What Do Sarah Palin And Heath Ledger Have In Common?

If you have a pulse or a single "cool bone" in your body, then you're probably one of the millions of people who shelled out money to see the Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight." Now if your "cool-bone" is balanced by an equally as powerful "geek bone," then you might be able to recall and recite specific scenes and pieces of dialogue from the movie. Now, for any of you "cool -bone," "geek-boned" people who happen to have a "political bone" then I invite you to follow my train of thought on this.

There's a scene in the film where Bruce Wayne and Alfred have a back and forth about how the Mob brought about the Joker's rise as Gotham's psychopathic criminal-genius. They even made a trailer from it:
Bruce Wayne: ...I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Alfred Pennyworth:
You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.
Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.
Alfred Pennyworth:
With respect, sir, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand.
So what does Sarah Palin have in common with Heath Leger?... SARAH PALIN IS THE JOKER!... No, not a joke, but the Joker in the drama of this election. and it has nothing to do with the pit bull in makeup/"lipstick on a pig" rhetoric. It does have everything to do with how John McCain and the republican/evangelical alliance running his campaign came to a decision that she'd be his Vice-Presidential nominee. In fact, if we substituted a couple of the names and words in the dialogue, above my point should become a lot clearer.

Barack Obama: ...I knew the republicans wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Joe Biden:
You crossed the line first,
Barack. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a woman they didn't fully understand.

Sarah Palin burst onto the political scene with little known about her by the public. The morning of McCain's VP announcement, I expected to see someone who appeared overwhelmed by the enormity of what has happening. I was right, but most of the media felt otherwise. They didn't seem to detect in her voice, the shakiness that I heard. They didn't seem to make the natural comparison of her poise to that of Hillary Clinton, like I did. Perhaps, it was because she was a woman; perhaps it was because they wanted to give her leeway for the jitters that characterize a rookie's first day in the "big leagues." Whatever the reason was, Sarah Palin was very well received with her introduction into the public spotlight.

Subsequently, the media was in a frenzy (doing their job) trying to figure out who this unknown governor of Alaska was, that would make her the best republican vice-presidential choice over people like Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or even other women candidates like Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchison. They began to pick and prod for any leads, even the most ridiculous. As the stories began to trickle in, the questions about her seemed to outpace the answers. "Is her baby really her's or her daughter's?... Is her daughter really pregnant?... Does she believe in dinosaurs?" The questions were endless.

But when she took the stage at the Republican National Convention and delivered her stinging acceptance speech with flawless precision, the right-wing and the republican party saw all they needed to know about her... She was a hockey-mom, a 'pit-bull in lipstick', a moose hunter and woman who's compassion ran so deep that she actually decided to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome, rather than assert her constitutional right to privacy as guaranteed under the 14th amendment after Roe v. Wade (as if all children born with Down Syndrome are born to right-wing, evangelical, republicans)...Flash forward to the Charlie Gibson interview.
Happy: So why do they call him "The Joker"?
Dopey: I heard he wears make-up.
Happy: Make-up?
Dopey: Yeah, to scare people. You know, war paint.
I'm sure that Charlie flew out to Alaska with every intention of conducting a tough and thorough interview that was aimed at cluing the American people in on her record and depth of knowledge about the types of issues facing this country. I'm sure he, like most of us expected to sit across from the same confident and aggressive women we had seen on stage at the RNC or at least some resemblance to her, after all, that was really the only thing we really had to go by. But as we watched part 1 and part 2 of the interview, the self proclaimed pit-bull in lipstick looked more like a dazed pekingese. The make-up had faded and the war paint probably did more to fuel Charlie than intimidate him. No need to rehash the gory details, but for those who haven't seen it click here.

Then there was the infamous CBS interview. Katie Couric met with Palin in New York City, where the Governor was on her international tour of the United Nations. The idea was to communicate to the people that Palin could build meaningful relationships with world leaders and shore up her foreign policy experience by, essentially speed dating foreign diplomats and dignitaries. This ordinarily would have made her knowledge of foreign policy the topic de jour, but the Wall Street bailout had emerged as a crisis that couldn't be avoided. Now, perhaps it was that she was so crammed with foreign policy talking points that she couldn't fit anymore about the economy, but the result was a crash and burn interview. It not only loaded the late night comics with enough amo for a comedy armegadeon, but it also legitimized questions about her preparedness for the job.

