You know who Sarah Palin reminds me of?


Those of you who did not like my referring to Sarah Palin as a "babe" yesterday probably won’t enjoy this post, either. But I am honor-bound to be honest with you, my readers. Also, I have a journalistic duty to tell y’all as much as possible about a candidate about whom so little is known, even if it’s based on nothing but my overactive imagination.

I had never before seen a picture of Sarah Palin, and yet from the first moment I saw her, she looked familiar. Did she to you? If so, you’re dating myself. It’s not so much that Gov. Palin looks like a particular individual. But she’s a dead-ringer for a stock character that frequently appeared in sit-coms back in the ’50s and ’60s. If you’re my age, you’ve seen that character dozens of times.

Here’s a summary of a "Beverly Hillbillies" episode which featured that character (I’ve bold-faced the relevant part):

It’s Spring Tonic time, and Granny hands it around to the family, giving Jed a double dose because he made a mean comment on it. Meanwhile, at the bank, the secretary Gloria Buckles, who has worked on the Clampett account, has said she can take the paper work to Jed. When she gets up there, she transforms herself from a plain secretary to a gorgeous one, with her sights set on Jed’s money. She flirts with Jed, telling him that she needs a mountain man to make her happy. The family is worried about this young gold digger, and the fact that Jed has had a double dose of tonic. They call Drysdale and he rushes over, not recognizing Gloria. She reveals that her and Jed have discussed marriage, and when questioned, Jed says it is true. Gloria asks when they should set the date, and Jed says a few years, because that is when Jethro will be of marrying age. Jethro runs off with Gloria, and Jane runs after them to get her man back. Elly asks her father why he doesn’t want to marry her, and he says you have to start worrying when the bait starts chasing you.

Do you recognize her now? Yes, she’s the frumpy secretary who first appears in a conservative business outfit, wearing glasses, with her hair tied up on top of her head, who, at a critical moment in the plot, suddenly removes her jacket, whips off the glasses and lets her hair come tumbling down, and immediately looks like Miss America.

Of course — and this was the really cheesy thing about this plot device — she looked like Miss America when you first saw her, just Miss America with glasses and her hair done up. I never could decide whether the sitcom writers really thought America was stupid enough to be surprised by this plot device, or whether we were supposed to see through it, and see the transformation-to-glamour coming — you know, so that the folks at home would say, "I know what’s going to happen — watch this!"

That’s what made me realize that’s who Gov. Palin reminded me of. She IS beautiful, obviously so, and the specs and the tied-up hair are simply devices meant to say to us, "I’m serious; I’m not just a babe; you can vote for me."

The bad thing about this is that on some level, deep down, some of us who grew up on 50s and 60s TV are thinking, "This is gonna be good — watch this!" (And subconsciously, we’re expecting a scene in which she suddenly lets her hair down and removes the glasses, and of course, Cindy McCain walks in at that moment and says, "John! Who is THIS?" and a befuddled McCain goes "Hominahominahomina," and the laugh track plays.) Or maybe that’s the GOOD thing, in terms of keeping voters interested in the ticket. I don’t know.

By the way, I couldn’t find a picture to illustrate what I was talking about, but here’s video of the relevant part of the Beverly Hillbillies episode. The transformation of Gloria Buckles occurs toward the end of the first part:

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54 thoughts on “You know who Sarah Palin reminds me of?

  1. dee

    wow….i cant believe i lost two minutes of my life reading this…i thought there might really be a point in there about something but there wasnt….what a stupid post. but then this is sc a state with one of the lowest or perhaps THE lowest graduation rates and education systems in the nation.add this to “this just proves it…” line

  2. Claudia

    Not cute, not funny, questionable taste, certainly disrespectful.
    We may disagree on some things, Brad, but I’ve respected you and demonstrated that. I have to say, you’ve really disappointed me.
    Heads-up to anybody who thinks this is about Palin, “rabid feminists” or Hillary Clinton: it’s not. It’s about respect. And, if it matters, I’ve been an Obabma supporter from the day he announced.

