Sarah Palin loves animals... next to her mashed potatoes. This was just one of many revelatory proclamations that the former Republican vice-presidential candidate offered this past weekend at the Safari Club International (SCI) Convention in Reno.
SCI holds an annual convention where tens of thousands of hunters gather to discuss trophy rooms, rifles, and trips to Mozambique -- past speakers have included George H.W. Bush and Tom Ridge. Newsweek recently release an article, originally reported by The Daily Beast, covering this year's event.
The report reveals that this past Saturday, Palin addressed the eager crowd in a room filled with 315 deer, 87 elk, 11 moose, 132 other antlered species, 38 lions, 27 leopards, 15 wolves, and 48 bears. All stuffed.
Palin provided zinger after zinger to a cheering audience. Speaking about organic food, she proclaimed, "We eat organic--we just have to shoot it first. And it comes wrapped in fur, not cellophane."
Regarding her TLC reality show, Palin admitted that her documented trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was politically motivated. She intended to show that the refuge is a "barren, desolate, less-than-pristine place." Apparently, this "barren" place, home to polar bears, wolves, caribou, and sheep, is a place "desolate" enough to drill for oil. Yet, Palin also stated, "I personally understand the importance of protecting the environment." Just not the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, apparently.
Palin continued by offering a bizarre suggestion: "If a caribou needs to be sacrificed for the sake of energy independence... I say, 'Mr. Caribou, maybe you need to take one for the team.'" It seems highly unlikely that the Refuge's 42 fish species, 37 land mammals, eight marine mammals, and over 200 bird species would want to take one for the team. This also seems unlikely for the caribou Palin killed on her reality show, in an act that prompted screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to state, "I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing."
Palin pulled out the big guns to demonstrate her support for hunting -- her children. In explaining the origin of her children's names, she described: "Piper was named after Todd's airplane, the Piper Cub, which gets us to the hunting grounds... 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?'"
While Palin spoke largely about hunting and the wilderness, she also addressed recent current events, from the Tucson tragedy and second amendment rights to a proposed media boycott saving her from blame for Egypt protests.
Overall, reports show that Palin's speech was met with praise at the convention - the crowd jumped to their feet before her name was even spoken, and a Fox News headline reads "Palin Knocks 'em Dead..." Dave Tofte, a speech attendee, told The Reno Gazette-Journal that he was impressed with Palin because "She's very pro-American." Carol Kjorstad, another speech attendee was reportedly impressed with Palin's conservation focus, but for an unusual reason. Klorstad explained that she supports protecting animals because "Everyone knows that hunting won't survive without animals being protected."
But for those who prefer organic food without fur, value the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's terrain, or prefer to name their children after non-violent acts, Palin's speech was perhaps not so impressive.