Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Sarah Palin and Tina Fey, Too

You have to hand it to Republicans. They know how to make politics entertaining. And there is no better political entertainer than Sarah Palin.


Photo Credit: Jeff Malet,

Appearing at the Freedom Forum in Iowa, Palin hinted she may try for the presidential brass ring in 2016. Her hint drew an instant “thank you” from the National Democratic Party. Who said her political career was in eclipse?

Palin’s speech last weekend reminded everyone why she is so entertaining. She invents words, mangles syntax and jumbles metaphors. She has gone rogue on the English language. And maybe on American history, too.

As Tina Fey has immortalized in her parodies of Palin, this is nothing new. The Huffington Post included a slideshow of some of the more famous Palinisms, such as her greeting to the Charity of Hope gathering in Ontario where she said: “I don’t know if I should Buenos Aires or Bonjour.”

Palin was a little less colorful and lot more muddled than usual in Des Moines. The right-leaning National Review called her talk “meandering and often bizarre.” For example, Palin said the federal government “isn’t too big to fail; it’s too big to succeed…so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo.”

Palin went on to provide a definition of status quo, which she helpfully noted was Latin: “It stands for, ‘Man, middle-class everyday Americans are really getting’ taken for a ride.'”

One social media observer wondered, “She’s gotta be drinking at this point.” Another tweeted, “Palin gives what most call her most incoherent speech ever! That’s a high bar!”

When you are a real maverick like Palin, you don’t boot off your presidential campaign with just an ordinary speech. It would have helped, however, if she had kicked off her campaign with a working teleprompter. Her “people” said the teleprompter went on the blink during her speech, forcing her to “ad lib.” That doesn’t appear to be a strong suit for Palin.

Like so many apparent Palin pratfalls, this one has achieved what may have been her underlying objective – to get back in the headlines. Negative narratives about her speech just reinforce her ongoing narrative about the “lame stream” media and “librals” who can’t stand the heat of her logic.

One especially cynical political observer said Palin’s real motive may be to stoke up a campaign long enough to rake in political contributions, which she can use later after she drops out to cover personal living expenses. The “campaigner for cash” concept has at least some validity because Palin has faced previous allegations of living off the dimes of donors.

425_fey_palin_1021081I’m personally glad to see Palin back in the ring because that means Tina Fey will be back impersonating Palin. That’s double the fun, even though Fey often doesn’t have to write any new material for her bits.

Fey is talented and can do a great Palin impression. But there is no question only Palin is clever enough to coin words such as ‘refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate’ and ‘wee-wee’d up.’ Unless, of course, you count Shakespeare.




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