Tim Tebow might have lost yesterday, a 41-23 setback to the Patriots in which he was thoroughly outplayed by Tom Brady, but his transformation into full-fledged political figure – mostly thanks to others – is only gaining steam. The latest step: praise from Sarah Palin on Fox News yesterday. Palin was talking about the Republican presidential field, but then, near the end of her segment, interviewer Shannon Bream brought up Tebow, for no particular reason, and Palin was eager to praise the quarterback/social phenomenon. Video, via Mediaite:
There’s a reason Palin was so enthusiastic there. For her, a Tebow reference is pretty much putting the ball on the tee and letting her whale away at it. Does she genuinely admire Tebow for his open expressions of faith? She may well. But she also knows that there aren’t many easier ways to pander to her base of supporters than to say that Tebow “knows that Jesus is gonna rock your world when you give it all over to Him.”
And even if Palin never runs for political office again, that base is going to buy her books and watch her shows and attend her speaking engagements, and Tebow presents a convenient way to give them what they want to hear. And Tebow’s already been invoked for political gain. Why, “Tebow” is (with minimal effort from Tebow himself, especially since the Super Bowl ad, we should note) turning into its very own dog whistle. Many more mentions by political (or ex-political) figures, and we might need a new definition of Tebowing.