Egan on Sarah Palin, "Alarming" Alaskan Outsider

Liberal reporter turned blogger Timothy Egan argues that the Alaskan Palin may be too strange for mainstream America - a week after attacking Cokie Roberts for calling Hawaii a "foreign, exotic place" for Barack Obama to grow up in.

A week after describing McCain's running mate Sarah Palin as "militantly anti-choice," liberal reporter turned popular blogger Timothy Egan followed up on Thursday by painting her as an odd Alaskan outsider in "Palin's True North."

Egan took a cheap shot at the predominantly white conventioneers (the Democratic party uses a quota system to ensure vigorous minority representation):

Of course, she nailed the speech. She faced only an artificial media challenge; "Sarah Barracuda" has been able to talk to an audience, and throw an elbow - well - since high school.

As was self-evident among the sea of pink-faced delegates in St. Paul, the Republican base loves Palin. They love that she carried a Down syndrome baby to term - "living out pro-life values," as James Dobson said. They love that she told her church it was God's will that a natural gas pipeline must be built in Alaska. And they certainly love that she knows her way around a gun.

As Rush Limbaugh said on Wednesday, "Palin is twice the man Obama is."

But Palin's style may not play outside of Alaska.

Egan spun out some entertaining Alaskan eccentricities (freezers stuffed with moose meat, whiskey-swigging bush pilots), but only to make Palin seem weird:

But what many of us find, um, memorable, the rest of America may see as alarming, or at least strange. The CBS news survey on Tuesday, taking into account the Palin nomination, showed Obama with a 14-point lead among women. And a fresh Gallup poll suggests that the Palin pick has not helped McCain with Democratic or independent women, to date. It's hurt.

Shooting wolves out of airplanes is something Palin backs with zest. But most Americans have never seen a wolf, let alone considered shooting one from a Piper Cub.

Palin may be the only nominee on a national ticket since Teddy Roosevelt who knows how to field dress a moose, as Fred Thompson said on Tuesday. But most Americans have never killed a moose, let alone gutted one.


They say Alaska is what America used to be - true enough, in my experience. But it may not be what America wants to be.

And Hawaii (Barack Obama's birthplace) is?

At the Democratic convention, Egan saw Obama's exotic background as a virtue in an August 27 post before his acceptance speech in Denver, while lamenting that it was being held against the candidate:

Obama does not look like most Americans, and grew up in Hawaii, a state that a supposedly mainstream commentator, Cokie Roberts, called "some sort of foreign, exotic place."

"My story is your story," Obama tells crowds. But it's not. And the inspiring and deeply resonant parts - the son of a single mother who needed student loans to get through the nation's best schools, the prodigy who passed up big bucks law firms for low-wage community organizing - are already being cast in a negative light.