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Sarah Palin, Fake Annie Oakley

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At the end of a defensive post about Sarah Palin's hunting fiasco taped on her TLC show, the Wall Street Journal blog finally admits to a final insult out of the whole sorry spectacle:

"True enough. It was a young cow, something most hunters would have passed up, looking for a more impressive trophy."

The caribou she shot was a young cow.

It's not going to help Sarah's image, which in the latest McClatchy-Marist polling has the Tea Party queen trailing the pack.

Now, I'm not a hunter, though we are gun owners. My husband is a firearms expert, taught me to shoot, is an experienced hunter, someone who has coached his kids to respect the sport of hunting, as well as the game being targeted.

Sarah's hunting stunt was a photo op, but I guess we can be glad she didn't shoot someone in the face.

Among the basic items of protocol blithely ignored by Palin as she set off into the wilderness in a Rambo-style headband was her failure to take practice shots, or check the sights of the rifle, which duly turned out to be off-kilter. She failed to carry her own weapon, relying on her elderly father and his companion, Steve, to lug it around. When a beast eventually wandered into range, Ms Palin left Chuck Snr to load the rifle, and discharge spent bullet casings. - Hunter becomes the hunted as Palin critics say she can't shoot

"Does it kick?" is now the question heard round the web. If Sarah was a Democrat, she'd be flayed for this fakery. I can't imagine asking that question, except the very first time you fired a rifle, which for me happened when I was a kid.

Palin's latest embarrassment comes as TIME's cover story on Sarah Palin lands, one in which she gives little doubt she's moving closer to a presidential run.

But Palin thinks Obama is vulnerable, and she implies that she is the one to take him on. "In battleground states, he's polling at 40% or below," she notes. "The country is rejecting his agenda... My vision of America is diametrically opposed to his. He sees America as the problem. I see America as the solution." Asked what she makes of Obama's presidency thus far, Palin quipped, "Two words: Jimmy Carter." Asked who can beat him, she needed seven more: "Someone who can draw a sharp contrast."

As she does, her people need to rein in her needless penchant for setting herself up as an easy target, on video no less, as she did in last week's episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska.

It seems not even her fans are willing to put up with Palin's preening. From the UK Independent:

"What a joke," wrote one viewer on Palin's Facebook page. "I was a fan before the show. No one who is a true hunter lets others carry their rifle or can't load their own shells. Sarah, you are a phony."

"What kind of a question is that?" wrote a fan called Brad Schegel on Palin's Facebook wall. "Doesn't matter if it kicks or not, you shoot it the same. That was a girly question, momma griz."

Sarah now becomes yet another in a long line of right-wing politicians who think it's important to show she can shoot, when she actually is not only clumsy and tentative, but doesn't respect the hunting of animals enough to make sure of the animal she's shooting.

I won't even get into the fact that she couldn't catch one salmon in another Sarah Palin's Alaska episode, in a scene that had the fish lined up for the hook.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and veteran national political writer out of Washington, D.C.

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