Monday, January 26, 2015


I was tempted to ignore this weekend's disjointed, semi-coherent Sarah Palin speech, which stole the spotlight from remarks made by serious candidates for president, and thus greatly embarrassed the GOP. Republicans shouldn't worry, though: Palin will never, ever run for president (or, in all likelihood, any other office) because she utterly lacks the self-discipline and emotional maturity she'd need in order to be a serious candidate. In fact, she seems to lack even the self-discipline necessary to be a regular embarrassment to the party -- she's not going to make a daily habit of going out to high-profile venues and saying stupid things, because that would be hard work. So don't worry about her.

I will say, however, that I'm surprised to see this an explanation for the strangeness of Palin's speech:
The Republican Party’s most treasured rabble-rouser was forced to improvise part of her speech at a Tea Party conference in Iowa Saturday after her teleprompter apparently broke in the middle of her delivery.
Funny, but I remember a time when we were told that Sarah Palin was such a great speaker that she didn't need a teleprompter.

It was 2008. Palin had just delivered her acceptance speech at the Republican convention -- a speech that wowed the crowd. She seemed to be a star in the making ... and then Erick Erickson told us that the speech was even more impressive than we realized:
BREAKING: Sarah Palin “Winged” Her Speech Because of “Broken” Teleprompter

Halfway through Sarah Palin’s speech tonight at the RNC, people following the speech noticed she was deviating from the prepared text.

According to sources close to the McCain campaign, the teleprompter continued scrolling during applause breaks. As a result, half way through the speech, the speech had scrolled significantly from where Governor Palin was in the speech....

Unfazed, Governor Palin continued, from memory....

Contrast this to Barack Obama who, when last his teleprompter malfunctioned, was left stuttering before a crowd unable to advance his speech until the problem was resolved.

Sarah Palin. Winner.
The Drudge Report picked this up, and it momentarily became part of Palin's Cinderella legend.

Except that it wasn't true, as Politico's Jonathan Martin noted:
The teleprompter did not break

Sarah Palin delivered a powerful speech last night, but she did not "wing it."

... Perhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech. But I was sitting in the press section next to the stage, within easy eyeshot of the teleprompter. I frequently looked up at the machine, and there was no serious malfunction. A top convention planner confirms this morning that there were no major problems.
Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News said there was, at most, a slight malfunction:
I too was sitting in the press section, (behind Palin and off to her right side). I had a clear view of the TelePrompTer, and read along with her.

At one point I noticed, and remarked to a colleague, that it would jog a line or two ahead of where she had paused. I noticed that she seemed to use the pause afforded by applause to glance down at the papers in front of her. Having found the missing line or two (it was not more than that), she would resume.

Certainly she managed the hiccups smoothly, but this is not an example of winging it in the same vein as a Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, or Clinton might have.
If you watch the video, you can actually see the prompter showing the words Palin is saying, at 21:57, 26:24, and 32:15:

The press debunkings and the video evidence should have been the end of this nonsense. (Even Erickson's post is corrected in an update.) But days later, John McCain's brother Joe repeated the falsehood in Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper. So did right-wing blogger Don Surber. And Palin herself got into the act, saying, "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it, and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me."

I'm sure there are right-wingers who still believe that Palin improvised that professionally crafted speech. The fact that her incoherence over the weekend is being blamed on improvisation would cause these people cognitive dissonance, if they were capable of thinking logically.


UPDATE, THURSDAY: Palin is still telling this tall tale herself. Here's what she said on Sean Hannity's show last night, in response to a question from Hannity about the Iowa speech:
“I’m used to teleprompters not working,” Palin said. “Remember at the GOP acceptance speech back in ’08? The teleprompter broke there, too. It didn’t work and I kept on going. So, no, I don’t know, I received a standing ovation throughout and at the end of the speech.”
Yeah, whatever.


Victor said...

After watching her performance, I’m starting to rethink my opinion of Sarah Palin.

