I was very fortunate to be where I was when the Governor of Alaska announced her resignation, because it gave me a great lead in to this story.
On July 3rd, I watched Sarah Palin's rambling, rolling, remedial-grammar-needing resignation speech in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, home of John McCain (yes, I know; technically Sedona is one of eight such towns that can make that claim, but cut me some slack it works). Had McCain not put Sarah Palin on his ticket I doubt most of us would have tuned in to watch her press conference on July 3rd. And what a shame that would have been, what a performance we would have missed! In just under twenty minutes Sarah Palin managed to mention just about everything that made her famous. The full text reads like Palin's Greatest Hits; Putin flying over Alaska (paragraph 5), drill baby drill (paragraph 6), digs at the national media (too many to list). Even little Trig got a shout out. And I can't think of another noteworthy speech that combined sports and dead fish, unless you count that Marx Brothers movie where Groucho recruits football players at the speakeasy where the password is swordfish. But I digress.
In case you haven't figured it out, let me be perfectly candid; I really enjoyed watching Palin's resignation speech. I am drawn to her speeches like a bull to the color red: I'm infuriated yet I can't turn away. But only when Palin herself does the writing, when she speaks from you-betcha land. You can tell when Palin's reading a speech written by someone else because it has a beginning, middle and end. When Sarah Palin wields the pen, what emerges is a gloriously crazy collection of randomness that has no equal in the world of politics. She jumps fearlessly from one thought to the next, mixing metaphors as she goes with sheer disdain for the English language. That woman hangs so many sentences she should move to Tombstone (sorry).
Since all this happened two days ago (an eon in the world of politics) the internet is full to overflowing with reaction from pundits and pontificators. Karl Rove was perplexed, George Will called her a quitter, and fellow Republican Todd Harris came out swinging with this killer statement on Politico: "I think Sarah Palin is on the verge of becoming the Miami Vice of American Politics: something a lot of people once thought was cool and then 20 years later look back, shake their heads and just kind of laugh." Ouch, Todd; tell me how you really feel.
Political watchers in other countries weighed in, too. The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph ran an excellent article by Toby Harnden who was once a Palin defender. I think he's changed because this article is entitled: "Sarah Palin, the empress has no clothes." Among Harnden's reasons why Palin supporters "need to take their blinkers (blinders) off" was my favorite: "Putting aside policies and party loyalties for a moment, compare the way Palin has dealt with political adversity to the way Hillary Clinton has. Unfortunately, there's no contest." And in case you still had doubts as to what he now thinks of the self-proclaimed hockey mom, Harnden ends with a loud slap: "How much more plainly can I put this? In terms of national politics, there's no there there."
Like everyone else who follows politics I have my own theories as to why Palin quit, two of them to be exact. One: she's got one heck of a skeleton in the closet, something so big it'll make even the Michael Jackson story disappear. My second theory is the same one written by David Wallechinsky in Huffington Post; Fox News may be literally writing Palin the big ticket she so obviously craves, possibly even as we speak. As Wallechinsky put it, "Why settle for being the governor of a state with a population the size of Columbus, Ohio, when you can have triple the audience with your own show on Fox News?"
But beside the speculation, my thoughts are turning to the one person I have yet to hear weigh in on the Palin resignation. And she's the one I want to hear from most of all.
Tina Fey, come back. Come back to Saturday Night Live just once more. I know you said you were done, I know you've got your own show. But this is bigger than you. Ms Fey, this is history. And you won't even have to write a sketch. Just do what you've done before - just read what Sarah Palin actually said on July 3rd, word for word. Come on, Tina, tell me you didn't watch that July 3rd press conference, tell me you didn't listen to Sarah Palin say: "I know when it's time to pass the ball - for victory." and think to yourself "OMG, I've got to do this." Think of it as your patriotic duty; you can do for us what Will Rogers did for Americans during the Great Depression-help folks take a break from their troubles and have a good laugh. Rogers knew that being funny when times were tough could be as patriotic as being heroic. And while he may have been a simple man Will Rogers knew what most doctors know, that laughter is good for what ails you. Our country's got a long list of ailments right now. I think a good dose of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin might do us a world of good.
Don the red suit, Tina. Make us laugh on one more Saturday night. Your country needs you.