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Please Go Away, Gov. Palin

January 9, 2009 - John Whittaker
Q. What do Sarah Palin and my emerging Buddha belly have in common?
A. They both need to disappear. Like, right now.
Unfortunately, only exercise and a willpower booster shot to steak, macaroni and cheese, cookies, Combos and the occasional Sam Adams Boston Lager can help my belly get smaller.
Which means I have about as much control over my belly as I do getting Sarah Palin to pipe down for a while.
Get this.
Palin has decided Caroline Kennedy, who has read hundreds of stories in newspapers across the state questioning her qualifications to be a U.S. Senator, is getting easier treatment from the press than Palin did earlier this year.
"I've been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be,' Palin said in an interview posted on YouTube earlier this week.
It makes perfect sense that coverage of a U.S. Senate seat and the vice presidency of the UNITED STATES are the same office. It's reasonable to expect having 1,500 newspapers, plus constant CNN and FOXNews attention wouldn't generate more discussion than running for a seat in New York state. Of course, being the campaign attack dog in a national election, as a vice presidential candidate should be, should generate less press attention than asking to be appointed to a Senate seat.
Sarah, let me tell you this -- I love your logic.
Under your logic, the Whitless Wonder is competing with Bill Simmons and George Will for readers and Pulitzer prizes, and I'll be the starting center for the Syracuse Orange on Sunday (instead of playing in my fun game Sunday at the YMCA).
It's a matter of scale, you dolt. Whoever told you to do that interview should be fired. Right now.
I'll tell you, though, that I wouldn't mind it much if she said it and stuck by it. You think Caroline Kennedy has it easier than you did? Fine. You have a right to think that way, and I would respect you for sticking to your opinion. I might not agree with it, but at least you're sticking with something.
Don't do what you did next.
On Friday, Palin's office put out a news release trying to clarify what she said in the interview and blaming the media for distorting what she said.
Palin's playbook is as stale and repetitive as the wash cycle on my washing machine. Say something stupid, issue press release blaming media for distorting my meaning, repeat. It's as simple as wash, rinse, repeat.
In the words of Walter Matthau, she needs to pull their lips over their heads and swallow. In the words of Biff Tannen, she needs to make like a tree and leave. Someone needs to make her an offer she can't refuse. You're the governor of Alaska. Why does anything you say make a lick of difference to anyone in New York state? Did it ever occur to you that part of the problem you have with the media is you? You say crazy things and then don't expect the media to call you on it. You explode on the political scene at the Republican National Convention and don't expect the media to find out who you are. If you think the U.S. press is bad, try living overseas, where every little bit of your personal life is an open book.
Now, let me hit you with this little bit of knowledge.
The poverty rate in Alaska is 11.2 percent, a 1.4 percent increase since 2000. 14 percent of children under 5 years of age in Alaska live in poverty. Through 2007, the state's median household income decreased 6.8 percent since 2000. Health care premiums have gone up five times faster than household income in Alaska in the last year. Rural Alaskans are moving to Anchorage in droves because there is a drastic lack of opportunity and human services throughout much of the state. Villages are dying.
These are issues that are being faced in localities throughout the United States -- and Sarah Palin could be a leader in solving them. She's been annointed as a up-and-comer when, in fact, she has yet to prove it. Eliot Spitzer was an up-and-comer, too, and you know what happened to Eliot. Palin could travel a different road. She could be a roadmap to improving our country. If you can fix Alaska, you can fix those problems anywhere.
Do you want to know what would make me possibly think Sarah Palin is ready to be a big-time national leader? She'll stop worrying about Caroline Kennedy. She won't care about an interview with Katie Couric, or how she's being handled in the press. She won't care what Tina Fey says about her on Saturday Night Live. I'll stop seeing Associated Press stories where she's playing the "Woe Is Me, The Press Hates Me" card. That card is why people can't stand Barry Bonds. Political figures should burn that card and never play it again.
I'll know Sarah Palin's ready to be a national leader when she's helped children in her state live in decent conditions. I'll pay attention when Gov. Palin helps her state's economy result in more money for her state's residents. When alcoholism in Alaska is less of a problem, I'll take her more seriously. When rural Alaskans can afford to live in a village or town 300 miles from Anchorage, I'll think she's done something worthy of press attention.
Until then, I'd rather she just shoots a moose and leaves the rest of us alone.
My ears need the break.


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