I’m starting to wonder if she’s not the greatest comedic performance artist in history – and that her family are supporting actors!

Think about it – she’s acting like some beyond dimwitted snow-machine-ridin’ Alaskan Hillbilly.

She makes Jethro on the “Beverly Hillbillies” sound like William F. Buckley!

And, she’s making millions!MILLIONS!!!!

Andy Kaufman had nothing on Sarah!

And, this weekend’s speech proved that she’s the greatest comedic performance artist of all time!

It’s not word-salad anymore.
It’s piles of word-puke and word-turds!

Either that, or as the years have gone by since she was McInsane’s VP candidate, she’s been chasing far too many elk martini’s with moose beer, and doing way too much Wasilla meth and weed!

What an epic fuckwit!

And, need I add that all the Democrats had to say, was, "Thank you!"

H.K. Anders said...

Add to this the reaction of Morning Joe Scarborough who wonders what has happened to Palin since her "electrifying" speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The answer is, "Nothing." Nothing has happened to her. She is what she has always been. Palin has never made an ounce more sense than she made in Iowa over the weekend. Her "electrifying" speech at the 2008 RNC was written for her and stage managed by professional political operatives whose entire job was to make her appear intelligent and credible.

And none of this should be a surprise to anyone. The Sarah Palin who embarrassed herself over the weekend is the same Sarah Palin who couldn't name a single newspaper that she reads. She is the same Sarah Palin who talked about how much she loved the "Real America," as opposed to some fake America where edumacated liberals eat Arugula and drive hybrid cars and believe in science. She is the same Sarah Palin who claimed foreign policy credibility based on Alaska's physical proximity to Russia. She was no less ridiculous then than she is now.

This is why the prospect of Palin becoming vice president was so horrifying to anyone who was not professionally, ideologically or emotionally invested in a Republican victory in 2008. We knew she was dangerously ignorant, intellectually incurious and emotionally unstable. That's why we didn't want her within one heartbeat of the presidency. It's not because were snobs or elitists or America-hating terrorists. It's because she was obviously incompetent and unfit to serve in that role. And McCain's poor judgment in placing her on the ticket required that he also be kept as far away from the Oval Office as possible.

This "new," incoherent Sarah Palin isn't new at all. It's all she's ever been. She has proved it every day since then, every time she has opened her mouth or posted some moronic, unhinged rant on Facebook.

The question is not, "What has happened to Sarah Palin?" The question is, how has it taken Republicans so long to realize what a rolling disaster she has been from her first moments on the national stage?

The only explanation is the most widespread case of willful mass self-delusion in the history of American politics.

Victor said...

Spot on!

We Libtards didn't delude ourselves, like the conservatives and the MSM DC Villagers, who treated her seriously.

We knew from day 1, that she was the most seriously potentially damaging and unfunny joke ever perpetrated on the American voters.

I suspect that, outside of Wingnut Welfare gatherings, her 15 minutes of fame (infamy) - stretched-out over 6 years - is about over.

At least, I hope so!

Grung_e_Gene said...

She's mentally disabled. But while she was successful enough to win the governorship of the state of Alaska the relentless propping up by bloody bill Kristol, Karl rove, joe scar, & the right wing Internet far chamber was necessary to turn her into the queen grifter she is today.

Tom Hilton said...

Making it all the more ironic, Palin indulged in more than her share of Obama teleprompter jokes. Hilarity: ensued.

I want to found the Dunning-Kruger institute to award honorary degrees to deserving candidates. Beginning, of course, with Palin.

Victor said...

I like that idea.

Mainly because, sadly, it's too late for her to receive the "Darwin Award."

Joey_Blau said...

Funny thing... she was just on Hannity and claimed.she winged it

"Palin: I'm used to teleprompters not working. Remember at the, um, GOP acceptance speech back in '08, the teleprompter broke there too and it didn't work and I kept on going, so, no, I, you know, I don't know, I received a standing ovation throughout and at the end of the speech"