Straight from the Shoulder of Michael Shelby
Watching Republican Veep nominee Sarah Palin's acceptance speech I was continually plagued by an unsettling feeling of where have I seen this personality before? Yes, she's a dead ringer for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler could play her in a SNL sketch but they don't capture her essence naturally. Then, about halfway thorough the well executed attack speech teeming with irony, hypocrisy, misinformation, outright lies, and devoid of substance, it came to me . . . this performance really is a movie sequel and Sarah Palin is Tracy Flick all grown up!
Tracy Flick, played by Academy Award Winner® Reese Witherspoon in the 1999 movie Election (also starring Sarah Jessica Parker's hubbie Matthew Broderick as Tracy's advisor and former lover), runs a ruthlessly ambitious, win at all costs, vote manipulating campaign for her high school class presidency. Tracy's narcissism perfectly transforms into the cult of personality that the Republican party is running it's campaign on today. John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, confirmed that "This election is not about issues," said Davis. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." Translation: the Republican's are running on the cult of personality and away from the issues. This fits perfectly into a sequel for Tracy Flick that I am calling, for now, Election 2 – Tracy's Back and Badder Than Before!
That Tracy has private scandals that are kept relatively secret, questionable decision-making rules, and a moral code that could at best be described as being governed by situational ethics seem to embody the history of Republican Veep candidate Sarah Palin as well. Tracy loses to the popular good guy jock whose innocence, sincerity, and honesty earns him a squeaker win much to the surprise of Ms. Flick. Flick has gone through numerous underhanded manipulations of the election to win including looking into the vote counting room to get advance information that she has won. However, it is her advisor and former school teacher lover who actually steals the election away from Tracy in a futile act of redemption for his indiscretions and to blunt the evil ambitions of his once student/paramour. After recovering from the shock of a loss she had not expected, the end of the movie leaves open what lies ahead for Tracy. Clearly she has gained no insights or epiphanies and is instead driven even more so to “succeed.” My grown up Tracy will take into her future the unbridled ambition, narcissism, authoritarian archetype, selfishness, and self-centered attributes that are quintessentially Tracy and Republican. She will apply them as needed during her stages of development toward adulthood, only to emerge as Sarah Palin in the flesh.
Tracy's base pandering to Jesus, that will later be exploited by John McCain and personified in the religiosity of Governor Palin, a woman we should note, who believes that the Iraq war (which has caused the deaths of thousands of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines and over a million innocent Iraqi children, women, and men) was ordained by God. Nor did she object or leave the pew when her pastor spewed hate speech that said acts of terrorism on Israel were God's punishment for not believing in Christ. She denies the science of evolution and stem cell research in favor of the fantasy of creationism and prayer as well. She believes abstinence only sex education is effective (DUOH!)! That all this is predicted by Tracy's prayer for deliverance into victory I have paraphrased from the movie: Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and [Barack Obama] doesn't, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that [rescued me from obscurity] and now I'm asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
The possible plot lines to Election 2 are thick with possibilities, twists, turns, back stabbings, dirty dealings, and plain old wickedly good story telling. SPOILER ALERT! My version of the sequel ends once again in defeat for Sarah, er, Tracy in ignominious defeat as another presidential candidate from Arizona is historically defeated in disaster once again. Unlike Senator Goldwater who was true to himself and authentic to the end of his admirable life, Senator McCain has screwed the pooch vis-a‘-vis integrity and so-called “straight talk” and will, if he's lucky, just fade into obscurity. But Sarah, dammit I mean Tracy, will go on like the plucky oblivious to the real world girl she is as she quotes her mother from the original movie, “It's like my mom says, The weak are always trying to sabotage the strong.”
Sarah, oh there I go again, Tracy we couldn't have post-rationalized it better ourselves.