Sarah Palin was the closing night speaker at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and her speech was just as awful as we've come to expect: an incoherent syllabus of bullet points, bumper stickers and word salads. It was an epic clown show -- a self-satirical illustration of the dumbing down of American politics. It was Sarah Palin's Greatest Hits, rolled out for a crowd desperate to leap to its feet, starbursts shooting from their googly eyes upon the mention of classic Palinisms like "Momma Grizzly" and "Hopey Changey."
Naturally throughout, she awkwardly mis-emphasized various phrases, while ignoring punctuation, each of which rendered the already juvenile, fragmented address even more difficult to comprehend in a basic makey-sensy kind of way. You'd think by now she'd have hired a professional speech adviser to instruct her on how to, you know, read. If Palin were capable of human self-awareness, she would've suffered from Broadcast News-level flop sweats within the first two minutes, but because the CPAC audience was composed of mindless suckers for strings of random thoughts from a professional troll, they gobbled it up like moose meat.
So as a public service, I watched Palin's address so you don't have to.
1) First of all, Teleprompters!
2) Not so subtle racism.
Palin observed that "across the river," meaning at the White House, young people are referred to as "Obamacare suckas." And yes, she performed her interpretation of an urban, African-American voice on "suckas."
3) Sleepy young people!
4) "No you can't make a phone call without Michelle Obama knowin' this is the third time this week you've ordered Pizza Hut delivery."
Huh? During a rant about the president's "Yes We Can" slogan (2008 called and it want its, etc, etc...), she seemed to suggest that the First Lady is perhaps using the National Security Agency to make sure we don't order pizza. But see, there's nothing even remotely like that going on -- not even as the basis for a joke. A basic Google search shows that, yes, Mrs. Obama is actually a fan of pizza.
5) "There is no such thing as a free lunch."
Except for Palin who once admitted, "We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada." Whoops. Also, due to Todd Palin's eskimo ancestry, Tripp Palin received health insurance via the Indian Health Services. Whoops, again.
6) "There's no free phone."
She's right. There isn't. The Obamaphone myth was debunked long ago. In fact, the actual program, which has nothing to do with either the 2008 or 2012 Obama campaigns, was partly due to actions by Palin's hero, Ronald Reagan who authorized what was known as the "Lifeline" program.
7) "Liberty needs a Congress on Cruz control."
She what she did there? Clever! I'm surprised she didn't add, "We should give the Dems Rafae-Hell in 2016! Get it? Rafae-Hell? Which sounds like Rafael, Ted Cruz's real first name? YAAAAY!"
8) Obamacare is "a government takeover of one-sixth of our economy."
No. No it's not. Every health insurance plan that's offered in the exchanges is from a private corporation without any ownership by the government. And the number of customers enrolled in those plans won't come close to being a sixth of the economy. Furthermore, nearly half of all exchanges are run by the states -- not the federal government. Weird, isn't it, that the red states are predominantly the states leaving the exchanges up to the federal government. Seriously, can you people stop it with this one? It's not even remotely grounded in reality.
9) Dr. Seuss. Again.
Palin did an extended bit about Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, recalling Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) filibuster. As soon as she held up the book, a doofus in the audience shouted, "Read to us!" Yes, really. A CPAC attendee wanted Palin to read them a children's story. Is there a better anecdote to underscore what's happening on the tea party right? It's the second time a top-shelf member of the tea party movement has invoked a children's book -- and their followers seem to love it. Given this level of enthusiasm, it's probably unfortunate that Palin mentioned that it's her 5-year-old son's favorite bedtime story. CPAC audiences and 5-year-olds love children's stories.
And yes, it's true. Palin read a new version of the book, prompting Theodor Geisel to rise from the dead, claw his way out of the grave, find the nearest brick wall and beat his face against it.
I do not like this Uncle Sam
I do not like his health care scam
I do not like this spyin’, man
I do not like ‘Oh yes we can’
I do not like reporters’ smug replies
When I complain about their lies...
Sigh. Again, the main character in the book eventually realizes that he loves green eggs and ham. It's such a bizarre book for the GOP to use against Obamacare. Someone should tell them how it really ends.
By the way, she admitted to stealing some of her new Green Eggs lines from the internet. Indeed, she stole all them from the internet. Moving on...
10) Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) carries the "common sense gene."
11) When Obama leads from behind, "The result is some very, very, very bad dudes gaining ground."
