After making headlines in 2008 as the running mate of Senator John McCain, being parodied on Saturday Night Live, and starring in her own television show, Sarah Palin has been somewhat absent from recent headlines. Until the Iowa Freedom Summit.
According to its website, the Iowa Freedom Summit endeavored to: "bring grassroots activists from across Iowa to hear directly from conservative leaders on how we can get America back on track by focusing on our core principles of pro-growth economics, social conservatism, and a strong national defense." With GOP headliners such as Senators Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, and Rick Santorum and Governors Rick Perry and Chris Christie - the event is shaping up to be quite the GOP powerhouse. The aforementioned leaders used this event to reaffirm the party's position on key issues and propose solutions to remedy the nation's issues - essentially laying the foundation for 2016 presidential bids.
Whatever agenda these politicians had going into this summit were overshadowed by Palin's speech. While there are allegations that her teleprompter broke, there is no doubt that the speech was bizarre. Instead of focusing on the core principles enumerated on the Iowa Freedom Summit's website, Palin attempted to cover a wide breadth of issues.
Here are a few excerpts from her speech.
- "[Obama] is so over it. America, he's just not that into you."
- "The man can only ride ya' when your back is bent, so strengthen it. Then the man can't ride ya', America won't be taken for a ride because so much is at stake."
- "Or nothing will change. The same policies that got us into this status quo. Another Latin word, status quo. And it stands for, man, the middle class, every day Americans are really gettin' taken for a ride."
- "With all due respect to the office of the presidency, it's like an overgrown little boy who's just acting kinda spoiled."
- "What we do, we strengthen our military, we respect our troops, and we let them, our troops, our gatekeepers, we let them tell jihadists, nuh-uh this is our house, get the hell out!"
- "The press asks, 'Can anyone stop Hillary?' This is to forgo a conclusion, right, is to scare us off and convince us that a pantsuit can crush patriots?"
I would try to contextualize these quotes. But to be perfectly honest, there is not really any context available. Throughout the speech, Palin jumps from topic to topic faster than we can process and understand what she is saying. Though to be perfectly honest, should we be at all surprised?
During the course of the 2008 election, Palin made headlines for her speeches. From coining new words such as "refudiate" to questioning whether Africa was a country or a continent -- Palin is famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for her verbal missteps. In today's era of "Gotcha!" press, you betcha Palin is going to be figuratively nailed for her verbal blunders.
While part of me is happy that Palin provides comedic fuel for Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show, part of me is disappointed by all of the press she has gotten. I feel like there are other women in politics that should be received press for all of the work they have done to help this nation. In an article in the Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe describes the successes of women in Congress. For example, the recent $1.1 trillion Congressional spending plan was engineered by Senator Barbara Mukulski (D-Md), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in conjunction with Representative Harold Rogers (R - Ky). Later in the article, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) describes the power of women in the Senate: "It's not surprising that every time I've passed a piece of legislation, I've had a strong Republican woman helping me across the aisle. Women are often very good at finding common ground and building bipartisan support."
To that end, I believe there are bigger fish to fry than Governor Palin's verbal gaffes. Rather than highlight the blunders of one female politician, why are we not celebrating the triumphs of successful female politicians? To be fair, a story detailed the blunders of a politician are more likely to sell than a story detailing their successes. While Palin says she is "seriously considering" running for office in 2016 - that is another year to either augment or abate her legitimacy. So, sit back, relax, and let's see what Sarah does next.