The Palin Prophesies

Author: Barrett Rainey

For more than a year, your old scribe, deep in the forest of Southwest Oregon, has been prophesying the former elected temp in the Alaska Governor’s office would not run for president.

Like a salmon swimming the wrong way in a political river, I watched other talking heads swear it was just a matter of time until this over-exposed caricature of a small town mayor threw herself into the swift national waters of presidential politics. It ain’t happened and ain’t gonna.

Now I’m noticing some other journalistic salmon swimming to the right and left of me in the same direction. It was bound to happen. Not because I’m so smart or prescient. But because the flame always lasts longer than any one moth. And I’ve known a lot of political moths.

Any self-respecting pheasant will tell you if you want to survive to fly again, you’ve gotta get through hunting season with a low profile. Pick your time to be airborne. While hunters are shooting at other birds.

Watching the other candidate birds fly off in another direction, Ms. Palin put herself up in the air two years ago and hasn’t come down since. Like a pheasant drunk on some wild berry, she’s flown all over the place at all altitudes, saying “Here I am. Over here. Now I’m over here. Keep watching me.” An appealing … if not too bright … target.

Aside from being the poster child for the oft-proven theory that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, from the outset of her journey, Palin has followed the public career path of Lindsay Lohan and is headed for the same end. “Too much too soon” would be a great epitaph if the Barrymore’s hadn’t already used it.

Again, I’m not taking credit for being out front on this. Not by a long shot. And, ultimately, I may be wrong. But there have been two very large clues.

First, our society’s continual clamor for celebrities. They can be empty-headed “starlets” bombed out of their gourds on the latest recreational chemistry, showing skin to the public only a dermatologist should see. They can be sports figures with squeaky clean lives or trash-talking egos fresh from their latest felony convictions. They can be humanitarians or mass murderers. But we bestow public celebrity, fast riches and our temporary attention. But always temporary. There’s a whole generation for whom the initials “O.J.” mean only orange juice.

No matter the familiar face or excuse for national prominence at any given time, as a nation, we soon tire of ‘em and they disappear from the covers of fan magazines and are no longer seen on the latest “entertainment” show. They’re consigned to the celebrity scrap heap along with all the others who were last years “must see” flotsam.

The second clear indicator of Palin’s disinterest in running for president came, at least to me, when she copyrighted her name. And her daughter’s. Copyrights are used for only one thing: name and image protection. The basic reason is to legally stop others from marketing your name or likeness if they haven’t paid a fee for the right to slap your image on some sort of product. In Palin’s case, at least at the moment, I suspect a very large fee.

Imagine you come up with a deep brown, fizzy soda-like liquid while experimenting at home. Your friends say it tastes like Coca-Cola. “Couldn’t tell ‘em apart,” they say. So, you start bottling the stuff and trying to sell it as “Coke.” Yeah. Right. For just as long as it takes for the first news to get to the Atlanta headquarters and the legal department to crank out the first “stop immediately or go directly to jail” email. Copyrighted. Just like what’s-her-name.

Serious people in politics do not – repeat DO NOT – try to keep others from using their names or likeness. They want their name everywhere and on everything. For free. Create a comic character or a line of t-shirts? Have at it! Kewpie dolls? Got for it! When you take legal steps to keep that from happening, it means one thing: it won’t happen unless you pay. That’s major self-interest, private enterprise talking, Baby. Not electoral politics.

Our political landscape and national economic conditions have changed greatly since John McCain jerked Palin from her well-deserved anonymity in Alaska three years ago. Her most recent emails, tweets and speeches show she’s still rolling in past campaign rhetoric, still has no idea how to get a handle on the problems we face today, is void of serious solutions, couldn’t provide leadership to get a thirsty horse to water and enjoys being a smartass on Fox.

There’s a big difference between quips and quotes. To everyone but her and the willfully blind who’d follow her off a cliff. And there soon won’t be enough of them to get her re-elected to the Wasilla city council. They’ll tire of her “sameness” and will be drawn to someone else. That’s the downside of celebrity.

President Palin? No, I don’t think so. Unless you’re talking about the Wasilla chapter of the NRA.

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