Emily, I think you are spot-on in saying that there is “more than rubbernecking in our continuing fascination” with Sarah Palin. Even a year after the election, I’m not sure what to make of her. She can be dazzling or she can be cringe-worthy. She can make me uneasy or she can make me want to have her and the whole fam over for Sunday dinner.
But here is what I like about her: I love her energy and ambition. I admire her thick-as-hell skin. And yeah, we’re both Republicans, so she and I would probably agree on a lot of policy issues. And while this might not project cool-headed logic on my part, the sneering condescension she encounters from liberals drives me right into her arms. It’s as if people can’t disagree with her on the issues and yet acknowledge that she made an incredible journey from “hockey mom” to small-town mayor to vice-presidential nominee. At least not without mocking her kids’ names or the clothes she wore before the infamous convention makeover. Look, I laughed as much as anyone at this Saturday Night Live skit in which Amy Poehler, as Hillary, struggles to maintain her composure while sharing a podium with Tina Fey as the upstart Sarah Palin. We owe respect and gratitude to the women who spent years getting ahead at a frustratingly slow pace. But I love that we live in a country where someone like Sarah Palin can emerge, where not everyone who ends up in political office got there via the same path of prep school to Ivy League to law school. I might not want her to be president. But I’m damn glad she’s in my party.