Is Sarah Palin a Presidential Candidate or a Narcissist?

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The video she's produced about her time in Iowa is normal if she's a politician, bizarre if she's a private citizen, and selfish if she's a celebrity

sarah palin iowa fair full.jpg

Sarah Palin has released a new video that features moments from her recent visit to the Iowa State Fair. It is exceptionally well done: the production value is high, the former Alaska governor is cast in her best light, and it concludes with a grizzly bear rearing up on its hind legs and roaring as these words appear: "Thank You Iowa! See you September 3." That's when she is scheduled to give a Labor Day speech to tea partiers in Indianola, Iowa. So does this mean she is running?



Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review thinks so: "Is there any other conclusion after watching the Iowa video?" she writes. "I think she just shared which way she is leaning." An eagle-eyed Wall Street Journal reporter offers an alternative scenario: "Most suspect Ms. Palin will either endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry or run herself," says Danny Yadron. "In one scene, the former governor poses for a picture with girls in burnt orange 'Americans for Rick Perry' t-shirts. Make of that what you will." 

I won't hazard a guess -- yours is as good.

I will say this. That video is a perfectly normal thing to produce and release if you're running for president of the United States. But if you're just a private citizen touring around Iowa, playing up the notion that you're just a regular person, it's perhaps the most extreme act of narcissism I've ever seen. And I've watched more episodes of The Celebrity Apprentice than I care to admit.

So if you run, Gov. Palin, kudos on the video -- it managed to make use of high production values without descending into the absurdity of Tim Pawlenty's take on a Jerry Bruckheimer trailer. And I laughed at the bear. That was your way of winking at us, right? I appreciated the humor.

But if you aren't running, why are you using the people of Iowa and the civic interest in the presidential primary process to aggrandize yourself? Doing so may benefit you personally. But it's selfish, and seems calculated to keep your most loyal followers thinking that you'll enter the race.

Image credit: Reuters

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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