You took a fine time to leave us, Sarah. Can't you imagine Kenny Rogers singing about it? We've had some bad times/ Lived through some sad times/ But this time your hurtin' won't heal.
Sarah Palin's detractors, and there are lots of them, pile on the lower-class comparisons, ridiculing her as more country than cool: Barbie with a gun, whose got the moose on the run. They're right. That's why she has fans for being just that, among both men and women. She's authentic when a lot of pols rely on manufactured authenticity.
Stereotypes cut several ways. For conservatives who groove on family values as their primary issue, she added pizzazz to the frumpy look of the "traditional" woman in a hemline below the knee and hair headed in the wrong direction. She wouldn't have been John McCain's running mate, as Vanity Fair observed snidely, if she had looked like Susan Boyle. She plays against type, like Reese Witherspoon in "Legally Blonde," emphasizing in pink the femininity of the Valley Girl and whose brains shock the socks off the dull gray Ivy Leaguers in faded Dockers and Birkenstocks.
Sarah is our female Crocodile Dundee. She demonstrated how a woman could wrestle an alligator and look good doing it. She preferred being a "pit bull with lipstick," but both descriptions go to the heart of her appeal. Here was a conservative woman with a sense of humor, who could hang out with the boys and hang tough on "Saturday Night Live," where candidates go for their screen tests. By resigning as governor of Alaska, she forfeited the image of the dark mare racing to the White House, but that was our fantasy, not hers.
We've lost the delicious anticipation of a debate between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, if not next time, maybe in 2016, assuming Hillary could make it that far. Hillary was more independent and certainly more influential as first lady than she is stuck in the State Department bureaucracy, carrying out policies made at the White House. The two women probably won't make the first all-female run for the White House, but at 40 to one, the odds are greater against a successful second chance for Hillary. We can put the odds at about eight to one against Sarah getting to a presidential debate.