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Sarah Palin is not a politician, so don't take ex-Alaska governor so seriously

Aaron Jansen illustration

All Wasilla's Sarah Palin ever really wanted was attention, and the time has come for Alaskans of all stripes -- left, right and center; conservative, liberal, libertarian, independent and borderline anarchist; short, tall, fat, thin, ugly and beautiful -- to accept it. The days of Gov. Palin, and the even shorter days of vice-presidential candidate Palin, were bus stops on the road to celebrity.

Everyone who knows Palin well knows she had no real interest in politics, or at least not politics as defined in Merriam-Webster's dictionary: "The art or science of government."

What Palin wanted from politics was the same thing she wanted from beauty pageants and television, the two places where her career began. She wanted attention. She got a little as Wasilla mayor. She got more as a candidate for lieutenant governor. She hit the jackpot when she was elected governor. And she shot the moon when Sen. John McCain went off the ranch and into the wilds to pick her as his running mate in a bid for the presidency.

That the McCain-Palin ticket lost at the polls Palin might now have forgotten because she long ago moved on to bigger and better things, like being Sarah Palin and expanding the Palin-family brand to the point where the Palins are today the Kardashians of Alaska. Alaskans need to accept this and enjoy the ride. Quit worrying about Palin political agendas, whether they are the stuff of your sweet dreams or nightmares, and just enjoy the show.

Allow yourself to laugh when Sarah, hubby Todd, and other minor-league celebrities join a monkey at a Beverly Hills publicity event. It's Sarahworld. She doesn't care how she looks politically, why should you?

Did you watch the reality show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" featuring the mother of one unwed, pregnant teenager who lets her other unwed teenager sneak up to the bedroom with her boyfriend, and the ex-governor who can't shoot straight -- both being one and the same Sarah? Sure, there are those out there in the America Looney Land who think Palin is the second-coming of Ronald Reagan, but ignore them. Marijuana grows wild in a lot of Midwestern states; you can get high just breathing the air after a brush fire.

Look, all you need to know is this: Reagan made "Bedtime for Bonzo," a movie in which he starred with a chimp BEFORE he got started in politics. The year was 1951, and Reagan was a 40-year-old actor with, at best, a passing interesting in politics. He didn't get politically active until years later when he became a spokesman for General Electric. He didn't get seriously involved in politics until the mid-1960s. He gave up being an actor to become a politician, not the other way around.

After his defeat in the 1976 Republican presidential primary (Reagan lost to Gerald Ford), he didn't go home to make "Ronald Reagan's California" or to encourage daughter Patti to maneuver her way onto "Match Game," the "Dancing with the Stars" of the period, or encourage wife Nancy to do any sort of TV, let alone something like "Stars Earn Stripes."

No. With the election lost, Reagan retreated to his ranch to study up. He had the issues down well enough to put President Jimmy Carter, a serious policy wonk, on the ropes in the 1980 Presidential debate. Palin, after losing the 2008 election, studied only well enough to be convinced to float the idea there were "death panels" proposed in national health care legislation. She tossed that zinger out in 2009. More than a few conservatives had been thinking it might stick to President Barack Obama like you know what, but none were crazy enough to make such a claim. So they got Sarah to do it, sort of like using the dumb kid in school: "Hey, let's get Mikey to say it!"

Sarah said it. The country said, 'What did she just say?' There was much debate. Sarah won Politifact's "Lie of the Year Award." There was more debate about whether she'd told an actual, honest-to-God, black and white, irrefutable untruth. But it really didn't matter. Death panels weren't the issue. Attention was the issue and Palin, once again, proved she could get it.

Then she followed the death panels with her dog-and-pony "One Nation Bus Tour," which crisscrossed the country getting the faithful all excited she might run for president, which, of course, she didn't. But she did show up in Iowa, an important caucus state, to again cause a ruckus. The goal, of course, was simple:

ATTENTION.

Sarah craves attention the way a junkie craves a fix. So it was no big surprise when she showed up at that Hollywood party featuring a monkey. The media, which she loves to hate, was sure to be there, and thus the chance for media attention. She got it, too: "Sarah and Todd Palin attend NBC's press tour party, compete for attention with a monkey," The Washington Post headlined.

We at Alaska Dispatch picked up the story and played it for a laugh or two. The world needs more humor. If Sarah can laugh at herself and her whole family, why shouldn't all Alaskans enjoy laughing along with them? Somebody got all bent out of shape, however.

"I don't know how to accept this," Larry Lemons (could that possibly be a real name) posted on Alaska Dispatch's Facebook page. "I see no 'humor' in it, am I missing something?"

Yes, Larry, you are missing three things there: A sense of humor, a period after "it," and a capital "A" on "Am." One should feel sorry for Lemons, who having missed the humor, added that "I'm up to her with Palin bashing...and those who see fit to 'bash' her overlook obungle getting away with bashing the Constitution of the United States, the US Military, the US Flag and those who aren't of his liking, meaning 'the citizens' of the US of A in general!!!"

Note to Lemons: There are lot more people than just Obungle (Is that a cute play on 'Obama of the Jungle'?) out bashing the Constitution, and we try not to overlook any of them. We've spent a lot of time, in fact, trying to track down what the Constitution bashers under the direction of the Bush Administration tried to do to the late Sen. Ted Stevens. You might want to study up on how they danced with hobnailed boots on the constitutional protections designed to protect all Americans from wrongful prosecution.

Meanwhile, you need to recognize we're not bashing Sarah or the rest of the Palin gang. We're playing along with the Palins. We're doin' our part.

As Sarah herself might have described this, "We're there, you know, as Palin rears her head and comes into the Webspace of the state of Alaska. Where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful celebrity, Palin, because she is right there, she is right there in our state."

Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch. Alaska Dispatch welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.