  3. SC Hillacrat

    Claudia, male minds think thusly. My husband had earlier said, “Palin’s like the sexy librarian with glasses and pinned up hair who takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair, and…” blah blah blah.
    And there comes Lee, out of the woodwork for this one!!!!!!!
    I can see Granny in a matriarchal role in the “Hillary-verse.” With her scratchy, irritating voice saying, “MMA!!!”
    MMA = PUMAspeak for the now-REALLY-mad ones.

  4. george32

    Why is it that with female candidates (and sometimes female spouses of male candidates) so much still is made of their appearance. Nobody commented on Biden’s baldness, Obama’s exceptional slimness, chief Dittohead’s weight, etc., but with females we seem to feel it is open season on their appearance. While relevant if competing in a beauty contest, it seems of little relevance in a political contest. I don’t recall Brad ever commenting about the appearance of Cindi or other female State staffers-at least not in print.

  5. Bill C.

    Only one thing pops into my head reading this, “Brad, you’re an idiot, have you been spending too much time with Bob Coble… because it’s starting to rub off?”.

  6. Joanne

    Dee, I had the same feeling about you when I read your response.
    From what bastion of knowledge are YOU that advocates saying such nasty things about SC?
    Bless your heart.

  7. Claudia

    SC Hill – trust me, that’s not a statement of support from Lee. I can only judge by his postings on this blog, but that individual is about as broad-minded as long-leaf pine needle.
    george32 – thanks for the back-up. It’s nice to read that some of the males (assuming you are one) blogging here get that is simply wrong to judge people based on their appearance, and shallow to comment on it in a public forum. Brad knows that, and he knows he’s being blatantly disrespectful of women in general with this kind of nonsense and irresponsible as a journalist. THAT’S what really ticks me off, Brad… you know better.
    John – see above. Brad’s wife doesn’t deserve a hit on her appearance, either.

  8. John P. Baker

    What a stupid, sexist commentary!
    I generally dislike you comments, but you have really hit a new high in lows!

  9. Bob

    Well, well, and liberals like Warthen are always blasting others for commenting on a persons looks. Warthen, could not come up with a substantive comment so he stooped to trying to marginalize Mrs. Palin because she just happens to be attractive. Of course the liberal Democrats have their female “babes” like Cindy Shehan. (LOL)

  10. martin

    I bet Lee has never felt the need to complain about sexism before.
    This is so telling about Brad. He is bound and determined that he will enlighten/punish everyone he thinks might be racist by not publishing their comments. But, he is oblivious to sexist comments.

  11. p.m.

    1. This is a blog, not a cell phone, dee. Your post about not expecting better in an under-educated state deserves no better than a “D” for punctuation and syntax, but who could expect you to be better than a “dee” when you are one? In the spirit of sexism, is that cup size, grade average or just the easiest letter for you to type when you send a text message?

  12. p.m.

    3) It’s not wrong to just a president or vice-president on appearance, Claudia, because I will have to look at the winners for the next four years, and so will everybody else. I can take that into consideration when I cast my vote if I wish, and this is America, I can say what I want to say whether you disagree with it or not. Sexism is part of human nature, the hardwiring that ensures our survival. Male and female aren’t identical. Get used to it.

  13. Silence Dogood

    Brad this was either an amazingly bold or an amazingly stupid pick and probably one of the more important things for many of us to ponder in this whole race as we will only have two months to meet and consider this person who admittedly (as late as last Spring) passed along to the press that she hadn’t really thought that much about the situation in Iraq. She has lots of pluses and minuses – as for Obama, love him or hate him – we have been picking him apart and dissecting him for well over a year and he has had to answer tough questions to national audiences with several other key figures of his party taking pint shots at him as well.
    As for Palin, we know nothing about her (except that she is a hunter and hockey mom et cetera) and need to learn about her fast. Your post adds nothing to this important task that most Americans have ahead of them to make a meaningful determination regarding Palin’s fitness for office.
    Please post something substantive soon.