Of course, the right wing sycophants and acolytes engaged in their usual 'water carrying' as they chastised Charlie Gibson for attacking her with "gotcha questions" such as "Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?" and 'how does Alaska's proximity to Russia qualify as foreign policy experience?' (here's a funny article about that). Of course, we all know that these are relevant and important questions, so their that Gibson and Couric engaged in "gotcha journalism" was of little consequence to the media, the public and the late night comics who saw the interviews as speaking for themselves. This video sums it up about right.

Now, after her what many have regarded as pretty good debate performance against Sen. Biden, the question of who Sarah Palin is still looms. But like Heath Ledger's personification of The Joker, the answer to that question might prove scarier than we thought... even scarier than McCain thought.

Okay, let's pull this whole "Dark Knight" theme together. In the movie, this group of criminals thought that they found a capable psychopath that would play his role. Unable to look beyond his makeup and funny voice inflections, they figured he'd do their bidding and fade away. They described him as:
Salvatore Maroni: Some two-bit whack-job. Wears a cheap purple suit and make-up. He's not the problem. He's a nobody.

They were mistaken and before they knew it, the Joker had grown in stature and they themselves had come to fear him, for fear of their own lives. The Joker's plan all along was to take over as the crime boss of Gotham.
The Joker: This town deserves a better class of criminal... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your men they work for me now. This is my city.
The Chechen: They won't work for a freak...
The Joker: [mocking his accent] A freak...
The Joker: Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your pooches? Hmm? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry dog really is. It's not about money... it's about sending a message. Everything burns!
If you saw the movie, then you know nothing could have been farther from the truth.... Let's change a couple of words in the scene to make it clearer.
Sarah Palin: This town deserves a better class of Republicans... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your campaign staff they work for me now. This is my party.
John McCain:
They won't work for a redneck...
Sarah Palin: [mocking his accent] A redneck...
Sarah Palin: Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to the republican base? Hmm? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry dog really is.
Remember the McCain campaigns response to those abysmal interviews? They responded by sequestering her so that they could study and learn about who she really was and how qualified she was or isn't. In addition they flew in a team of foreign policy advisers, a number of whom were former Bush aides to indoctrinate her with the neoconservative vision of the world. That plan, however came to an end when the media began to demand that the McCain campaign allow access to Palin, a cause that was championed by CNN's Campbell Brown. McCain gave in and arranged for Palin's second interview on CBS. But somethings different now.

In the words of Hillary Clinton, she's 'found her voice' and it's become increasingly clear that it's loud enough to drown out Sen. McCain's. Just like the Joker, she's taken over, or is at least in the process of doing so. The pundits all agree that her performance at the debate did little to help the McCain campaign, but a lot to establish Sarah Palin as force in politics for the unforeseeable future. The republican base (the hungry dogs) are behind her, not John McCain. The republican establishment, the evangelicals and the neo-cons are behind her, not John McCain. In fact, on one occasion she slipped up and put herself a the top of the ticket, saying "in a Paln/McCain administration". In fact, there is currently a group of neoconservatives that are working on her 2012 presidential bid.

A few good examples of her asserting her independence from McCain are the fact that she communicated that she wants the campaign to remain in Michigan after McCain decided to pull out. Also, little noise was made of the fact that she agreed with Sen. Obama's position on crossing the border into Pakistan to pursue terrorist. Those who reported on in call it a gaffe, but I call it and example of 'a drunk (wo)man's mind speaking a sober (wo)man's thoughts'. We know that she's been assigned the role of attack dog, but In recent interviews and appearances she seems to more like a pit-bull that can't be controlled by its master. For example, John McCain expressed on a number of occasions that Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be off the table, but she's serving it up as an appetizer. In addition, she's taken the lead in trying to create a narrative of Obama that seems to want to give the impression that he is, at least a terrorist sympathizer, if not an aider and abettor of terrorist himself.

