Game Change: The Embarrassing Legacy of Sarah Palin

I watched the HBO movie “Game Change” this weekend.  I thought Julianne Moore did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of Sarah Palin, along with an almost uncanny resemblance. Woody Harrelson did a great job as her political Svengali, Steve Schmidt, but this is not a movie review.

I’ve read that Sarah Palin hated this film, and has done nothing but whine and play the victim since it became a reality. I actually think she should be flattered. Why? As a liberal, I writhed in embarrassment, gaped in disbelief or gritted my teeth in irritation every single time I heard her screechy voice, uttering incoherent streams of nonsense or blatant untruths, and watched her coyly batting her eyes at every camera within her range of vision (to be honest, I still do).

But I have to admit that after watching the film, this liberal almost felt sorry for Sarah Palin. Almost.

“Game Change” played up her occasional flashes of humanity and vulnerability and gave us a glimpse of the completely unprepared and intellectually lacking, formerly humble and down-to-earth woman who was tossed – no, who eagerly dove into the high-pressure shark tank that is our national politics. And I say I almost felt sorry for her – because now, she has simply mowed down whatever was left of that vulnerable woman and become the glossy, hard core grifter who is, to this day, still grabbing every brass ring in sight with both of her immaculately French manicured hands.

John McCain unleashed the plague that is Sarah Palin onto our political scene, and like a zombie, she keeps refusing to stay buried. If the film is even the least bit accurate, which has been attested to by several of the real people portrayed in the film, John McCain must have known just what kind of creature he was unleashing on the unsuspecting American people in the person of Sarah Palin, the self-proclaimed pitbull with lipstick and grizzly mama.

As late as yesterday, which as I write this, was March 11, 2012, John McCain was still defending Sarah Palin as a “fine and decent person” and patting himself on the back for being the one who gave her the Republican Party’s nomination for Vice President of the United States of America.

Well, Senator McCain, I gotta say, maybe you shouldn’t be so proud. In fact, you really ought to be ashamed of yourself. Never in the history of this nation has an embarrassment like Sarah Palin been foisted off on us as a viable candidate for national office; ignorant, incurious, vindictive, amoral, vain, shrill and selfish – all the qualities we might find in our unpleasant acquaintances, but do not expect to be front and center in the person of our nominee for Vice President, that all-important individual who is one single heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world.

Sarah Palin is what she is, a veritable force of nature, and most of us have strong opinions about her, whether positive or, as in my case, extremely negative. She has a firm hold on that brass ring these days, riding high as a FOX contributor, reality TV star, millionaire and celebrity, who trembles with barely contained eagerness to step once again into the spotlight of our presidential politics. Hopefully, that will never happen again, as the thought of that woman with her finger on the “nucular” button frightens me to death.

As for John McCain, well, I think he was the biggest casualty of those ten weeks in 2008 which culminated in the election of our first African-American president, Barack Obama. He lost every shred of dignity he once had and has become a shuffling sad clown and a caricature of the dashing Vietnam War hero he once was. Once upon a time, I respected him – and would have even voted for him, because he had a reputation as an honorable man who had the courage to be his own man and do the right thing regardless of the party politics involved.

However, once Hurricane Sarah blew through, he has reversed himself on every honorable stand he ever took, from the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill to the Dream Act. He voluntarily offered up every scrap of his integrity and morality and disappeared into the shadow of the supernova that is Sarah Palin. He sacrificed his honor and placed it on the smoking altar of the insatiable hate-filled and angry monster that has eaten the Republican Party. Furthermore, in keeping with the laws of unintended consequences, Senator McCain tore the lid off a veritable Pandora’s Box that day, opening the door to ever more unsuitable and extremist candidates like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, all of whom, if possible, are even worse than Palin herself.

He served this nation honorably and suffered unspeakably as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  I pity him. I pity him because, after the colossal train wreck that is Sarah Palin, all that is left of a national hero will be a dirty smudge on the page of history.

Was it worth it, Senator McCain?


Photo credit: HBO Movies, Game Change