09.30.2009 0

Let Sarah Be Sarah

  • On: 10/27/2009 09:21:31
  • In: Sarah Palin
  • by David Bozeman

    Dennis Miller decided this week that Sarah Palin, for agreeing to appear on Oprah when her book debuts, has forfeited the right to call herself ‘rogue.’ While conceding that her appearance would sell a lot of books, he chided her for going mainstream, for entering the “belly of the beast.”

    Perhaps because of her youth and unpredictability, Sarah Palin is like a walking game board onto which pundits like to project their political strategies — and, of course, everyone thinks their pearls of wisdom make them the next James Carville or Karl Rove.

    Certainly every political star receives unsolicited advice from all segments of the voting public, and the sharp twists and turns in Palin’s political life invite the speculation she has garnered. But the question bears asking: does one surrender his or her outsider status by appearing on Oprah? In 1993 Rush Limbaugh, like William F. Buckley before him, was interviewed by the liberal Playboy, and to this day he retains the title of unofficial spokesman for the American conservative movement.

    Is the mark of ‘outsider’ really worth forgoing an audience of millions, many of whom may well be inspired by her words? Richard Nixon appeared on Laugh-In, and the predominantly liberal entertainment industry continued to loathe him, so sleep well, Dennis, all is well.

    Ann Coulter, in naming Palin ‘Conservative of the Year,’ advised her to gain stature and skip 2012. Still, Coulter, who has defended Palin against the most scurrilous of attacks, merits a pass. Not so for another conservative, Cal Thomas, for his condescending July column entitled ‘Sarah Palin: A Collapsed Souffle,’ in which he graciously offers Mrs. Palin a to-do list. “Do not become a pundit,” he advises, though radio addresses would be fine. Also, she should hire a speech coach to adjust her tone, and ‘You betcha’ should be banned from her vocabulary. He continues with, “Hit the books” and brush up on world history and be ready to reel off answers to tough questions like a Jeopardy! champion. But for the topper, sounding more like a judge on America’s Next Top Model than the first-rate columnist that he is, he recommends a makeover, so that her appearance doesn’t detract from her message.

    Hey, Cal, she tried that. That was the point of her glasses and school-marm hair-do. The woman is lovely. She can’t hide it, nor should she try. Still, Thomas’ pointers are not without merit, and she, no doubt, employs a circle of trusted advisors, likely telling her some of the same things. Nonetheless, Sarah Palin was plucked from relative obscurity in 2008 as a true Washington outsider in a sea of pretenders. Her rogue status, together with authenticity and against-all-odds determination are what define her. She alone can decide whether or not to go on Oprah. Much of her political life has defied the warnings of the ‘experts’ — that’s what people like about her. And when she appears, she will be the same as if she were a guest on the Fox News Channel.

    Again, that’s what people like about her, so take a pill, Dennis.

    Public life does not need another blow-dried, pre-processed, sound bite-spewing drone. If Cal Thomas and the other armchair pundits had had their way, the world might never have seen the Sarah who knocked it out of the ballpark at the Republican Convention and who more than held her own against the more seasoned Joe Biden.

    Conservatives such as Thomas are perhaps afraid that Palin will slip up and confirm the left’s perception that she is a backwater hick with barely a double-digit IQ. The Dennis Millers fear that her slightest foray into the mainstream will irrevocably taint her highly regarded outsider status. Conservatives need to have faith and just let Sarah be Sarah and lose these demeaning to-do lists. Palin is not some guttersnipe who needs a transformation before she can dance at the political ball with the respectable Washington class.

    In fact, the truth could be just the opposite, that maybe our leaders should strive to be more like Sarah and not the other way around. Political fortune often falls to those who defy conventional wisdom, so stay your course, Sarah. And stay rogue.

    David Bozeman is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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