September 17th, 2008

Advice For The Obama Camp

"You Brits will never get Sarah Palin" reads a headline in this morning's Telegraph.  But I do. At least I think I do. After all, I grew up watching westerns. Every time I go "ooh!" and "ah!" over a John Ford movie I'm buying into the myth that sustains her.

The USA is a country very close to its origins- both historically and emotionally- and Palin- as the gun and Bible-toting mayor of a small town in one of the few corners of the country that can still plausibly be described as wilderness- is a figure out of that not-so-remote and sainted past. She brings with her the fresh breeze of the frontier. Of course the frontier wasn't really so innocent.or so heroic. The pioneers were driven by greed and acted as the agents of genocide.  But who wants fact when they can have myth?

So if I were a wonk in the Obama camp I'd be doing all I could to grab my boy a piece of the action. I'd use Palin's background against her and be painting the Republicans as the corrupt establishment of the mythical small town. I'd cast them as the range-enclosing cattle baron, the cheating saloon owner, the corrupt sherrif, the guy who sells the Indians rifles and whisky-  and my candidate as the lonesome stranger riding in to clean up the mess. I'd have him be Henry Fonda's Wyatt Earp.