Sarah Palin is in serious damage control mode following her speech last weekend at the Iowa Freedom Summit. And she should be. But, once again, she’s doing the wrong thing. Rather than hunkering down and resolving to better prepare for her speeches and to actually study the issues, she’s feuding with Bill O’Reilly and sending out her daughter Bristol as a human shield.
Bristol posted a blog entry at Patheos, titled “Here’s What the Pundits Ridiculing Sarah Palin’s Speech Aren’t Telling You,” in which she defended her nincompoop mother and insisted the pundits are the ones who are the stupids. She singled out one line in the speech and questioned why no one understood what Sarah was saying: “‘The Man,’ can only ride ya’ when your back is bent.” Bristol complained, “People went nuts over this, saying it didn’t make sense.”
Well, the line alone makes sense, I suppose, but not in the context of the nonsense surrounding it. Here’s how it went down:
It’s too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads. Or nothing will change, with the same people and the same policies that got us into this status quo. Another Latin word, status quo. And it stands for, man, the middle class, every day Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride. That’s status quo. And GOP leaders, by the way, uh, you know, the man can only ride ya’ when your back is bent, so strengthen it. Then the man can’t ride ya’, America won’t be taken for a ride because so much is at stake.
Americans are getting taken for a ride, right? So, in her screwy metaphor, the Americans are the riders, suggesting they’re being taken somewhere, but Palin coupled that with the “back is bent” line that implies Republicans are the horse being ridden by The Man. Hence, WTF?
Yet Bristol wrote that it’s all good because the “back is bent” “analogy” (it’s not an analogy, it’s a metaphor) is borrowed from Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
So, in other words, why do all these Palin-haters think Martin Luther King was a gibberish merchant? Either that or: Mom was being MLK-esque!
By the way, Dave Weigel also noted the MLK quote, writing, “Palin knew what she was doing.” Oh really? Weigel and Bristol Palin are possibly the only two humans who really believe that. But again, it totally fails to take into consideration the horrendous mixed metaphor as the true source of the nearly universal ridicule aimed at Palin and her speech. The Bristol/Weigel argument also fails to present the mixed metaphor in the context of the rest of the ludicrous affair, which not only contained dozens of other sections that didn’t make a lick of sense, but which was also delivered in a herky-jerky way that sounded like Siri after dropping your iPhone in the toilet (see “Steve very strong, he goin’ rogue.”).
There aren’t enough MLK quotes on record to have rescued that train wreck — a train wreck of such massive proportions that it would have sent a normal public figure into hiding rather than this hamfisted triage mode. But Palin isn’t a normal public figure.