The politics of fish out of water

I was amused this morning to see former VP candidate and current laughingstock Sarah Palin come out in support of embattled nudie-model-turned-beauty-queen-turned-gay-marriage-opponent Carrie Prejean.  Of course she did. Palin no doubt sees a bit of herself in Prejean, as their experiences are essentially the same. And no, I'm not talking about the fact both have, at one time or another, competed in beauty pageants. Rather, both of these hapless women are emblematic of the moronic way social conservatives try to communicate with the public. For some reason known only to themselves, social conservatives in the United States have a slavish devotion to the idea of populism. That is, the people who they think appeal to the greatest number of their supporters are immediately thrust into the public eye without any real consideration of their abilities as a spokesperson. They fell in love with Sarah Palin as the tenacious hockey mom who spoke to the American middle class. Too bad she was also an idiot. And mere days after saying she came out against gay marriage in the Miss America competition, Prejean was featured in a commercial by a "family values" group. Days after that, a whole bunch of naked pictures of her began cropping up on the interwebs.

Look, Carrie Prejean has a right to her opinion. It's an ignorant one, but she has a right to it. And I don't think people should be smeared for having an opinion. But as soon as the social conservatives made her the poster child for both their views on marriage AND their ongoing culture of victimhood, she became fair game. I think releasing naked pictures of a women is a pretty classless way of making your point. But when you politicize someone's morals, anything that suggests those morals are a little sketchy is pretty useful. I don't think topless shots are immoral, by the way. But a lot of social conservatives do, so the skin pics also make them look like hypocrites.

Sarah Palin has been there. When the GOP put her forward as a credible candidate for VP, her opponents took great pleasure in pointing out her inability to say anything meaningful, ever. And when she was cast as a "family values" candidate, the pre-marital escapades of her daughter became a very useful tool to embarass her.

The lesson is clear. When you campaign someone's beliefs, or on what that person suppposedly represents, you'd better make damn sure they don't have a few skeletons hanging around that contradict the image. For some reason, social conservatives have yet to grasp this obvious reality. And until they do, well, let the games continue.

Also, whenever I see the name "Carrie Prejean", I always mentally change it to "Carrie BeforePants". I don't know why.