Sarah Palin’s Alaska ** Next stop, Washington?

Love her or loathe her, Sarah Palin knows how to sell her favorite product: herself

Photo: TLC

“How come we can’t ever be satisfied with tranquility and serenity?” asks Sarah Palin in the opening of her new reality show on TLC. Well, Governor Palin, tranquility and serenity never won anyone the presidency of the United States.

Sarah Palin’s Alaska gives America an up-close-and-personal view of the quitter Governor Mrs. Commonsense 2012 and her brood romping through the beautiful, sweeping vistas that are Alaska. It is part travelogue, part nature documentary, and part positioning for her possible presidential candidacy in 2012.

The state, in its natural splendor, is beautifully photographed in true Discovery Channel style. (TLC is part of the Discovery Channel network.) Unfortunately, Alaska and its wonders take a backseat to the Palins in this debut episode. Instead of the state’s natural treasures being front and center, the audience gets to see the quitter former Governor whine her way through some adventures in the Last Frontier that are supposed to make her look like one of the regular people of Alaska. (That is, if regular Alaskans live in million dollar lakefront homes with a television studio in the guesthouse.)

Interspersed throughout the show are references to her politics. But what stands out so glaringly are contradictions that the quitter Governor probably doesn’t realize she is displaying.


Photo: Discovery Channel/AP

Ms. Palin and her husband Todd complain about a lack of privacy when author Joe McGinniss moves next door to her into a summer rental to write a profile book on her. “Our summer fun has been kinda taken away from us because of a new neighbor who’s writing a hit piece on my wife.  Life’s about being productive but these people want to seek and destroy,” says Todd Palin.  Well, shame on you, Palins: If you hadn’t stiffed your neighbor on payment of the construction work that was done for you then perhaps she wouldn’t have sought out and rented her next-door house to someone doing a book on you.

This complaint about one neighbor intruding on their privacy is extremely facetious given the fact that she is allowing television cameras to follow her and her family around.

As for Mr. McGinniss, he gets a taste of the first policy statement of her possible administration by having a 14-foot fence inserted between their respective homes.  Ms. Palin says that a similar fence should be built at the borders of the United States. Mr. McGinniss, by the way, is shown sitting on his back porch with his feet up and face pixeled out reading a book which hardly qualifies as stalker behavior.

Later, the family takes a road trip to Denali National Park and Preserve, home of Mt. McKinley. While touting that climbing up Mt. McKinley is “a badge of honor for an Alaskan,” Ms. Palin doesn’t want to look like a quitter when getting up the mountain poses a challenge. “About halfway up the rock, I did not know if I was going to be able to finish the task. But I didn’t want to quit; I didn’t want to quit in front of other people.” Alas, if only she had had the same attitude about the governorship. But quit she did when things got tough (and legal fees got expensive), leaving two years remaining on her term.

Photo: TLC

And what would any exposure to the quitter former Governor be without some reference to a Mama Grizzly? This time the Mama Grizzly in question wasn’t seeking political favors but the kind that could have actually made a lunch appetizer out of her. The Palins decided to fish in the middle of a river stocked with salmon favored by hungry bears. The Palins, according to regulations of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, were too close to bears who chose to dine where they were fishing. Ms. Palin realized that the bears needed to feed and they left the area.  (Attention Republican establishment: since no bears made a snack out of her, you can all breathe a sigh of relief that the quitter Ms. Palin will now be available to run in 2012 if there’s nobody else… among you suitable for the job. )

The remaining seven episodes will undoubtedly boost the tourism industry even though the state of Alaska is really just her lowly billed co-star. The series is a gigantic plug for Ms. Palin’s presidential aspirations and she knows how to sell herself. Part of the sales strategy is controlling her image and the dissemination of her words and she knows how to work it. “Having every word, every action scrutinized and in some cases mocked, I can handle it. I’ve kind of asked for it, right?” Indeed you have quitter Governor Palin.

Just remember though: it’s her Alaska. It says so in the title. Next up for her (but hopefully not) could be the sequel: Sarah Palin’s White House.


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