We’ve seen the future, and it is Sarah Palin.
Well, actually it’s the eight-episode series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which debuts Sunday on TLC.
Once upon a time, the idea of a serious politician doing such a reality series would have been a ljoke in serious electoral circles. Climbing Mt. McKinley, complaining about prying neighbors, fending off daughter’s boyfriends and watching Mama Grizzlies in action? That’s no solution to the nation’s problems of unemployment, terrorism and — no but it’s how you get elected Celebrity-in-Chief.
Maybe one day, basketball- and golf-loving Barack Obama will host his own trash-talking show on ESPN but until then, here’s some on-air action we’d like to see from some other political players.
1. CHENEY: LIFE IN THE ER
After five heart attacks, various coronary and artery operations, a pacemaker and the 2010 implant of a left-ventricular assist device, who really knows more about health care in America than the former vice president?
And with that warm bedside manner the perpetually smirking Dick Cheney’s so well known for, as well as a love of underground bunkers, who better to take America to the frontlines of the domestic political battle of our time?
2. THE AMAZING RACE: HANNITY VS. OLBERMANN
Admittedly much more sedate than past series of the global adventure competition, this version would show which team of MSNBC and Fox News hosts can crosses the ethics line first. The winner would give a donation to a campaigning guest on his respective show.
Sure, on paper it sounds like not a lot will happen, but trust us the fire-breathing Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann could prove explosive in media circles. Maybe not as big as “John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi — Ultimate Cage Fighting,” but certainly bigger than Sean Penn and Naomi Watts playing Ambassador Joe Wilson and outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in “Fair Game.”
3. ARE YOU AS SMART AS MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD?
This surefire hit pits a mosaic of grade-school children, including descendents of victims of the Holocaust that the Iranian President says never happened, against the Iranian chief on matters of basic historical and scientific fact.
Some of the topics dealt with on the fast-moving, against-the-clock show would be how stealing an election with force and bloodshed isn’t democracy, even if you say it is; how a uranium enrichment program and constant missile testing is a move towards having nuclear arms regardless if you sometimes say it isn’t; and how there are gays and lesbians in the Islamic Republic even if you claim there aren’t.
Winners get a collector’s edition Don Johnson Electric Razor for that perfect “Miami Vice”-look beard.
4. BILL CLINTON’S LAS VEGAS
Back when he was leader of the Free World, most of what happened on Air Force One stayed on Air Force One. A lot has changed since then — and not just the former President’s weight.
He has been on his best behavior since Hilary became Secretary of State — promoting a better world with his foundation, no longer hanging with skirt-chasing billionaire buddy Ron Burkle and even becoming a health-conscious vegetarian.
Enough. Where better for a boy who ran wild in the streets of gambling den Hot Springs, Arkansas, as a boy than Vegas? Sure, there are some great restaurants — and a lot of Cirque du Soleil — but between the new Playboy Club, Cheetah’s and the Badda Bing Men’s Club, all we’re saying is this good times late night cable show would have more wonk than just policy.
5. SURVIVOR, ALASKA
In this time of tight network budgets, this is a great chance to combine two Mark Burnett-produced shows for maximum bucks and viewership.
The reboot of the tiring “Survivor” franchise would to put the entire Palin clan, from Mama Grizzly Sarah, silent but deadly outdoorsman Todd and “Dancing With the Stars” Bristol — plus the likes of Audrina Patridge, who Burnett is said to be developing a show for — through the challenges of the oil rich Northern Slope. And just think what happens when wild card contestants Levi Johnson, Donald Trump, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney, who did pretty well running the 2002 Winter Olympics, show up.
The winner, of course, gets a chance to help vote President Obama off the White House island in 2012.