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I am not buying it. In spite of the best marketing efforts of Sarah Palin, Fox News, the Discovery Channel and Harper Collins, we know better. Palin is not an ordinary American. Harper and Collins, the publisher of Going Rogue, has attempted to market Sarah Palin as an ordinary citizen:
Fox News has featured her as the commentator of “Real American Stories”. The Discovery Channel has hired her as the host of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”. She travels the country on private planes, which cost over $7000 just to de-ice, her grandchild’s photos sold for over $300,000, she gets paid $100,000 to give speeches, that she didn’t write and which are repetitive of speeches she has already given. She has appeared on Oprah, the Today show, and on Fox with Glenn Beck. She has been interviewed by Barbara Walters and has been invited to Oscar parties and was invited to revel in a swag party which was reserved for only the most famous of celebrities. Reports are that she has earned over $12,000,000 since her resignation as Governor and that she only drinks out of bendable straws. While her performance in school was not even “ordinary” (most would describe her academic performance as below average) since being introduced at the Republican convention, Sarah Palin has distanced herself from “ordinary Americans”.
Compare Sarah’s income over this last 10 months to the average income per household in the United States. In 2007 and 2008, the median household income in the United States (defined as the combined income of the primary breadwinner and anyone over the age of 15), was $52,029.00. Thus, Palin makes as much in one speech as the entire “ordinary American household” earns in two entire years.
Consider the difference between an “ordinary” household, with two breadwinners. They would work a combined total of 8000 hours in two years to earn the same income it takes Palin to give one hour-long speech. Palin’s annualized income would be as much as an entire “ordinary American household” would make in 28 years. Income alone should be enough to separate Palin from “ordinary Americans”. While Palin says that she represents the working class and “real” Americans, most members of the working class and “real” Americans wouldn’t even consider spending $150,000 on clothing in the span of just one month.
However Palin is separated from “ordinary Americans” not just by wealth. Her status as a celebrity sets her apart from even the most celebrated of celebrities. I can’t remember any time when Tom Cruise, Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie, were featured so often on the cover of magazines, as the lead story in national press and the opening story on various television shows. Celebrity status has propelled her into the American spotlight in a way that transcends generational barriers, music preferences, and both conservative and liberal news media. Regardless of your gender, your ethnicity, or your political persuasion, you know who Sarah Palin is. The names “Bristol” and “Trig” have become as easily recognizable as the name “Prince”, none of whom are known by their last names.
Many people who have amassed the wealth of Palin have become philanthropic. Palin donates virtually none of her new found wealth to any charitable causes. Palin is not an “average” American and she is not an “average” philanthropist. She repeatedly mentions “Joe-six-pack” and “hockey moms.” Palin refers to herself when she says, “Main-Streeters like me”. She even told talk show host Hugh Hewitt, “It’s time the normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of Vice Presidency”.
Perhaps average Americans should take note. If Sarah Palin was ever an “ordinary American”, she is no longer.