Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Palin: Hotspur of the Moment

Discussing her autobiography "Going Rogue" with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, Sarah Palin came off as someone who fell prey to her emotions. The closest parallel was of another "Hotspur," from a play over 400 years old -- Harry Percy, anti-hero of the Shakespearean drama "1 Henry IV."
Both Palin and Percy suffer because of their emotions. On "Oprah," the former Republican vice-presidential candidate addressed her biggest failure during the 2008 campaign: The disastrous interview with Katie Couric. Palin provided some context: She was soaring in confidence following popular acclaim, which made Couric's questions -- such as what newspapers she read -- seem like an affront. Yet in blaming Couric for the candidate's poor performance, Palin came off as tempestuous as Shakespeare's Hotspur when he told King Henry IV that he did not give His Highness his prisoners of war because ... a royal official offended him.

I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold -- To be so pestered with a popinjay! -- Out of my grief and my impatience/Answered neglectingly, I know not what...

Hotheadedness is a bad quality in a leader. It dooms Hotspur's rebellion; he alienates allies and fights a fatal battle with the King. And while Palin's publicity is rising with her "Oprah" appearance and book tour, her tempestuousness may quash any hopes she might have for national political success. A nation embroiled in two wars and an economic crisis cannot have a commander-in-chief who governs by snap decisions.
Palin should use last fall's defeat as a chance to reflect. Her running mate, Sen. John McCain, apparently learned from his primary loss to George W. Bush in 2000, and used this knowledge to win the presidential nomination last year. If she wants to emulate McCain's success, Palin should start thinking about a more levelheaded approach.
So let's hope Palin has fun on her book tour ... and that when it's all over, she takes a good look at her shameless eggers-on like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck and thinks to herself a modern-day version of what the true hero of "1 Henry IV," Prince Hal, speaks in a soliloquy:
I know you all, and will a while uphold/The unyoked humour of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun,/Who doth permit the base contagious clouds/To smother up his beauty from the world, That when he please again to be himself, Being wanted he may be more wondered at...

No comments: