Palin at the Flyers: What the @#$%& Were They Thinking?

In the annals of political incompetence, there are gaffes, bad ideas, flops, and disasters. And then there is the decision to send Sarah Palin to Philadelphia to drop the first puck at the Flyers’ home opener. Palin, as could have been easily predicted by someone with a positive IQ, was roundly booed by the crowd.

As Tip O’Neill commanded to aspiring politicians: “Never Be Introduced at a Sporting Event.” One might add to this, “Never be introduced at a sporting event in a largely Democratic city in the middle of a national election campaign.”

But you really have to hit sub-zero level when you decide to do this in Philadelphia. The city is infamous for the way it treats its own sports heroes: you’re going to let them loose on Palin? This town has booed Mike Schmidt, Robin Roberts, Julius Erving, Bernie Parent, Donovan McNabb, Dick Allen, and Eric Lindros. (Okay, maybe Dick Allen deserved it.). Giving them Palin is just asking for it.

What in the world could the McCain campaign have been thinking?

Maybe it’s just that they believe their own propaganda. Despite the mountains of evidence that the white working-class regularly supports Democrats, they really think that there is someone called Joe Sixpack who identifies with Sarah Palin. Hockey does not attract legions of minority fans. Perfect! We’ll show them that working people really like us!

Well, whatever Joe Sixpack thinks of the election and of race, he doesn’t like being made into a campaign prop. And in case anyone thought differently, they certainly know now.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.