  14. empe

    Y’all need to chill! Brad, I think your column is a hoot. I’m somewhat of a Republican woman, not so much now as I used to be, and I think it’s a hoot! Who says that women politicians need to be dour an masculine? She makes Cindy McCain – who looked MUCH better with her short hair, by the way – look like Cruella DeVille.
    But am I having trouble taking her seriously. I think her name doesn’t flow well off the tongue, and more than once I’ve called her the Vice Princess. She is what she is folks, a beauty queen. I think she could use a “serious” haircut.

  15. bud

    Brad, you’ve accidently hit on something here. The dishonest goldigger going after a wealthy person through charm and a flattery. The only problem is you targeted the wrong person on the GOP ticket. Wasn’t it John McCain who lied about his age in, what turned out to be a successful, bid to gain the affections of one very rich beer heiress?

  16. Claudia

    #1 – “Sexism is part of human nature, the hardwiring that ensures our survival.”
    #2 – “Male and female aren’t identical. Get used to it.”
    These are, from a certain perspective, quite fascinating statements. I wonder if the poster could cite any studies backing up #1. (The poster likes numbering points for clarity, so I’ll accommodate him/her.)
    From a sociological perspective, I’d be interested in learning more about this poster. Where did s/he grow up and become educated? What social factors influenced him/her? Was racism and/or classism also a factor in his/her upbringing?
    This poster is quite sure of him/herself. The statements are presented as facts, not opinions. #1 assumes an anthropological certainty that the perpetuation of the human race is dependent upon sexism, in addition to assuming as a neurological point of fact that the human brain is physiologically constructed so as to ensure prejudice. If we postulate that the poster is not alone in his/her belief in these two assumptions, we could conduct some very interesting studies to further explore how this belief system is formed. Indeed, I’m sure that many such studies already exist.
    In #2, the poster makes another presupposition: that I am persistent in my belief that the two different sexes that make up the human species are, in effect, identical. S/he then delivers an instruction: “get used to it.” The first part of the statement is likely based on an opinion of me that the poster has formed based on prior statements that I have made. It’s interesting that the poster is assuming that I am quite uninformed; indeed, ignorant enough to believe that men and women are physiological duplicates. S/he then offers me, in my ignorance, a generous piece of advice. Here, what I am being advised to “get used to” is that this supposed belief that I hold is, in fact, false.
    I’m quite tempted to quote Arte Johnson at this point; his pungent observation would certainly apply to this entire thread.

  17. david

    This is not unexpected.
    It is juvenile. It is sexist. It demonstrates the lack of either piercing intellect or courage we so often see when libs encounter a real, live and unabashed conservative who really “walks the walk.”
    The surprise to me is that Brad is being such an A-hole to Governor Palin when she has been picked by Brads’ idol.
    Hey Brad…lighten up! This ‘babe’ is on your side. By the way, I bet you don’t have the b*lls to call Cindi a babe.
    I did notice that you have bud in complete agreement with you. You gotta feel good about that, I reckon.

  18. dave

    You know, it occurs to me that Cindi (with an “I” dang it!) really is a babelicious reporterette babe.
    Too bad she’s such a “Frau Blucher” type flaming liberal.
    I can’t think of any characters on Beverly Hillbillies that she reminds me of right now, but I CAN imagine her with her hair pinned up and wearing glasses.

  19. bud

    It demonstrates the lack of either piercing intellect or courage we so often see when libs encounter a real, live and unabashed conservative who really “walks the walk.”
    No she doesn’t. A real conservative would not abandon her young, special-needs baby to tour the country running for vice president. That’s not family values conservatism, that’s selfishness.

  20. george32

    would it be okay for a conservative father to abandon his young, special needs baby to run for vice president?

