Sarah Palin, demanding Obama's impeachment, descends into caricature

Los Angeles TimesJuly 10, 2014 

Sarah Palin has finally lost it.

Earlier this week, in an essay on Breitbart.com, Palin demands the impeachment of President Barack Obama.

Her piece starts off loopy and devolves from there.

"Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president," she begins. "His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, 'no mas.'"

I'm sorry, what? Why the switch to espanol? Is she implying that Obama is a wife beater? That America is a battered, Spanish-speaking esposa?

No idea, but by the end of her essay, I felt positively battered by her battiness.

She accuses the president of orchestrating illegal border crossings (a favorite canard of the loony right) and "obstructing any economic recovery" in order to provide "cheap foreign labor."

Disingenuously, this privileged celebrity - with her seven-figure cable and book contracts, her family sea plane, her boats and her multiple homes - describes herself as an "average" American.

"Have faith that average American workers - native-born and wonderful legal immigrants of all races, backgrounds, and political parties _do carebecause we're the ones getting screwed as we're forced to follow all our government's rules while others are not required to do so," she writes. "Many now feel like strangers in their own land." (If you are a resident of a border state, exposed to the region's centuries-old mix of cultures and language, you'd have to be oblivious to your surroundings to suddenly feel like a stranger in a strange land.)

I used to enjoy writing about Sarah Palin. When other people dismissed her as an airheaded pol whose tangled syntax symbolized a tangled intellect, I always defended her as smarter than many give her credit for.

She's combative, condescending and often inarticulate, sure, but she has demonstrated sharp political instincts. Despite the exotic details of her biography and her stratospheric income, she has found ways to connect with people - particularly evangelicals - by marketing herself as a God-fearing hockey mom, working parent and political outsider.

In 2009, she climbed aboard the tea party train and, as its highest-profile supporter rode it straight to victory in November 2010 when tea party Republicans won 39 House seats and five U.S. Senate seats.

A year later, in a speech at a tea party rally in Iowa, she became one of the first national Republican figures to decry in starkly populist terms the "corporate crony capitalism" and "corporate welfare" practiced by Washington's "permanent political class." (On this, she and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have something in common.)

She has often been the target of the rankest sexism, including by the people who support her. In 2011, Fox Network chief Roger Ailes told the AP's Frazier Moore that he hired Palin to be a pundit on his network because "she's hot and gets ratings."

Palin has also starred in a couple of reality TV shows, written some books and spent time on the paid-speech circuit. Last week, she suggested she is talking to ABC about "The View." (Confession: I would definitely watch Rosie O'Donnell, reported to be returning to the show, go mano a mano with Palin over gay marriage.)

As a cultural and political figure, I think Palin is losing the ability to electrify. Maybe people will want to watch her shooting wolves (her "Amazing America" show for the Sports Channel was just picked up for a second season), but politically, she's turned herself into a caricature.

In April, at the National Rifle Association convention, for instance, she offended some of her religious supporters when she compared the act of waterboarding terrorists to "baptism."

Last month, she threatened to leave the Republican Party over the humanitarian crisis now unfolding at our Mexican border as thousands of children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America seek refuge in the U.S. "This one issue is just about driving me to renounce my Republican ties because, see, even leaders on the RIGHT side of the aisle haven't exerted all Constitutional power to stop the madness," she wrote.

Perhaps when that screed did not get the intended reaction, she decided to increase the volume to 11. Thus, her nutty call today for impeachment.

Palin doesn't say what specific crimes the president has committed. Instead, she sounds the alarm about his "lawlessness."

She predicts "irreparable harm" if Obama decides to "meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution's role in protecting our rights."

Her choice of the word "meddle" has got to be a failed attempt at humor, right? Because a woman who once governed an entire state, and ran for a job that would have put her a heartbeat away from the Oval Office would really have to understand a president's appointment powers, right?

But that's the problem with Sarah Palin. You known how she feels, you just aren't ever quite sure what she actually knows.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Robin Abcarian is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Readers may send her email at robin.abcarian@latimes.com

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