Is the Clown Car Caucus about to expand? The infamous Sarah Palin has decided she’s the best person to replace long-time U.S. House of Representative Don Young of Alaska, who recently passed away. When you think they can’t get crazier, the loony bin opens up, and another one escapes to join their merry group of carnival barkers.
The irony, of course, is that Palin is the undisputed and groundbreaking founding member of the illustrious and growing team of crackpots and conspiracy theorists who currently make up a sizable chunk of the GOP. That’s right; without her, we may never have seen the likes of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.) – or Donald Trump. What a tragedy and catastrophe that would have been for all of us who revel in the comedic buffoonery.
Perhaps the people of Alaska will decide Palin should stick to appearances on Fox News and elect someone different. I suppose that’s being a bit optimistic, but it’s possible nevertheless. After all, there are multiple people ready to compete in the primary to replace Young. I suspect that her celebrity and ability to be as Trumpy as the best of them will win the day.
Unfortunately, Palin’s entry into our national political consciousness rests with one man: John McCain. The late Senator from Arizona, a man I respected and admired, severely damaged his reputation and legacy by choosing her as his vice-presidential running-mate in the 2008 presidential election. It was an act of desperation that started with a bang but ended fizzling spectacularly. It’s not the only reason McCain lost, but it certainly contributed mightily.
I remember working the day after he announced Palin as his running mate. The reaction among many of my co-workers, at least those who paid attention to politics, was overwhelmingly positive. They thought it was “brilliant,” “bold,” and “thinking outside the box.” Of course, that was before she started to talk. Soon, the accolades thrown in her direction became a deafening silence.
There wasn’t much in between the ears, in other words. But Palin was good at something that Trump perfected into an art form. When it came to grievance politics, she was pretty damn good. Who can forget her infamous quote about Barack Obama “palling around with terrorists.” From a typical Republican voter’s perspective, it was brilliant. Going after Obama, a person of color with a funny name, Palin was ripe for the crazies, even back then.
Unfortunately for Palin, though, her life after failing to win with McCain in 2008 hasn’t panned out very well. She’s failed at a few ventures, including a gig paying her a million bucks a year at Fox News. It’s pretty pathetic she couldn’t even cut it at Fox. But it doesn’t matter much in today’s world of crazy politics. Failing at business or anything else is merely an afterthought in today’s GOP. All one has to do is look at the guy who won in 2016 – he of the multiple bankruptcies and other misadventures.
The failures of Palin, in other words, will not preclude her chances of winning Young’s seat. Because in our present political climate, it’s not about what you’ve done before but how good you are at owning the libs. And Palin, much like Trump, excels at it.
If she wins, she’ll fit right in. The culture wars will be running hot in this year’s mid-terms. Banning books, being anti-gay/transgender, and the perils of critical race theory will all be on the ballot in many districts this fall. While we certainly had cultural issues in the 2008 election, nothing back then comes close to the bigotry and far-right freak-outs we now see daily.
And it all means that Sarah Palin will have a fighting chance in the fall for victory. If she prevails, she will immediately vie for the craziest of them all. It’s a tough contest, to be sure, but is there anyone else more qualified to lead the charge against the “radical left?” Indeed, in her statement announcing her candidacy, she mentioned how the left was destroying the country, and she needed to join the fight.
Much like Boebert, Greene, and fellow Reps Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Madison Cawthorn (NC.), and Paul Gosar (AZ.), though, Palin will not offer much by way of policy. It’s not what they are in Congress for anyway. It’s about saying the most ridiculous thing you can and hoping a few clips show up on Fox and other right-wing media outlets.
Policy doesn’t matter much to most D.C. Republican politicians anymore anyway. Asked by a reporter what platform and policies they would offer if they were to win in November, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I’ll let you know.” Palin will fit in nicely if victorious.
Palin would undoubtedly be first in line to be the de facto chair of the Clown Car Caucus. Yes, the others will have seniority over her, but nobody can question her crackpot brilliance. The others may have to defer and concede to Palin for the title of unofficial spokesperson. Surely a power struggle will ensue. But in the end, her legendary and pioneering status as queen of the crackpots will ultimately win out.
And the king of them all, Donald Trump, has endorsed Palin. Indeed her victory is all but assured.