  21. faust

    You’re a coward as well bud. You and jokers like you on the left are piddling in your pants about how strong this woman is and how devastating what she represents is to your partys’ utter lack of morals or courage.
    You hate how good and wholesome and strong Palin is, and in typical Lin fashion, all you have to counter her is a flimsy slur on her motherhood.
    Once more for the slow people in the class: Governor Palin is a big girl. She has 4 other children. She was a successful mother before she became a mayor, before she became a governor and will remain one as vp.
    You should rejoice, and indeed would do so if you were consistent and for real. Consider: Palin fulfills the feminist ideal that combines achievement and motherhood.
    Isn’t it funny that these liberal objections to mothers in public service are only voiced against conservative women?
    Doesn’t it seem strange that people in the party which supports abortion up to and including the point at which the baby is completely delivered except for his head, are now wringing their hands in mock anguish and faux outrage in supposed concern for a baby?
    Fear looks good on you bud.

  22. slugger

    I have not replied to the post by Brad about the Beverly Hillbilly etc. I wanted to think about what he had to say and hoped that before he wrote the article that he gave the same time deciding to post his remarks on the blog.
    I consider a beautiful woman as one that her beauty cannot be concealed with a hairdo, eyeglasses, frumpy makeup and out-of-date fashion wear.
    Beauty is a within thing. When a woman is being judged by men the men seem to project first their looks and then the character exuding from the woman. How can any man justify marrying any women without exceptionally good looks if that is the criteria of a man picking his woman for life?
    The exceptional beauty that comes from a woman is what is inside and is essentially a thing that cannot be explained in just a few words.
    Maybe the choice of McCain of Palin to be his running mate is something more essential than a TV program about a bunch of hillbillies spending their money in Beverly Hills because they hit pot of gold (oil, liquid gold that is).
    To compare a mother of 5 with a TV sitcom goes without saying that it was in bad taste. Forget that this mother has been placed as VP on a presidential ticket.
    Finally, all the statements made by Sen. Biden against Obama during the Democratic selection of their candidate will destroy Obama and Biden

  23. Ralph Hightower

    When I mentioned to my wife on Friday that Sarah was a hotter looking babe than Cindi, she said that Sarah needs to change her hairstyle.
    Upon further examination, I have to agree with my wife. Sarah needs to ditch her B-52 hairstyle. Keep the glasses.
    My wife says when I quit looking, it’s time to bury me. But I have done nothing like John Edwards, or Elliot Spitzer, has done with extra-marital affairs.

  24. Jeff

    This is great! You people sound like the Dems, and Im one!Keep it up–by election time maybe you’ll have whittled her into Ginger from Gilligan’s Isle!

  25. Lee Muller

    The news forgot about Obama’s speech in the news coup of the Sarah Palin announcement.
    Did you notice that she can speak without hesitation on every subject, without having to read a speech written by someone else, like poor old Obama?
    Obama is not even a US citizen. He will be off the ticket, with Biden and Hillary running by October.

  26. faust

    Jeff, you’re wrong. I am proud of Sarah Palin to be sure. But I am certainly not attempting to whittle her into the likeness of Ginger, or Mother Theresa or anyone else. I’m not trying to build her up into anything she’s not. But I am not about to allow flaming liberal hacks like Bud or Brad or Doug make these cowardly, oblique and snippy little attacks on her character by using her child against her. It is a stone cold fact that she has accomplished more in her 44 years than any of the leftist jokers on this blog have done. And if the truth gets told, it’s very likely that she’s a better parent than any of them too.
    If you disagree with her stands on the issues, then have some courage and say outright where you believe she’s wrong. Instead, what we’ve had for 2 days now are these slimy, chickensh*t little cowardly hints that she’s not a good mother.
    This, AND the overt sexism we’ve seen from Warthen are shameful, petty little tactics which come from shameful, petty little men.
    I have attempted simply to call this what it is. If you are a liberal, then I am glad you don’t like it.

  27. faust

    And further, as far as Warthen is concerned, I think I made a very salient and accurate point earlier when I said that I bet he doesn’t call Cindi Scoppe a “babe.” You had better believe Brad Warthen only uses this kind of derogatory and demeaning term for a woman when he’s good and sure he can get away with it. He hasn’t the guts to toss that term around on Shop Road because he knows the consequences would be immediate and catastrophic.
    If that is not unadulterated cowardice, then what is it?
    I don’t dislike Brad per se. But my opinion of him has never been lower.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, what I used to call Cindi — what she called herself — was “designated mean bitch.” I think she coined it.

