Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin reminds me of Picket Fences' Mayor Rachel Harris

Governor Marge GundersonGovernor Palin has been called many things. Caribou Barbie. A Tina Fey lookalike. A Peggy Hill lookalike. A Chief Marge Gunderson soundalike. Bush in drag. Dan Quayle with an updo. "Mom" from Futurama. Lonesome Rhodes from A Face in the Crowd. Charo to Biden's Johnny Carson.

I once compared her grasp of foreign policy to Miss Teen South Carolina's grasp of the English language. I'd like to add another two cents to the "Palin is like..." game and compare her to someone really obscure: Picket Fences character Rachel Harris, the lingerie store owner who was hastily thrust into the seat of mayor of Rome, Wisconsin despite her lack of qualifications.

Leigh Taylor-Young won an Emmy in 1995 for her role as Mayor Harris, a cougar long before the term became popular (she was an early example of Picket Fences creator David E. Kelley's obsession with cougars, which was most memorably and disgustingly depicted through Fish's wattle fetish on Ally McBeal). The mayor slept with the much younger Deputy Kenny (but he pined for Deputy Max, played by Lauren Holly, who looked her hottest on Picket Fences and was one of the reasons why I checked out the show in the first place).

Leigh Taylor-Young at the '95 EmmysPalin's beauty pageant past isn't as lurid or hot as Mayor Harris' porn star past, but their policies and knee-jerk, out-of-control responses to issues are similar. The former Wasilla, Alaska mayor's attempt to ban books from the local library reminds me of the Picket Fences episode in which Mayor Harris ordered MTV to be removed from the local cable company's channel roster because she thought Beavis and Butt-head influenced the youth in Rome to be violent to each other (a grade schooler was on trial for shooting one of Sheriff Jimmy Brock's sons as payback for injuring his older brother during a prank-gone-bad). Mayor Harris continued to piss off the town by enforcing weapon searches on motorists and the fingerprinting of every Rome citizen.

That's what I fear will happen if Palin wins the VP seat. Like the citizens of Rome, we'll be treated to lots of bullshit enforced by someone who plays on people's fears and uses her looks or faux-folksy demeanor to distract the public from how underqualified she is for the job and how stupid and underwhelming her policies are.

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