Oh, let the screed begin. My goodness folks I read something today, on Journalismgossip.com, that just about knocked me out of my seat. If you are a regular reader, that would be about three of you and you know who you are, then you know my stance on the GOP and to a greater extent on Sarah Palin. I have written at length about her and the issues I disagree with the GOP on, which is just about all of them, and this woman seems to have nine lives in her, she just won’t die out. I have a hard time getting my head around her disgust for the media; a media that is the only reason she, or any one, is anybody. She seems to lash out at everyone around her while never taking responsibility for herself or admitting that she is politically illiterate and inept in speaking on policy or even what newspapers she reads. The latest speculation made by Jon Friedman of MarketWatch is so extensively riddled with logical holes and of such an inflammatory nature that even I was horrified, and I’ve written the phrase “raping the bill of rights”. His argument that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be a ‘shrewd’ choice for succeeding Oprah on her show in 2011 is ludicrous. Do you want to live in a world where you hear Sarah Palin and her campy advice delivered via her shrill voice in one hour blocks in the afternoon? I don’t either.
We all know Sarah, she’s the woman that looks a lot like Tina Fey, and we know her history. We have all heard her speak, seen the Couric interview, heard her skewer the very media she feeds on while hocking a best-selling book, which needs media coverage to sell. We have heard her pass the buck in every direction but her own. She has lambasted the McCain people for ‘handling’ her, though, if you’ve been in this country a decade as a sentient creature, you know that every campaign and candidate is ‘handled’. A campaign is a performance, an act, of epic proportions, and is the most delicate, expensive Broadway production to orchestrate; Sarah, if you didn’t know this going in, it is your own fault, your ignorance of the national scene is of your own doing. This is the Sarah we know, an orator of the poorest quality drenched in hypocrisy after her morning breakfast of ‘stupid flakes’ that stumbled haphazardly in to our lives. I am sorry I didn’t see it coming when I was living in Alaska, I could have warned you all.
This is Palin, and as Jon Friedman would like you to believe, this is the best candidate to take over for Oprah when she steps down from her throne as the queen of the talk show. Seriously? Jon, have you ever watched Oprah? Did you see the Couric interview? There is no possible way that you think that Palin is a good fit for day time television, she can barely speak about anything but Alaskan fishing and her daughters ex without slipping up every other word. Oprah garners a high and deserved respect form her viewers, and frankly everyone in this country, as she is a mindfully measured and educated woman. Oprah has carved out the most epic talk show during the day that rivals the ‘institution’ and ‘tradition’ that Carson on the Tonight Show carved out in late night. Oprah is epic on an international scale that rivals Princess Diana in her lifetime. Palin is not suited for day time talk, especially not Oprah’s turf; the best Sara can muster is a poor impersonation of Kathy Lee, or at best a tundra redneck version of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but Oprah she is not.
There are a myriad of reasons Palin would not be the best choice for the position. Sarah Palin was a politician, she quit her last job (I hope it really is the last) and if she fosters any delusions to be in politics ever again she needs to focus on that. Let’s say she does take the Oprah spot somehow, do you think she can justify leaving after a month to go campaigning for the 2012 general election? It is not unlike her treatment of the position of Governor, but it is close. No way, so if she wants to run in 2012 it would make no sense for her to take such a pivotal TV position in the public spotlight and then leave abruptly to run for President. It would just be more quitting, and her record really can’t take another withdrawal from responsibilities. The timetable alone would make it impossible for her to run in 2012, which I think would be her goal.
If Palin were thinking about taking this gig and running in 2016 for GOP candidate then it is a whole new conversation. She might be able to justify taking such a public position during the interim time before the election in 2016, but how could this adversely effect her viability as a Republican candidate? If she were doing the show she would not be able to take a public office of some kind. Do you think she could campaign in 2016 as a former partial-term Governor of Alaska dating back to 2008, 8 years ago? That could not be her only public service. ‘Talk show host’ on her resume would not put her in a good light as a candidate in six years for anybody but her followers that love her not matter what. Palin would not be able to learn more about government, put together a track record of service, and good policy decisions to campaign on. She would be the host of “Sarah”, not a public servant ready to lead this country. You cannot go from competing with soap operas for rating to competing with Democrats for votes, she would get crushed.
