The Amazing Mrs. Palin

I didn’t think until this morning to connect Sarah Palin to the
tv show The
Amazing Mrs. Pritchard
, which describes a supermarket manager
who becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The New York Times has an article
this morning
about the ways the Republican establishment attempted to advise
her on how to become one of them. The quote that struck me was:

Mr. Malek [described earlier in the article as “a longtime Republican
kingmaker”] said he told Ms. Palin that “You have got to set up a mechanism so you can return calls.”

“You are getting a bad rap,” he recalled saying. “Important people are
trying to talk to you. And she said, ‘What number are they
calling?’ She did not know what had been happening.”

I am someone who frequently tries to organize people whose desire
to be in touch with the world isn’t ardent enough to have forced
them to organize the possible ways of getting in touch with them
so that there’s a reliable way to make contact. That “What number
are they calling?” sounds really familiar. You have work phones
and home phones and cell phones and email addresses and fax
numbers, and nobody could possibly check all of those all the
time, so if you hear that someone has tried the wrong one, you
tell your informant what the right one this week is. And I can
see where kingmakers aren’t used to dealing with
people like this. In my part of the world, even successful
organizers on a much lower level than the ones who run campaigns
for Governor are better organized about how to tell people how to
get in touch with them than this.

As I remember the TV show, Mrs. Pritchard does have some
trouble adjusting to living in the middle of the mechanisms set
up so that a Prime Minister’s phone calls get returned and
commitments get recorded. It’s part of the unreality of the
format that it’s a temporary adjustment difficulty that gets
wrapped up in a 50-minute show. But it’s also part of the
portrayal of Mrs. Pritchard as an unusually intelligent woman that
she does realize the necessity of the mechanisms.

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