Sarah Palin spoke at the Safari Club International on Saturday to an audience of 2500 people, and "The Daily Beast" published an excellent article about the event. Palin did her best to woo the hunters, and it appears that the event was a huge success for her. Her core base still goes mad for Sarah. I doubt very much that these people care for facts, figures or inconvenient revelations. They just love their Sarah.
In a recent brilliant article, which should be recommended reading for every journalist who examines Sarah Palin, Andrew Halcro, a moderate Republican and well-know Alaskan Palin critic, shares his observations from the 2006 Alaskan gubernational campaign about this phenomenon:
Voters loved Palin for who she was, not what she knew and therefore gave her a pass and accepted her glittering generalities as public policy gold. All her vague talk about new energy and transparency were more important than specifics on improving education or public safety.
During an August 2006 candidates forum, opponent John Binkley asked Palin what her vision was for the University of Alaska. For the next forty five seconds Palin prattled on about travelling Alaska, talking to Alaskans. "I've been travelling the state in a Jetta, not a jet (an obvious swipe at former Governor Murkowski's ill-fated jet) and they understand the importance of education."
However, nowhere in the answer did she ever give any indication that she had an inkling of the role the University played in Alaska's future. In return, the audience swooned, as if she had just uncovered the cure for cancer.
If you read the article in "The Daily Beast", it appears that Sarah was in paradise during her speech. She found again the adoration that she feels is missing from the "lamestream" media, here it is:
Back in the Tuscany Ballroom, Palin is doing her part to cheer up the congregation, punctuating her remarks with one-liners that wouldn't have been out of place at Wednesday's dinner with Larry the Cable Guy. "My family loves animals in the wild—and also next to the mashed potatoes. "For most of these frou-frou, chi-chi types, the extent of their experience is in the Tiki Room at Disneyland." "We eat organic—we just have to shoot it first. And it comes wrapped in fur, not cellophane." The Safari Clubbers are going wild. (...)
Within seconds, Palin has pivoted to the real point of her remarks. "I'm knowing too, though," she continues, "how important it is, for their sake, for America's sake, that we do not allow the evil acts of one mentally deranged murderer [to] change America's way of life. We must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights, including our Second Amendment rights. Beware of what's coming. I really do believe that God has shed his grace on thee. We can't blow it. We can't allow an atrophy of the foundation that is America, that is so exceptional." With that, the Safari Club is on its feet again, and its keynote speaker is waving her way offstage.
But what was particularly interesting from my point of view were Sarah Palin's remarks about her TLC "alternate reality show", and how politics were included. "The Daily Beast" writes:
Warm welcome or not, it still takes a few minutes for Palin to hit her target. At first, she seems to address every topic except the aftermath of Tucson. She admits that she "threw a little politics" into her recent TLC reality show by dragging the crew to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge on the pretense of hunting caribou. Her real purpose? Showing viewers that ANWR is a "barren, desolate, less-than-pristine place"--perfect, in other words, for lots of new oil drilling. "If a caribou needs to be sacrificed for the sake of energy independence," she adds, "I say, 'Mr. Caribou, maybe you need to take one for the team.'"
Well, isn't that interesting. Mr. Caribou needs "to take one for the team?" Isn't this how Sarah always conducts politics, that one need to take one for the team - meaning, "for Sarah?" If for example a caribou has to die, because Palin needs to prove on TV that she is a tough killer - no problem at all. The animal is just there to be eaten anyway. If caribou have to die in ANWR for oil - who cares? Sarah doesn't. It seems to me that this is also the concept that Palin applies to her "staff members", who always have to be prepared to "take one for the team" as well. Ask Rebecca Mansour. Ask Frank Bailey. Ask Glen Biegel. The list goes on. It's a long one.
Finally, Sarah Palin doesn't hide her real ambitions during her speech: The White House has to be hers:
In public, Palin tends be guarded about her plans for the future. But earlier in the evening, she dropped a small hint about her potential ambitions. After some boilerplate comments about how "local government is the most responsive and responsible to the will of the people" she paused for a moment and stared out across the ballroom. And then came this: "that's why I think every president should have a run at gaining experience by being a councilmember, a mayor, a governor, a VP candidate, a commercial fisherman, a hockey mom." As the attendees cheered, Palin made a halfhearted attempt to quiet them down. "No, I'm kidding," she said, beaming. "I try to be funny some times. I'm kidding." But they hoped she wasn't.
The faith is still strong in Sarah - certain parts of the population still adore her and they always will. Sarah Palin's "WTF moments" and the inevitable and justified harsh criticism won't rattle their beliefs. The upcoming presidential campaign promises to be a very rough ride.
(h/t to Juicy76 for the article in "The Daily Beast")
I forgot to mention other interesting fact from this event - Sarah told a new version of how she named her kids, this time specifically designed for the hunters.
She even cites her children's Christian names as evidence of her outdoorswoman cred. "Piper was named after Todd's airplane, the Piper cub, which gets us to the hunting grounds," she explains. "Bristol, Bristol Bay fishing grounds. Willow, a local sport-fishing stream. Trig, I pull the TRIG-ger. Track... I remember when we told my dad that his grandson was named Track, he said, 'Like TRACKing an elephant?'"
Earlier in her speech, Palin proudly told stories about how her children have hunting names associated with Alaska. Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. Piper is named after an airplane, Willow after a stream.
The kicker is her son Trig. Mommy and Daddy Palin lovingly named him after the part of the gun which fires the weapon. Just pull the trigger.
So she claimed on Saturday to have named Trig for "pulling the trigger", and Track for "tracking an elephant."
How strange! In October 2008, Huffington Post reported the following, quoting a KTUU-story which is not accessible any more:
The grandfather says Trig is named after his great uncle, a Bristol Bay fisherman, while the name Paxson comes from the well-known snowmachining area.
So I guess Chuck Heath, the "grandfather", didn't get the memo.
We even have another version - from msnbc news on April 19, 2008:
Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow would not elaborate on the special challenges. She said the governor would talk with reporters early next week.
The governor went into labor Thursday while in Texas at an energy conference. Her contractions let up enough for her to fly home on Alaska Airlines to deliver her baby in Alaska, Leighow said.
The name Trig is a Norse word meaning "true" and "brave victory," Leighow said. Paxson is an area of Alaska that both Palin and her husband, Todd, feel is "one of the most beautiful spots in Alaska," she added.
Sarah Palin, always the woman of many stories.