Palin presidential scam stays in high gear

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 6/7/2011, 3:52 p.m.

Palin presidential scam stays in high gear

Sarah Palin has no chance at winning the presidency. And that’s what makes Palin’s incessant presidential scam intriguing and amusing. It’s intriguing because she gets away with it, and amusing because most in the media and the GOP know it’s a scam but go along with it for sheer thrill, titillation and even chuckles.

The latest to feed the Palin presidential scam is the man who foisted Palin on the nation, John McCain. He told an interviewer with tongue probably wrapped way back in his cheek that Palin could beat President Barack Obama. McCain didn’t really mean that. But as with much of the Palin presidential scam, he knew that uttering such nonsense was sure to snatch a headline. It was no accident that he uttered the inanity during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a notoriously slow news time that further ensured that this inanity would be hungrily snapped up by the press.

Palin dutifully did her part to feed the scam by tossing out an equally trite cliché that she had the fire in the belly for the presidential run. This stirred a few pundits to trot out the tired reasons why Palin could get the GOP nomination.

She’s got hordes of screaming, panting, aroused Tea Party activists behind her who’ll do anything to stop Mitt Romney from getting the nomination. She’s got instant name identification. The GOP field apart from Romney is a weak, motley crew of retreads and hacks, with lousy or no name, no money, no traction, and that stirs no enthusiasm from GOP voters. The conventional wisdom is that Palin could get the nod by default.

It doesn’t work that way. It takes a sound, well-oiled, professional organization, painstaking delegate and caucus courting and support building ability to tap the corporate money spigot, and get the imprimatur of the party regulars to have any shot at the presidential nomination. Palin has none of that and has absolutely no intention of doing the work it takes to transform herself from a TV grasping mouthpiece into a serious GOP presidential candidate.

The man, outside of McCain, who did more than anyone else to create the Palin as presidential timber hype and hustle, Fox Network news boss Roger Ailes, is reported to believe as much: according to New York Magazine, a Republican source close to him claims that he thinks Palin is “stupid” and hasn’t done anything to elevate the conservative movement. But Ailes is in the business of news hucksterism, and he knows that Palin was never and could never string together a credible and coherent set of ideas, let alone a program that could boost legitimate conservatism. But Ailes got one thing wrong about her. Palin’s aim is and always has been to boost conservatism, as long as that conservatism is spelled P-A-L-I-N.

Palin, though, continues to have shelf life, despite her plummet from popularity, for the same reason that she was foisted on the public in the first place. She is a virtual Hollywood casting-call prop for a media that routinely pawns off fluff for substance, and a public that grabs at it. Palin had plenty of the required fluff and that makes her even more of a serviceable attraction. She is “Hollywood Stars,” “Jeopardy,” “American Idol” and the “Big Spin” all rolled into one. She is crass entertainment and provides prurient relief from the traditional, staid, scripted way politicians say and do things.