Yeah, watch out for all of those "bad dudes." They'll sneak right up and, I don't know, give you a purple nurple during recess. Jesus, really? "Bad dudes?!"
12) When Palin mentioned 2016, the audience chanted "Run Sarah Run!"
Regarding that, in the CPAC 2014 presidential straw poll, Palin received exactly two percent support.
31% KY Senator Rand Paul
11% TX Senator Ted Cruz
9% Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
8% NJ Governor Chris Christie
7% Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
7% WI Governor Scott Walker
6% FL Senator Marco Rubio
3% TX Governor Rick Perry
3% WI Congressman Paul Ryan
2% Former AR Governor Mike Huckabee
2% LA Governor Bobby Jindal
2% Former AK Governor Sarah Palin
2% Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice
I totally hope she runs. Because comedy.
13) On Secretary of State John Kerry: "No one needs to ask him, 'John, why the long face?'"
LOL! I get it! John Kerry has a long face! And he's a poopy-doody-head. ZING!
14) "The only guy who stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke."
Insane. If we correlate this with the NRA slogan upon which it's based, that means Palin is suggesting we use nukes against Russia, just like a "good guy with a gun" would use his firearm to stop "a bad guy with a gun." Again, insane.
15) Some Genuine Palin Word Salad:
While discussing women, Palin said, "Ask them who's really stereotyping you. Is it the people who believe that you're a thinking, achieving, striving, strong individual, or those who put you in a box and they define you still by body parts. Enticing girls to think that they need these guys to grow government to take care of them."
There's an actual thought in there somewhere. I have no idea where it is. But I'm sure it's in there. Nah, probably not. That last part, by the way, is an insult to the English language. Actually, it's an insult to all languages since the beginning of time. By the way, regarding the "body parts" line: isn't she from the Transvaginal Ultrasound Party -- the one that's all about regulating uteri and probing vaginas?
16) "Donkeys just bray, only Momma Grizzlies say 'hear me roar.'"
Wait, okay. I realize she's referencing "I am woman, hear me roar," but do grizzlies say they're going to roar? Or do they just roar? Are there talking grizzly bears in Wasilla?
17) And now, some authentic frontier gibberish.
"You are what matters in all of this. They coming before devoting their lives to preserving and protecting what is best in us. Some were veterans, some politicians, some housewives, speaking to soldiers, students, teachers, firemen, fishermen, farmers of every race color and creed. All were part of a remarkable movement of freedom and human flourishing, and for all that they have given us all they achieved such a great price that they paid in their honor work hard and feel good knowing the best is to come."
Now who can argue with that?
18) In addition to not understanding Dr. Seuss books, the tea party still doesn't understand the Boston Tea Party. Palin:
Palin: "We know America. Not from the top down, but from the heart looking out. And our message resonates. We believe in the promise of America and that message does resonate and it has been since a band of brothers dumped tea in the Boston Harbor. We have got to be that band of brothers and sisters again."
Shh! Don't tell Palin, but the founders were wealthy land owners. Toppy-downy kinda' dudes. Also, looking out from the heart? How does one "look" from his or her heart?
And finally, the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against both a corporate tax cut and a government bailout for the British East India company effectively reducing its export duty to zero, allowing it to undercut tea prices charged by smaller importers. It's been five years now and they still don't get that they're named after a protest organized in support of higher corporate tax rates and bailouts. Sheesh.
So there it is. Palin's CPAC speech.
While she might not be a serious contender for 2016, she's still a GOP rock star, as evidenced by multiple standing ovations during her 30-minute CPAC recitation of every tea party LOLcats meme from her Facebook wall. Therefore, yes, we still have to pay attention to what she has to say, chiefly because she influences opinions and ideas on her end of the spectrum, sadly enough.
Speaking of which, this shouldn't be a shock to anyone who's fair-minded, but I know quite a few very intelligent conservatives. I disagree with them on a variety of issues, but they almost always argue from a place of intellectual honesty and policy-based ideas. I consider them friends and fellow Normals. But why have they allowed their party to be co-opted by the kooks, crackpots and idiots -- especially Sarah Palin? Has it really been worth it? Has it paid off? Meanwhile, many of us have been observing a similar phenomenon emerging on the left. The sooner both sides marginalize the extremists to the fringes of the debate, the sooner we can have an adult conversation.
And Sarah Palin ought to be at the top of the list of the marginalized.