What was that explosion I just heard? Was it the conflagration between North and South Korea, or was it the release of Sarah Palin's new book, "America By Heart."
No one has ever accused Sarah Palin of possessing anything less than a take-no-prisoners style personality. As a politician, or cable TV celebrity, or whatever moniker she claims at the moment, her appeal is almost exclusively to the red meat crowd. And her new book does little to tone down the style for which she is renowned.
In it, she blasts feminists (after once having called herself one) and waves the flag of racial division. She blasts Democrats as Socialists, bullies Republicans for being too weak-kneed on budget items and dares to tread where no man (or woman) in the national political spotlight has had little-enough common sense to tread before.
Sarah Palin is the It-Girl of divisiveness. CNN reports, "Since her emergence on the national scene as the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, Palin has been arguably the country's most polarizing political figure. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation found 49 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of her. But that poll also found that nearly three-quarters of Republican voters view her favorably."
I keep imagining Ronald Reagan telling her, "Oh there you go again!"
In some of the most publicized portions of the book, she attacks the Obamas because they, in her words, "spent almost two decades in the pews of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people." I'm no fan of Wright or his style of preaching. But do we have to revisit that nasty, race-baiting incident? I'm fine with Palin challenging the president or his wife on policy matters, of which she does plenty in her book. But must we return to the chaos of the Wright days?
This is the type of tactic of which Sarah Palin has become the absolute political master. And it's a sad day in America, indeed. It is also the kind of tactic that costs her credibility among the majority of Americans, and will doom any presidential bid she seeks to make.
CNN reports: "In terms of winning the 2012 nomination, the question is how Republican-leaning Americans view the contenders. Palin comes out on top. Among adults who identify themselves as Republicans or GOP-leaning independents, 79 percent view her favorably, and 17 percent unfavorably.
"These findings worry many Republican officials. The poll suggests Palin might be able to win the nomination. But among independents -- they could be the deciding factor in the general election -- just 43 percent hold a favorable view of Palin, compared with 61 percent with a positive view of Obama."
Sarah Palin has become the world's foremost authority on first creating and then controlling chaos in terms of marketing her personal brand. First came the leaks during the presidential campaign of her disloyalty to Sen. John McCain, who brought her onto the national scene. Then the unwed teenage daughter of this devout Christian became pregnant and birthed a child. Then the nasty, messy public family-fight between the Palins and the father of Bristol Palin's son.
The chaos never ends. And on one level her mastery of it is fascinating. Her ability to consume way more than her share of "ink" or media coverage is incredible as well. But as a stateswoman or seasoned politician there's no there there.
The question for now is, has she become over-exposed? Will the media tire of her shortly? Will she just have to keep getting more and more outrageous to get attention?
I do not believe she could possibly win a general presidential election. But I also feel sorry for the Republican Party hierarchy because it will have absolutely no say in whether she runs for the nomination or not. Let us hope the media and the public tire of her increasingly predictable routine.
Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail bonnieerbe@CompuServe.com.