Sarah Palin’s farewell address as Alaska governor contained the standard conservative targets of big government, the media and Hollywood, but it’s the latter where Palin forged new ground.
She didn’t just attack the industry elite, but the wafer-thin starlet elite who embrace vegetarianism and have age-defying figures.
Her comments came about halfway through her speech, when she warned the state’s residents of Hollywood’s penchant for targeting Second Amendment gun rights.
“You are going to see anti-hunting, anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood,” she said. “And here’s how they do it. They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets. They use Alaska as a fund-raising tool for their anti-Second Amendment causes.” The crowd clapped.
Then came the line that got one of her biggest cheers. “By the way, Hollywood needs to know. We eat, therefore we hunt.”
Her motivation apparently is Ashley Judd, who in February starred in an ad for the Defenders Action Fund that accused Palin of having an “anti-conservation agenda” for promoting the aerial killing of wolves and bears. (Or it could be the recent doc “Food Inc.,” which seems to render most viewers with lost appetites).
That Palin gave “starlets” such attention, in a speech that could be a jumping off point for higher aspirations, showed that Judd’s comments still irk the now former Alaska governor, still thin skinned over someone very thin. The message: stick-like figures won’t have Sarah Palin to stick around anymore.
Or perhaps Palin’s motives were some kind of ingenious populism: the very same checkout counter magazines that have hounded her family also routinely obsess about celebrity weight loss and gain. In other words, stir up the resentment among anyone who’s ever tried and failed to obtain unobtainable physiques.
She did spend a greater portion of her speech talking about energy, one of her signature issues, as well as criticisms of the federal stimulus package. But like her pre-Independence Day bombshell announcement that she was resigning, there were parts of this speech that were just incoherent, a stream-of-consciousness recitation of her accomplishments and resentments as if she were posting it on Twitter.
Take this part, in which she addresses the state’s tradition of independence and living off the land:
“We would roll up our sleeves and we would diligently sow and reap. And we can still do this, to carve wealth out of the wilderness, and make our living out of the water, with strong hands and innovative minds, now with smarter technology. It is what our first people and our parents did. It worked, because they worked.”
Palin thrives on being unpolished, but even that is of little help it you can’t understand what
you are she is saying. Her persona came through at the Republican National Convention, in what was regarded as her best speech on the national stage, but that was a fully scripted endeavor.
More problematic is the fact that she is leaving office period. Again, she cast her reasons for departing the governorship early as a desire not to play it “politics as usual” and bide her time as a lame duck. It’s an argument that can just as easily be twisted the other way, that your very status as a lame duck makes you more valuable, because you are more likely to make decisions without reelection considerations. In a Republican primary, that will be held against her, from Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota in particular. He’s a likely presidential candidate in 2012 and also a lame duck governor. But he remains in office.
“We eat, therefore we hunt” was an amusing line — something you can envision on a bumper sticker. But if it is a higher office she is seeking, campaigns aren’t won or lost based on the support or opposition to Hollywood, as much attention as the industry gets when it makes a foray into the political arena.
For Palin, next it is on to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where she is to address the Simi Valley Republican Women’s Club on Aug. 8. No media is invited, and, despite the surroundings, I would assume no starlets either.