The way I look at it, the show provides relatively wholesome entertainment that the entire family can enjoy — my wife enjoys the drama of it all, I enjoy the athletic components of it all (read: the skimpy outfits on the women), and my four-year-old daughter says up later than normal and performs her best cha-cha in front of the television while wearing a tiara and a tu-tu, all the while hearing from mommy and daddy that great things come from hard work and determination.
I myself cannot dance, and have been known to tastelessly joke that I suffer from a medical condition known as C.R.D. — Caucasian Rhythmic Disorder. Sure, I bop around awkwardly at weddings and shimmy shamelessly along to music in the driver’s seat of my car, but if someone were to fit me for dancing footwear they would need to find two left shoes.
Perhaps, politics aside, that is what has been so mesmerizing about watching Bristol Palin progress on Dancing With The Stars this season. Here’s a girl who is reviled by millions, automatically and through no fault of her own, because of her mother, who is as polarizing as she is engaging. Here’s a girl who was plucked from behind a receptionist’s desk in a medical office, completely devoid of dance or performance experience, and has managed to hold her own against singers, actors and others accustomed to performing before an audience. And her success has brought up a few points and questions.
So Much For Social Justice
Most special to watch, in my opinion, has been the visible change in the way Bristol Palin has taken to carrying herself. Watching her confidence grow, week to week, has been inspirational. Now, is Bristol the best dancer or best performer among the field? Of course not, and the same people on the left who deride her mother will note as much, and insist that she absolutely does not deserve to be in the finals of the competition. She’s not as good a dancer as Jennifer Grey or Brandy, they say. She’s not as much of a performer as Kyle Massey, a teen programming veteran on the Disney Channel. She’s just not good enough to be there!
As Rush Limbaugh noted today: It took Dancing With The Stars for the American left to be concerned about merit.
The same people who insist upon a legislative answer to the exponentially expanding success of talk radio, essentially a way to force leftist opinions into a marketplace in which they have failed to garner solid ratings time and time again, are suddenly opposed to Bristol Palin’s opportunity as one of the three finalists on Dancing With The Stars because she has failed to garner the same scores with the show’s judges as other, more polished contestants. The same people who believe that an individual who has risen earlier and worked late for their entire life in order to amass a comfortable living should be legislatively compelled to share that hard-earned income with those who haven’t chosen to work as hard are suddenly opposed to Bristol Palin’s chance to compete for the championship against singers and entertainers who have spent their lives training and polishing their abilities to perform in prime time.
The fact is, by all appearances Bristol has indeed worked hard. And her progression from someone with two left feet to someone who can shimmy and shake and tango shows that she absolutely deserves to be there.
Palin Derangement Syndrome is Hereditary
Professional dancer Derek Hough’s jaw dropped open wide enough that tiny Jennifer Grey could have climbed inside. Judge Bruno Tonioli said that he was “disappointed,” hedging his words quickly by making it seem as though he was disappointed merely because Brandy had turned in a pair of good performances the night before, and that he was looking forward to seeing her dance again.
Across the country, the reactions were even more pronounced. Good Morning America ran a seven-minute piece which alleged that Tea Partiers were rigging the voting at Dancing With The Stars (dancers are saved or eliminated based upon an aggregate of one-half judge’s scores and one-half audience voting), commenters at The Huffington Post insist that “if Bristol Palin wins, the whole season was rigged,” leftist Web site Jezebel.com posted an article entitled How Palin Conservatives Are Cheating the DWTS Voting System, and the local Philadelphia Fox affiliate ran a sting operation of sorts, showing how multiple voting accounts can be created by those willing to spend hours astroturfing support for Bristol.
Meanwhile, in Vermont, 67-year-old Steven Cowan was so distraught over Bristol’s success in making the finals that he loaded a shotgun, blew a hole in his television set, and then turned the gun on his wife. Thankfully, she escaped, and he was arrested after an overnight standoff and charged with reckless endangerment. As Cubachi points out — and they call conservatives the “bitter clingers.”
It seems, friends, that Palin Derangement Syndrome is hereditary.
Bristol’s Dancing, the Tea Party, and Sarah’s Future
I cannot say that I completely agree.
There is no debating that Sarah Palin is ascending. Her show on The Learning Channel, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, has set records for the already successful cable network. Her book, Going Rogue, was a commercial success. Her influence on the mid-term elections was obvious and well-documented. Her ability as a consistent fundraiser is nearly without parallel. And on television as a Fox News contributor, she has shown growth in terms of her understanding of domestic and foreign policy and her articulation of conservative principles. The reaction to her daughter’s success on a campy television dancing competition, however, shows that she still has a long way to go.
While I do count myself a supporter of Sarah Palin and believe that she would do a fine job if elected president of the United States of America, the realities of her polarizing nature keep me from enthusiastically supporting her candidacy in 2012. The reaction to even the mere mention of her name is enough to render Americans across the political spectrum unwilling to proceed any further in cogent discussion, and I wonder if she could succeed in an electoral sense while being such a lightning rod. Apparently, according to a piece run today at The Daily Caller, my feelings are well in line among others on the resurgent right:
Interviews over the last few months with Tea Party conservatives – who spoke with TheDC at rallies, organizing events in and outside of Washington, and over phone and e-mail – have hit upon the same thing time and time again. Many in the grassroots think Palin is an outstanding spokesperson for Americans who do not feel like they have power or a voice and are dismayed at the direction the country is going in. They revel in her anti-establishment, anti-elite attitude, and cheer her on as she mocks and criticizes the Washington political class.
But their enthusiasm often falters when it comes to 2012.
“I like Palin,” said Alan Reasin, a 65-year old retired nuclear power plant engineer from Conowingo, Md, holding a large “Don’t Tread on Me” flag outside the U.S. Capitol Monday at a small rally featuring Tea Party favorites Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican.
But Reasin, who is on the steering committee of the Cecil County Tea Party Patriots, said he thought Gen. David Petraeus, the decorated military official who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan, should run for president.
As for Palin, Reasin said, “She’s got too many negatives, not for me, but for too many people. So I think she’s better off on the outside looking in.”
Reasin’s comments point to a growing recognition that while Palin is intensely loved by her supporters, she is strongly disliked by a larger percentage of Americans. The most recent poll to demonstrate this, a Politico/Penn Schoen Berland survey released Tuesday, showed 36 percent who view her favorably and 53 percent who view her unfavorably.
Much like the influence of the Tea Party and the resurgent right was obvious in the results of this month’s mid-term elections, the influence of the same people are likely behind Bristol Palin’s success on Dancing With The Stars. Watching the end of the show last night, I told my wife that, “if Bristol makes the finals, she will win.” And I stick by it. Little bits and pieces and words and phrases picked up during the Dancing broadcast–such as the revelation that the volume of voting this season far exceeds the volume from previous seasons–suggest that the outpouring of support for Palin has been nothing short of extraordinary, and I believe it will result in Bristol hoisting the delightfully tacky “Mirror Ball” trophy.
Will Bristol’s performance and support from the Tea Party translate into victory for her mother in 2012? I don’t think so, but nobody can be certain. One thing we absolutely can be certain of, however, is that a Bristol Palin victory on Dancing With The Stars would be enough to endlessly infuriate the American left. So much so that televisions everywhere could be shattered by gunfire. That liberal anger alone, my friends, is enough to get me dancing.