Sarah Palin failed to tackle an esoteric problem tonight: how does a natural motormouth keep herself in check in front of a friendly audience? It’s an accepted part of a politician’s work to say what she has already said in other venues a million times. About the only way in which tonight’s Calgary speech varied from Palin’s standard post-gubernatorial drama of media persecution and conservative values was that every time she said the equivalent of “We built a pipeline”, it became “We built a pipeline with our super terrific Canadian partner TCPL, which just goes ta show ya.”
The problem was that Palin clued into the audience’s unconditional agreement with her worldview pretty quickly, and grew impatient; as fast as she was speeding through the statistics and the chuck-on-the-shoulder good-for-yous for Canada, many of us probably would have preferred it ten times faster. To me, the audience in the foyer after the speech seemed to be talking themselves into having had a good time.
It occurs to me that the Calgary mayoralty is up for grabs; maybe someone should see if Palin’s interested? In no other Canadian city of equal size would her denunciation of “snake-oil” climate science have been greeted with such unrestrained, joyous roars by a very elite, very wealthy audience. (The Palomino Room was saturated with old Reformers, including Stockwell Day. At the end of the festivities, Ralph Klein, perhaps eager for refreshment, came blasting down the aisle in my direction at the approximate speed of a maglev train.) I’m not sure there is even an American city where Palin’s climate skepticism and drill-or-be-damned pro-fossil stance would have been so well-received. Certainly there can’t be one where an appearance by Palin would be beset by a grand total of one (1) poor sad-sack anarchist protester. I know in Edmonton there’d be 20. (It’s the same 20 every time no matter what’s being protested.)
At the end of the night, as the attendees were filing out, some elderly contessa saw me typing furiously, leaned over, and said “Be kind to her.” It seems Palin, who will doubtless retain a strong streak of the exuberant bubbleheaded teenager to the end of her days, is as good as appealing to motherly and grandmotherly instincts as she is to male ones. I considered for a moment that it might not be for me to say that Palin was not a success, since I didn’t pay $150 for my seat. On the other hand, for those who did shell out, it was a sunk cost; the poor bastards on professional duty, like me, were the ones who weren’t allowed to leave. Sorry, but it’s hard to like someone who makes you suffer like that.