My second concern is that she would be an utter failure. Palin would get beaten mercilessly in the rating by openly gay Ellen and the drop dead gorgeous Tyra Banks. Palin, a former Governor, would be pummeled by a gay woman and a swimsuit model, as much as I would pay to see that three way in action, how would that look for a woman who would be seeking the highest office in the free world to tarnish the Oprah legacy and be beaten by women she thinks are a sinning, second-class citizen and a media whore…embarrassing.
There is no way Palin could do the kind of shows Oprah did, on some of the subject matter Oprah addressed in such a careful and respectful manner. Oprah did those shows that could really make skin crawl and somehow was able to put her audience at ease with it. Sarah Palin would not be able to do the same show, and if, as Friedman suggests, they take a more political angle in programming, there isn’t a soccer mom out there that wants to try and wrap their heads around sensitive, complicated issues while folding laundry and keeping an eye on kids back from school after a long day. The programming of a more political show in Oprah’s slot would be a disaster. Palin’s ratings would drop like Conan replacing Leno at 11:35. Conan was a God for the late night drunken crowd. His audience was more off-color, risque, and lewd, with a sense of humor that Conan fit perfectly. So fits Palin in to her specific base that loves her no matter her faults and defends her every blunder, but she does not fit the national audience, we know that, there have been more than a couple of polls and a 2008 election that proves that. These are the very same polls you should be looking at for market-researching her as a replacement for a day time talk goddess like Oprah.
The biggest issue I would see is the hypocrisy that would be evident if she were to join the media machine which has been her scapegoat for everything she has had to ‘endure’. This is the same woman that went on SNL, playing to the machine. The same machine she hates hocked her books for her with reviews and coverage. The machine has now kept her in the public spotlight, this awful machine that puts out propaganda and twists her words…indeed, that machine. East coast biased media is the source of all that is wrong with this country, the decay of traditional family values. Palin, you cannot talk of ‘traditional family values’, you don’t have a traditional family; is the media today the reason your daughter got knocked up out of wedlock? In the old days she would have been stoned as a whore…how ‘bout them traditional values, I’m going biblical on your ass, so beat that.
Palin cannot, with a straight face, say that she can join this liberal media while holding on to her values and shooting from the hip, not on network television. Friedman contests that she could be uncensored. CBS would not accept a politically biased show on the air in that slot. The audience would not respond to it, and you can bet advertisers would pull out while other stepped up. Palin would probably not fit in this slot just based on the inherent demographic and the design of the show for the last 24 years. From a corporate view CBS taking on Palin, a former GOP candidate for vice president, with not so secret desires to be president one day, would be at risk at getting themselves in a quagmire with NBC and Fox News as the show went on and she said things that were inflammatory or worth talking about. Palin would definitely be ‘handled’ by executives and be subject to constant ridicule from all fronts. If she thinks a show like this would help her in any way, she is as ignorant as I thought she was. The regular fodder she would provide for the comedians and pundits out there would cause her more of the ‘suffering’ that she is apparently sick of. It would make no sense for her to put herself in a daily position to be shot at regularly by those same people she would stand next to in rank and file as part of the American media she seemingly despises yet lives vicariously through. You can’t say you hate the media if you have a facebook page or a twitter account, it’s not allowed!
Palin is better off leaving the talk shows to those with the intellectual stamina to be interesting and entertaining all the time. She does not have the chops to jump through TV hoops and gimmicks. As such, if she can’t do TV at all then I definitely don’t think she has the chops to be a politicians, which is more hoop jumping, performing, and careful word craft that only the best snake oil salesmen can do. I just don’t think Palin has the sales pitch for either of these jobs. That being said, with time and the right people around her in a political office she can rise above being the butt of jokes and really become a powerful politician, not just a popular face; the difference here is staggering, which she doesn’t understand. Palin cannot do a talk show if she wants to be in politics, and can’t be a politician if she wants to do a talk show. She needs to make up her mind as to how she wants to profit off this fame, and I hope she gets a show no matter how bad it is, because she is political poison today and makes a laughing stock of her party. If she truly wants to be a public servant and make a difference then she needs to get back in to politics and be a sponge of learning and start making lasting policy decisions she can campaign on. If she does this, actively grows as a politician and ups her governing IQ, staying away from being a talk show host (radio or TV) then I think she might actually pose a threat as a candidate at a national level, until then she stands as a pretty punchline, mixed with Alaskan disgrace, and a hint of hypocrisy. A great talk show guest, but definitely no Oprah.