Thursday, the rise of Donald Trump as a malignant political force was the cause of an outbreak of Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome in the mind of a writer from Chicago named Steve Chapman. Chapman draws a direct line between Trump becoming the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and the rise of Palin as a political force of nature when she was selected as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Palin, you see, is simply Trump in a skirt, something that may be hard for the rest of us to imagine, despite the fact that the lady from Alaska has endorsed and even campaigned for the mercurial real estate tycoon and reality TV star.
Chapman finds the popularity of Palin inexplicable. In his judgment “The ensuing months and years exposed Palin as a glib egomaniac with a penchant for lying who knew little about national and international affairs (and cared less).”
Speaking of knowing little about national and international affairs, Chapman recently wrote about the foreign policy of the current president, “–blaming Obama for the upheaval is like arriving in town after the tornado and blaming the Red Cross for the wreckage. History is more likely to give him credit for adopting a sober strategy and making it work.” That assessment would come as a great surprise to people in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and the Ukraine. If this is adopting a sober strategy and making it work, one wonders what failure is like. Chapman is also pretty sure that human-caused global warming is real and that the Iran nuclear deal is a sensible agreement and not, as most believe, a modern-day Munich.
Chapman likes to paint Palin as a dim country bumpkin but fails to note that she is smart enough to understand that Obamacare, the intervention in Libya, the passivity in the face of ISIS, and a number of other disasters wrought by the current president were horrible ideas. The super genius who now resides in the White House has not yet grasped that truth.
Chapman is right in that the rise of Palin and that of Trump come from similar causes. A great many Americans resent how political elites not only have mishandled governance but look down on ordinary people who have complained about it. However, differences exist. Palin was a pretty effective governor of Alaska whose subsequent political career changed the face of American government, helping to deliver Congress to the Republicans. Trump is a bloviating blowhard with a talent for demagoguery and insights into what irks ordinary Americans. A Palin presidency would have been far better than the one we’re stuck with now. A Trump presidency would be a calamity.
Ironically, Palin has helped to arrange the rise of another politician who might save the country from either a Trump or a Hillary Clinton presidency. Cruz both understands what ails the country and what to do about it. During a crucial moment in the 2012 Texas Senate race, Palin provided Ted Cruz the boost he needed to win, something that the senator and presidential candidate acknowledge to this day. That Palin seems to have had a falling out with Cruz and is thus opposing him for the presidency is as inexplicable as it is tragic. Her problem is not any of the scurrilous things that Palin haters like Chapman say. Her problem is that she has lost her way and has gone over to the dark side, from which there may be no coming back.