Either Sarah Palin is seriously considering a return to electoral politics, or she’s satisfied with her continued role as a psychobomb lurking on the fringes of the discourse, occasionally popping off a new geyser of insanity every now and then just to see how everyone else, specifically liberals, will react. I suppose we could apply either motive to her eulogy of Margaret Thatcher inThe National Review, titled “The Grocer’s Daughter,” but one thing’s for sure: it was a screed that was almost entirely about Palin herself than a tribute to Thatcher — not surprising given Palin’s notorious reputation as, among other things, a narcissistic self-promoter and national instigator.
In fact, the essay (clearly ghost-written) reads like one of those awkward confessions that begin with, “I have this, um, friend and, errr, no one understands me — I mean, my friend. Not me. Did I say ‘me?'” In just about every paragraph about the late former British Prime Minister, we could easily substitute the pronouns and proper names with Palin-specific names and pronouns. She was clearly using Thatcher’s death as a means of comparing herself to Thatcher for her own weirdo, grifter motives, which appear to include setting herself up to be The Next Thatcher. The Iron Punchline. The Chick-Fil-Lady. Put another way, Palin basically wrote that she and Thatcher are the same — look at all these examples! — therefore she deserves to be taken just as seriously.
Let’s break it down.
1. “She was a grocer’s daughter from the back of beyond who advanced to the height of power in a class-conscious society.”
We’re supposed to recall that Palin comes from the backwoods of Alaska, from humble means. Palin’s also suggesting here that her Wasilla White Trash background is difficult to overcome given all of the elites who think simple-minded red state folks are dumbstupids. Hmm. I wonder how anyone would get that impression from Palin?
2. “Like her friend Ronald Reagan, she was an underestimated underdog and political outsider. Simon Jenkins, the former editor of the Evening Standard, once said, ‘There was no Thatcher group within the Tory Party. . . . She was utterly and completely on her own. She simply was an outsider in every way.'”
Naturally, everyone underestimates Sarah Palin as a nobody who’s out of her depth. Being “completely on her own” is, of course, a reference to always “going rogue” — Palin’s coopting of the McCain “maverick” brand.
3. “She was at heart a populist taking on the Conservative party’s old guard, who disdainfully referred to her as ‘That Woman.’ The disdain was mutual.”
This is probably a reference to the “old guard” members of the McCain campaign who tried to suppress her vision for the 2008 campaign — just because she’s a women. Of course she’s not self-aware enough to realize that it had nothing to do with her femininity and everything to do with the fact that she’s totally out of her gourd and utterly incapable of anything deeper than a word-salady zinger.
4. “…she wasn’t afraid of having strong opinions and fighting for them — something the establishment often found distasteful.”
It seems as though Palin’s analysis of her own gaffes and hyperbolic nonsense is that the establishment simply regards all of it as distasteful. They just don’t get her special brand of wisdom. Underscore special. But it’s not just distasteful, it’s entirely inaccurate and poorly-worded. It’s like a cocktail of amateurish, eighth-grade forensics gibberish (with apologies to eighth graders). Distasteful? How about simultaneously and unapologetically wrong, and that’s only the stuff that comes out in the form of a complete sentence.
5. “And, of course, like all conservatives and trailblazers, she had to endure more than her share of vicious media attacks. Sir Archie Hamilton once recounted how he asked Thatcher whether she read the daily newspapers. “‘Oh no!’ she replied, ‘They make such hurtful and damaging remarks about me and my family, that if I ever read the papers every day, I could never get on with the job I am here to do.'” I know exactly what she meant.
There you go. She’s talking about herself and explicitly admits it here. The lamestream media attacked Thatcher just like the lamestream media’s always attacks me. The calculation: if they attacked Thatcher, and they attack Palin, Palin must be doing similarly good things, thus Palin must be like Thatcher.
6. “And as she said, ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.'”
First, both Thatcher and Palin are radically mistaken. In politics, personal attacks come with the territory and are often used to enhance political attacks. That’s not to say ad hominem insults are always well-respected, but noting that someone (Palin) is totally unqualified for presidential office, is intellectually incurious and can barely string together a sentence is a fair observation about someone who could’ve been a heartbeat away from the presidency. Second, is it me or does it seem as if Palin’s personal ghost writer has been collecting Thatcherisms that can be specifically applied to Palin herself. I’ll wager there’s a folder on the ghost writer’s desktop that’s titled “Thatcher Quotes About Sarah.”
7. “A leader of a conservative think tank behind the Thatcher revolution famously said, ‘We were not interested in political office for the Conservative party. We were interested in power for them to get things done.’ And that’s exactly what Thatcher did.”
Perhaps Palin is hinting at her future role in the conservative movement here: not as a candidate, but as a consultant. Certainly this coincides nicely with her latest Look-At-Me-I’m-Awesome movie trailer in which she ballyhoos her knack for helping conservative “outsiders” get elected.
I think you get the idea. Look, I’m no fan of Margaret Thatcher, but history teaches us that she was a considerably more gifted and capable politician than Sarah Palin could ever hope to be. She never quit her post. She never had to write “tax cuts” on her hand or risk forgetting the conservative movement’s biggest policy position. She never exploited herself and her family in a string of self-parodying reality shows. She could probably name some of the newspapers she perused every day, and she would never tell a national television audience that she could handle the Soviets because she could see Russia from London. Thatcher would never embarrass herself by blurting out crap like “lamestream media” or by guzzling a Super Big Gulp like a shitkicking rube during a major address to conservative supporters.
Speaking of which, as we review the above Thatcher quotes, I wonder what words of wisdom future Sarah Palin admirers will use in similar eulogies. Perhaps, “I love that smell of the emissions!” Or, “I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree.” Or, “Who hijacked term: ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it’s ironic (& passé)” Or, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” Or, “That thankfully our founders were wise enough to say we have this position and it’s constitutional — vice president will be able to be not only the position flexible, but it’s gonna be those other duties as assigned by the president. A simple thing.”
I could be mistaken, but in the volumes of speeches and remarks penned by Thatcher, I seriously doubt she was ever brazen enough to publish a eulogy for a fallen world leader that was almost entirely a self-conscious defense of Thatcher’s own flaws.
Other than sharing some ideological overlap (anyone can boast such a thing) and two X chromosomes, Sarah Palin has nothing else in common with Thatcher, and she never will.