Couldn’t ask for a better start to National “Shooting Moose in a Barrel” Week, could you? Just when you find yourself thinking that Sarah Palin couldn’t possibly do anything else to embarrass herself, there she is, caught red-handed -- well, black- or blue-black-handed, anyway -- smuggling the answers into the exam room.
And what answers they are!
“Budget Cuts” -- except that “Budget” has been crossed out, and replaced with “Tax.”
“Lift American Spirits.”
She needed a cheat sheet to remember those? They’re not exactly obscure provisions of the tax code, or the nearly unpronounceable names of far-away foreign leaders.
Nope: These are words and concepts commonly found around the home -- or at least commonly found around the home of anyone with an eighth-grade education and a functioning remote. But they were apparently outside Sarah Palin’s comfort zone as she prepped herself for a soft-as-pillows Q&A in front of an adoring audience of Tea Party faithful.
So Sarah: How’s that “Dopey, Strangey” stuff workin’ out for ya?
Perfectly, actually. And that’s the scariest part.
Sarah Palin is unembarrassable.
Anyone else would have gone fetal with mortification if word ever got out about the words she scribbled on her hand. Anyone else would be tied up in knots if that word got out just after she had launched another snark attack on the current president for using a teleprompter.
You’d think the disconnect -- Pot & Kettle, anyone? -- would be enough to give her pause, if not whiplash. You’d think the exposure of her nearly perfect hypocrisy -- on the matter of authenticity, no less -- would bring her up short. Make her slink off somewhere to regroup.
You don’t know our Sarah.
She writes “Hi Mom” on her palm and goes out again to meet her public. She tells Chris Wallace it would be “absurd” to rule out a run for the presidency in 2012 if running would be “the right thing” for the country, and for her family.
So confident. With so little to be confident about.
Assuming, of course, you happen to believe that the issues facing any president are complicated ones, and that solving them requires more between the ears than cute eyeglasses.
Condescending, are we?
It’s hardly “condescending” to point out that Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the major issues of our day -- at least as she’s now expressed them on numerous occasions, in numerous venues -- are narrow and shallow, and barely qualify as thoughts at all. It’s no more “condescending” to point that out than it would be for her to point out that she can field-dress a moose and land a salmon, and that you can’t.
Is it “condescending” to point out that the gazelle can outrun the gopher? Or is it just the truth?
Which isn’t to say the gopher doesn’t have strengths of its own. Nobody’s better than the gopher at getting down in the dirt. And nobody’s better than Sarah Palin at putting her finger on the public pulse -- or at least one extremity’s worth -- and giving it an extra little jolt. Nobody’s better than Sarah Palin at giving that nervous-resentful-angry pulse a certain voice.
It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that the two most significant words in the entire health-care debate were Sarah Palin’s: “death panels.” That those two words were also false, and dangerous, is something else again. But did any words have more influence on the shape of the conversation? Hardly.
Expect plenty more of it.
There are certain things that Sarah Palin does very well. There’s absolutely no evidence that running a country will ever be one of them.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.