Sarah Palin Loses Herself in the Part

Here goes my perfect record: After more than 24 months of successful resistance, I’m going to write about Sarah Palin. In the cauldron of emotion that Palin evokes, I suspect I’m not alone in acknowledging that one of them is envy. I think it would be pretty cool to send out a tweet and be able to dominate the national news cycle for 24 hours.

If I could do that, I would.

To be sure, she is not the only national political figure to be active on social media, but she might be the one to most embrace its culture. And she does herself no favors in so completely immersing herself in Twitter-speak.

She saw fit to tweet on the flap created over Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s recent resignation:

Dr.Laura:don’t retreat … reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence “isn’t American,not fair”)…watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!

Well. Let’s set aside a few things here. Let’s set aside that my 14-year-old texts with better use of popular abbreviations. Let’s overlook how difficult it is to distill the meaning or source of the quote “isn’t American,not fair” [sic]. And let’s forgive the incredibly dubious argument that there was any obstruction of constitution that took place when Dr. Schlessinger chose to resign (without being fired).

Sarah Palin was a vice-presidential candidate. She is a leader of the Republican party. She is on anyone’s short list of top candidates for the GOP nomination in 2012. And she chooses to express herself in pop-culture non literacy?

She has completely lost herself in the part.

Embracing social media as a platform for sharing ideas is a fine pursuit. Doing it in the national political arena (where it is still counter culture) is potentially brilliant. But allowing your semantic voice to slide to grade-school level, because that’s the way that young tweeters do it? That is a massive miscalculation that calls the core of her political judgment into question. (I can only imagine the field day Democratic attack ads will have quoting these tweets verbatim.)

Is this woman fit to be President? Of the myriad reasons that people have to say no, perhaps the top of the list is how she chooses to represent herself in public. Embracing social media does not require you to become illiterate. We all get to learn that lesson in the relative comfort of our anonymity. I fear that Sarah Palin will learn that lesson as a candidate for the highest office in the land and the result might not be pretty.

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