing her to be less popular in Alaska right now than Barack Obama. The only tangible evidence I saw was her official portrait in the capitol and a small sign in the window of a seedy-looking gift shop advertising “Sarah Palin toilet paper.” Alaska has moved on.

So has Palin. Two years after abruptly resigning the governorship, she is a national figure, touring the country to promote her books; speaking out whenever moved to on important issues of the day; and serving, mainly through Fox News, as the guardian-enforcer of a particularly martial brand of conservatism. Though she still lives in Alaska, she has all but withdrawn from its public life, appearing only seldom and then usually to film her reality-television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

But if she decides to run for the White House—and she’ll have to make up her mind soon—all of that will change. As much as Alaska might like to forget Sarah Palin, and she it, her record there, especially as governor, will take on new salience.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. WakeUpAmerica
    May 11, 2011 @ 19:52:08

    Phhhhhttt! I say it’s time for people everywhere to start leaving little Sarah Palin flags in dog poo piles. Could you see it? All over America.


  2. diz
    May 11, 2011 @ 20:57:10

    I feel your joy. It’s much like the glee many of us felt watching the stacks of Arnuld the Governator paraphernalia gathering dust at the airport shops just waiting to be moved over to the clearance bin. Hey tourists, those tee-shirts do make excellent car wash rags and they’re only a buck!

    Isn’t there a retirement island for disgraced and rebuked ex-guvs out there somewhere???


  3. Just_a_Mote
    May 11, 2011 @ 23:33:27

    The Tragedy of Sarah Palin… can we rewind that back to mitosis?


  4. Sarah HalfTime
    May 12, 2011 @ 00:04:49


    Worst Govenor Ever

    3 simple words that pack a pretty simple concept.
    It should be a beer name from one of our Alaskan brewerys.
    They could sell it on the Alaska Railroad.
    WGE Beer. Make it cheap and simple.


  5. climber357
    May 12, 2011 @ 03:25:25

    Always roaring loudest has made sarah harmful to her supporters. As a prevaricator who makes a point of presenting every issue in the most confrontational style possible, sarah represents a minority among conservatives, let alone the country at large. The best they can hope for is a live-and-let-live attitude that gives minorities like theirs room to flourish. Many have already come to rue their allegiance to sarah. If sarah runs, the pushback will be fierce and, hopefully, permanent.


  6. AlaskanAlsoII
    May 12, 2011 @ 05:04:10

    All that research Joshua Green did on Alaska’s oil-rich history and put in the article was a lot more than Sarah could have possibly processed or retained in her tiny reptilian brain to give her the ‘energy expertise’ she brags about all the time.

    Joe McGinnis’s piece for that now defunct magazine was even more thoroughly researched and spelled out Palin’s fling with executing over oil issues under the People’s dime.

    Joshua failed to mention that Sarah’s top three pieces of legislation that caught McCain’s eye are dead or dying – Ethics Reform, ACES and AGIA. She ‘quit’ her elected position to progress Alaska without a title, not once did she write in, phone it in or testify to save these signature pieces of legislation she defined her career with. It isn’t a successful tenure if she not only quit, but failed to sustain it. Curious measure of success here, no wonder she’s still around as a quasi-political figure.


  7. CO
    May 12, 2011 @ 07:55:59

    She deserves whatever ‘shunning’ comes her way, to borrow a relig
    phrase. She hyped and kyped from everyone and everything along her meandering trail of tv-land characterature.
    The rw attempted to put this inane woman-person-child in the WH.
    Inside the WH!
    Im not sure who is worse; herself or those who thought they could
    fool the American people with this nitwit, while trying to contrive the
    Presidency and the WH for the sake of a neocon agenda.
    They should all be shunned.
    A true historical embarrassment.


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