McCain takes is known for taking political risks, but none that could come at the expense of his honor and dignity. His style is tough and confrontational, but not tawdry. Her methods, however border on reckless. In fact, all the pundits say and the McCain camp will admit that this strategy is a gamble... just like the mob betting on The Joker was a gamble. But once again, McCain has been hammered "... to the point of desperation". Perhaps, the realization that this is his last shot at the White House has pressured him into a deal with the "devil in the blue dress". Perhaps, the subtext of their relationship can be summarized by the scene in The Dark Knight with the two ferries, where the prisoners on one ferry had to choose between blowing the citizens on the other, in order to save their own lives.
Tattooed Prisoner: You don't want to die, but you don't know how to take a life. Give it to me; these men would kill you, and take it anyway. Give it to me. You can tell 'em I took it by force. Give it to me, and I'll do what you shoulda did ten minutes ago.
Perhaps, Sarah said to John McCain:
Sarah Palin: You don't want to loose, but you don't know how to run a dishonorable campaign Give the campaign to me; the republican party would disregard you, and take it anyway. Give it to me. You can tell 'em I took it by force. Give it to me, and I'll do what you shoulda did a month ago.
And so it appears he has done just that, given his campaign to someone who's more like George Bush in lip stick, than a pit bull. Someone who has the same "down home" way of talking, (they even share an inability to pronounce the word "nuclear"), but hunts like Dick Cheney and wants to assert more power as Vice President than has. Someone who on the surface appears to be aloof on substance, but grand narrative of the world is anything but. In fact, in many ways we don't know who the real Sarah Palin is or what she's capable of or what her intentions for this country are.... No, really! Do we get a sense of a vision and direction for this country from her?
The Joker: [speaking to Two-Face] Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.
It's uncanny to me; the similarities:
Sarah Palin: [speaking to McCain] Do I really look like a gal with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The democrats have plans, the "elite media" has plans, Obama's got plans. You know, they're "Washington insiders". "Washington insiders" trying to control their worlds. I'm not a "Washington insider". I try to show the "Washington insiders" how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.
But in the end, John McCain's judgement is the issue, not Sarah Palin. Therefore, in the words of Two-Face:
Two-Face: The Joker's just a mad dog. I want whoever let him off the leash.
Article by LAW

3 comments:

Megan said...

Phenomenal allegorical commentary. Thank you!

Anonymoussaid...

What an amazing read. Thanks!

Tieuel Legacy said...

Very interesting connection here between Palin and The JOKER. I'm one of those idiots who hasn't seen the movie yet. It's okay though, you only told about 5 minutes out of the entire 2 hrs. and 50 something minutes. I wouldn't have thought of these comparisons though. There's a video comparing 50 and Obama also that is worth checking out.

This is a fairly detailed assessment. I believe that we are a long way from the issues. In fact, we left the issues prior to the Democratic Election. The ones that haven't made their minds up yet are left with rhetorical condemnation of either party and the popularity contest of vice presidents. Rather the popularity of Palin. Biden is a non-issue to say the least. Palin's daughter has more say on the election than he does. That's okay because Palin doesn't even know that her foot should be in her mouth by now. She's shooting Republicans out of the game. Republicans don't even like Republicans anymore. Obama would have to commit a heinous act to lose at this point, in my opinion. Either that or cheating will have to occur. Like that's never happened in election history.

To wrap this up, should the similarities be found in Heath or The Joker? Is she playing a role rather than trying to win an election? Or is she a lost soul trying to find something of substance to hold onto? I'm not so sure that I found the similarities within the article. I do know that she is comical to a fault. She's a joke. Although I believe in opportunity among less qualified individuals, the incidents that follow her are a joke. But wait. This isn't supposed to be funny. This is our lives that we're dealing with. We're not placing Mac make-up on miniature doberman's, we have a country to make up. We're not placing bison in a headlock, we are trying to make sure that Biden will be strong enough to back one of the strongest candidates over recent years. We're not faultering at answering questions about the periodicals that we read, we are periodically trying to maintain sanity among our people during AIG buyouts, high gas prices that only trickle down giving us a false sense of savings, and a president that outsmarts Alec on any given day.

If the president or the cabinet reads this, let him call me from the red phone. 281-451-4296.

Tieuel Legacy! aka Shawnre'...dubbed as one of the best up and coming directors out of Texas.

 
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