Bob Franken

To Russia with Winks


She’s no Michael Jackson, but Sarah Palin has managed to remain one of our top stories three days after she started moose-walking out of her job. Actually, she’s shown a strong musical preference for Johnny Paycheck. (For those in the arugula crowd, who might not know, he sang “Take This Job and Shove It.”)

Or perhaps, with all the nasty flak flying around these days, she relied on Harry Truman. “If you can’t stand the heat, go back to the kitchen” isn’t exactly what he said, but gosh darn it, it’s close.

We are probably not going to know until she’s interviewed by her buddy Greta Van Susteren what the real reasons were that pushed soon-to-be-former-Governor Palin over the edge. But as she looks at Russia today, she might spot the guy she hopes to replace someday, who’s making a little visit to Moscow.

One has to wonder whether a President Palin could deal with the mind-bending complexities of the nuclear arms race that President Obama is trying to slow down with Messrs. Medvedev and Putin. These guys are probably tougher than even Katie Couric.

Can you just see her winking and saying, “May I call you Dmitry”? Can you see her dealing at the very same time with Honduras? What a mess that is.

Actually, Russia, Honduras, the economy, health care . . . all of them are central to the appeal of Palin, her soul mate, Joe the Plumber, and their ilk. All these problems and so many more are the accumulated debacles of the smart people who are supposed to know what they’re doing.

So Palin and Plumber get quite a bit of traction arguing that knowledge and expertise don’t matter. It’s not hard to understand why millions are attracted to an “Ignorance is Bliss” leader. Unfortunately, however, the focus this week is on the Russian leaders, who are anything but ignorant. What a range of MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) issues are on the table!

Once they’ve zipped through the arms race, and tried to avoid nuclear annihilation, there are those other distractions, like Afghanistan, Iran, human rights, North Korea, all that stuff.

Not only does President Obama have to try and reach agreements with the crafty leaders of Russia, he also has to reach agreement about the agreements with political leaders back home. That would include opposition forces just looking for a reason to pounce.

Now that she has more time, that group will include Sarah Palin, who first will be struggling to understand. Which means she has a lot in common with the rest of us.

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