      It had to do with the role she played as we debated certain issues.

      I meant it, and she understood it, in a good way…

  28. HP

    “He [Obama] will be off the ticket, with Biden and Hillary running by October.”
    Lee, get your DC pants on. YES YOU CAN — make it happen!
    Cartwheels here: (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)

  29. ishmael v. beverly

    this reminds me of why i discontinued my subscription to the state newspaper two years ago. Gov. Palin has really got you liberals worried, hasn’t she?

  30. Leave It To Me

    I am a card-carrying-voted-Republican-since (not telling)-female-Southern-…
    McCain messed up by not going with Romney.
    Gee, Wally, I mean Beverly, I think she’s swell!

  31. faust

    It just occurred to me that the exact same, stupid-a$$we arguement bud and Doug and other liberal nutjobs are making against Palin can be made against Obama:
    Hasn’t he got 2 little girls who need their father? What a horrible father, parent and human being he must be to want a job like the presidency! Those girls are going to be neglected.
    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  32. Sami

    I’m still looking for more relevant political news — I’m looking for the articles of this newspaper reporting on the disgusting comments by Don Fowler, former DNC Chairman and husband of the present SC State DNC Chairlady.
    He was recorded on a plane trip recently, and his remarks and girlie giggles were repulsive to all human beings, imo.

  33. --

    Say: Gustav.
    como se dice — “gust of wind?”
    Say: Gust av Hillary!!!!!!!
    como se dice — “NoWay NoHow NoMcCain”
    Say: Gustav.
    Life is short. Play hard.

  34. Doug Ross

    If you don’t know the difference between a five month old and a seven year old, then I’m guessing you still haven’t had a kid yet.
    And today’s news of Palin’s unwed teenage daughter just provides further evidence that Palin puts political ambition over family.
    She never should have accepted the spot. She should have delayed her political aspirations til 2012.
    What kind of attention will she be able to give to her daughter who will a) have to get married b) go through pregancy and c) deliver a baby — all before Palin would take the oath of office in January. And where exactly will the newlyweds be living? A continent away from Palin or in the media microscope of Washington? Who would subject their daughter to either of those choices?
    The McCain campaign seems like an episode of “Dallas” from the 1980’s.

  35. --

    I think Bristol’s a smart cookie that made — hmmmm — a decision. Like her mamacita. She wants to stay in Alaska. Wouldn’t you?!?!?

  36. Mike Cakora

    bud – You wrote: “A real conservative would not abandon her young, special-needs baby to tour the country running for vice president. That’s not family values conservatism, that’s selfishness.”
    Speaking of selfishness, do we detect some sexism here? Ann Althouse notes several interesting parallels, like when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, John Edwards did not drop out. (Fortunately her cancer went into remission, giving John more time to devote to his, er, campaign…) One of her commenters added this:

    Ann, Joe Biden talks about facing that question when his wife and daughter were killed, and his sons injured, in that car accident. I can’t recall anyone ever criticizing him for making the decision to remain in the US Senate and commute from Delaware to DC.

    Look, I know you’re pushing a meme to help your guy, and you’re smart enough to avoid looking like you’re ganging up on a gal, but try to refine the message so that you don’t like you really are ganging up on the gal. Okay? It looks like you and Doug are arguing that women need to stay at home and do nothing but take care of the kids….

