The McCain/Palin campaign in 2008 provided a glimpse of what might happen in 2012. “The Undefeated” has her eyes on the big prize, and you know what that means. It means that scores of her fanatical supporters will be in a frenzy, and they will do virtually everything to push their hero. I am convinced that the upcoming 2012 campaign will be one of the dirtiest and ugliest campaigns the USA has ever seen.
I also believe that Sarah Palin has a good chance to become the Republican nominee. The myth of her being Joan from Alaska or Queen Esther II is still alive and well in the minds of her followers, as ridiculous as it seems. Up until now not one of her many scandals have been able to destroy this fantasy image, mainly thanks to Sarah Palin’s proactive condemnation of large parts of the media being “lamestream”: They are biased, they have an agenda, don’t trust them, if they report anything which sounds bad, it’s won’t be the truth. Sarah Palin has great talent in spotting and exploiting the prejudices and beliefs of her base. She is a gifted demagogue, and she has a support network, still including the Governor’s office in Alaska.
I am aware that many people find it difficult to even imagine that she will run. But Sarah Palin has been plotting her run for President for years, and I doubt very much that she will abandon her plans at this point.
I am shocked to see how Sarah Palin’s hateful attitudes, for example, towards her perceived arch enemy, the “lamestream media”, has become quite a popular meme in public, and how many people believe that Sarah Palin has been treated unfairly because of the recent publication of the 24000+ emails. It’s apparently a “witchhunt” to ask for accountability. Although the emails had been redacted to death by ever-reliable the State of Alaska, naive and ill-informed commentators across the country still thought that Sarah Palin had been persecuted. I have no doubt that virtually all of her fans believe this as well.
But who are her fans? What drives them, what is their mindset, and why is it so easy to manipulate them? Some of these questions have already been explored during the 2008 campaign, and HBO produced an excellent documentary called “Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail.” This documentary was created by Alexandra Pelosi, a journalist, writer and filmmaker – and daughter of Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul. Alexandra Pelosi was not a “newcomer” on the campaign trail, far from it: In 2000 she produced the documentary “Journeys with George” about her 18-months travels with George W. Bush on the campaign trail. The film received six Emmy nominations, and in 2004 Pelosi followed the Democratic candidates on the campaign trail and shot the film “Diary of a Political Tourist.” She also published a book in 2005 with the promising title “Sneaking Into the Flying Circus: How the Media Turn Our Presidential Campaigns into Freak Shows.”
Pelosi’s film about the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign is also available on Google Video, and therefore we should use this opportunity to watch this fascinating and riveting documentary, as the ghosts from the past are expected to rise again soon:
Alexandra Pelosi gave a spot-on interview about the documentary in 2009:
There seems to be a significant group of voters existing in the USA who feel “disenfranchised”, and whose power should not be underestimated. As I said before, in “normal” circumstances, somebody like Sarah Palin would be considered a laughing stock. But times are not “normal.” No practical solutions are visible for the huge challenges that the USA faces: High long-term unemployment, a mountain of debt, the continuing involvement in two (or three) wars. Billions and billions of dollars have been squandered through the overwhelming desire to be the policeman of the world. This money is now missing at home, and the historic lesson that the costs of war can bring down empires has apparently been forgotten.
Looking at these events from a European perspective, living in Germany in which the level of unemployment is now even below the “pre-crisis” level (and at its lowest since 1992), the situation in the USA looks very bleak and worrisome. I am deeply troubled by the fact that politicians in the USA seem unable to implement effective solutions, but apparently mainly use the crisis for political gain. Hopefully I am missing something important. But I fear that many voters might turn to the next available alternative to President Obama – and if the Republican nominee is Sarah Palin, it might just be her, even if many voters will know that she is not the sharpest tool in the box. The next 1 1/2 years will be a huge challenge, and I am afraid that 2008 was only a relatively mild prelude. Hopefully I will be wrong with this assessment.