I’ve been at a retreat and haven’t seen the news since Friday morning. I take it the polls say a majority of veep debate viewers who were polled favored Biden. I agree with Bill Curry:
Why then did Palin take a drubbing in the polls? It may have to do with the very personality that brought her to the ball. You may recognize it: it’s Marge Gunderson, from the darkly comic Coen Brothers film “Fargo.”
For her portrayal of the small-town sheriff forever saying “golly” and “you betcha,” Frances McDormand won an Oscar. So should Palin. The resemblance is uncanny. Some reporter should find out if Palin talked that way before the movie came out.
Palin also draws on goofy neighbor characters from old situation comedies. I watched the debate on CNN, which had hooked undecided voters up like hamsters to a machine. As the night wore on it sunk in that her impersonation was really of them and more condescending than any they’d suffered at the hand of Harvard.
Not every Palin cliche is borrowed from show business. She calls herself both “Joe Six Pack” and a “Hockey Mom,” labels spawned by political consultants. The people she patronizes don’t really talk that way. With their homes and retirements threatened, they are less easily amused. That Biden cleaned up may indicate that the crisis bearing down so hard has put us all in a more serious frame of mind.
I don’t know that Palin is impersonating Marge Gunderson (one of the all-time great film characters) as much as she and Frances McDormand are/were evoking a generic woman of the Frozen North. But Marge Gunderson is less of a caricature than Sarah Palin, IMO. Palin’s “by golly” and “you betcha” stuff is just too contrived.
It’s striking to me that the Right continues to flog the Ayers (non)issue, even though they’ve been at it for months and it has gotten them nowhere. I don’t think most people give a bleep about former 1960s radicals, frankly. Especially since Obama himself was born in 1961 and, obviously, was a small child when all this radical-ness was going on.