  37. Doug Ross

    I can’t speak for Bud. I am arguing that an infant is not the same as a young child. An infant needs a mother – full time – in my opinion.
    2012 would have been a perfectly acceptable time for Palin. 2008 is not.
    With the added burden of (hopefully) caring for, counseling, and helping her teenage daughter prepare to get married and have a baby herself, I’m just taken aback that a mother would choose to enter the campaign RIGHT NOW. And I haven’t talked to a mother yet who disagrees with me. (These are your typical soccer moms, not radical feminists). They all just shake their heads and say “Why?”
    Would you really have been disinterested had it been Chelsea Clinton in the same situation 16 years ago? Let’s be serious.
    All I can say is that the Republican Party should rename itself to be the Irony Party. Because the events of the past few days would certainly have been received FAR differently had they happened to a Democrat VP choice.

  38. faust

    Doug, you’re operating under an erroneous assumption: You’ve apparently assumed that I’m willing to have a discussion with you.
    My last post wasn’t addressed to you. It was ABOUT you. I’m not discussing, debating or arguing anything with you or anyone else.
    I am pointing out the hypocrisy, pettiness and intellectual vacancy I see on parade on the left, and specifically as those things are obvious in the things YOU have said.
    I know what I see, and I am not going to be argued or talked out of it by you or bud or Brad or any other leftist loons.
    If attacks on Palins’ motherhood are all you got, then bring it Butch.
    Let America see just exactly who and what you are between now and November.

  39. Doug Ross

    I understand, Faust. Debating a position would require you to actually comprehend the written word instead of relying solely on what Rush tells you.
    And debating a position would require bringing facts to the table instead of the infantile “leftist loon” labels you think somehow apply to me (a person who wouldn’t vote for Obama under any circumstances).
    You do serve a useful purpose, however. You demonstrate the average demographic for the Sean Hannity show.
    Sarah Palin should not have accepted the nomination for Vice President at the expense of caring for her family. She could have remained Governor and done that. She chose political ambition over family obligations.

  40. bud

    Mike, you know good and well that the GOP has gotten tremendous mileage out of all this family values nonsense over the years. They portray themselves as the party that does it the right way when it comes to family planning issues. They abstain from sex before marriage. Mothers stay home with there children until they’re in school. The whole litany of so-called family first values is drummed into the heads of voters incessantly. Then they turn around and portraty the Democrats as a bunch of Sadahm and Gommorah hedonists with no thought whatsover to the betterment of family.
    Now along comes our very own Sarah Palin who returns to work after a 3 day maternity leave. For all intents and purposes she will now be abandoning her infant son to run around the country as John McCain’s “soul mate” for the next couple of months. Apparently all this absentee parenting has resulted in a daughter who lacks the family values creedo as evidences by her sexual escapades.
    Let’s face it folks, the GOP should be the GOHP, Grand Old Hypocricy Party. They continue to go after the Dems on all this family value stuff but their own ship is very much in disarray. Trailer trash hypocrits like Sarah Palin have no business running for dog catcher let alone VP.
    We need Barack Obama and Joe Biden more than ever. Now there’s a team that truly reflects the meaning of the term family values. Two men who actually walk the talk.

  41. Lee Muller

    Abstinence never fails to prevent pregnancy and disease.
    What has failed are the “safe sex” and (how-to) sex education programs, which don’t try to discourage promiscuity, because would-be liberals don’t want to “impose their values” on children. Of course, they are imposing their values, which are immoral, and thereby sanctioning the amoral behavior of children.

  42. Lee Muller

    Is Joe Biden a “bad father” for “abandoning his children” to remain in the Senate after their mother was killed?
    Of course not.
    Neither is Sarah Palin.

  43. Brad Warthen Post author

    I just happened to return to this post five years later, and am startled by the emotional reactions this observation — which was dead-on accurate, and has been made by others many times since; I was just ahead of the curve, and more honest than most commentators who were tiptoeing around Mrs. Palin at the time — engendered from both ends of the political spectrum.

    Conservatives were SO defensive. And the reaction from the left brings to mind one of the best of all the “lightbulb” jokes:

    “Q: How many feminists does it take to replace a lightbulb?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Whoever did, it’s a great joke. Maybe even better than this one:

        “Q. How many Charlestonians does it take to change a light bulb?
        A: Six. One to change it, and five to sit around talking about how grand the OLD bulb was…”


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