Charlie Sheen is not that popular. After all, the man called Thomas Jefferson a [wimp.] Nobody does that and survives with his popularity intact, except for possibly John Adams, and even he reconciled with Big Jeff later in life. Sure, Sheen’s something of a cult hero, but to become something of a cult hero you have to stop being generally well-liked.
Sheen’s popularity rating is two-thirds negative, across party lines, comparable to the response you’d get if you asked people whether they’d like all their health insurance to be taken away forever, but phrased the question confusingly. Ask the man on the street whether he’d vote for Charlie Sheen, and he’ll say something along the lines of, “No, weirdo,” or “It’s questions like this that make me worry about the future of the media,” or “Ask a frivolous question, get a frivolous answer” or “I’ll say whatever you’d like if you give me a dollar fifty to buy one of those pink balls of cake on a stick that Starbucks now offers; they’re delicious!” (That last one was just my opinion.)
I knew Palin was flagging. First the Post-ABC partnership emerged with polls saying that Palin’s favorability in the Republican Party had plummeted — 37 percent now view her unfavorably. But everyone was expecting that – two weeks ago, she accused me of Ending the Post, and nobody mailed me any of the moose carcasses with inventively-spelled, slightly passive-aggressive notes that I’d come to expect. Change was in the air.
But I had no idea how bad it had gotten.
Part of this is polarization — Republicans said they’d rather vote for Sheen than Obama, and Democrats said they’d pick Sheen over Palin. But this is independents! They were nice enough to pick Obama over Sheen — but nonetheless swung for the Rockstar From Mars (41 percent) over the Governor From Alaska (36 percent).
Sure, ask a silly question, get a silly answer. But maybe it’s a less frivolous comparison than it seems. She and Sheen are more alike than different.
Consider: both famously left their jobs midway through.
Both have had TV series that people enjoyed marginally more than Kate Plus Eight.
Both favor dropping ordnance from aircraft.
Both are people to whom I would not turn for expertise on foreign policy issues.
Their public pronouncements make about the same level of sense. Both are surrounded by enablers and tweet things that get everyone “all wee-wee’ed up.” They both like environments covered in snowy white substances.
They both respect the rights of women!
Charlie Sheen cured himself with his mind. Sarah Palin will fix the economy using hers.
And they have the same vice-like grip on the English language, squeezing it in their fire-breathing fists until it emerges totally transformed from its original meaning. Vatican assassins? I hope we can refudiate that tigerblood libel. Winning! I scarcely know who’s talking any more!
And, more fundamentally, both have the same delusion that people should be hanging on their every word. Forget the Lamestream Media. Forget television shows! They are coming to you Straight and Telling it Like It Is. Or rather, Like It Appears To The Uniquely Winning Rockstar Celebrity, Me.
So, I say, draft Charlie! Last month’s Sarah Palin moratorium didn’t stop people from thinking she might still be viable. But stand her next to Charlie Sheen — well, that just might give pause. After all, these are the two people on earth most likely to provoke the response, “Why are you still in the public eye?”
We always knew Charlie Sheen was a Hollywood actor with a Winning problem. Now he’s Sarah Palin’s winning problem, too.