In her appearance at the Tea Party Convention, Sarah Palin mocked President Obama for his reliance on a teleprompter — while relying herself on a more rudimentary memory aid: notes scribbled on her hand. Eagle-eyed viewers of Palin's speech spotted the words "energy," "cuts," "tax" and "lift American spirits" written in pen on her left palm. What does Palin's apparent use of such a basic "cheat sheet" during a Q&A session say about her command of the issues? (Watch Palin glance at her hand during the interview)
What an embarrassment: "Good grief," says Stefan Sirucek at The Huffington Post. Her notes weren't even specific enough to be helpful. Here we have a presidential contender who "apparently can't remember her supposed core principles and needs a cheat-sheet when simply asked about her beliefs."
"Palin's Tea Party Crib notes"
Her notes were endearing and strategic: Given that most people can't speak in public at all, says Lance Mannion in his blog, Sarah's hand notes helped her come across as trustworthy "regular folks." By contrast, the President's impressive ability to give "specifically factual answers off the cuff while speaking in complex and parsable sentences" makes him an "other." Many Americans see Obama's ability "to out-talk, out-argue, and out-think other people" as the ability to "out-smart them." Sarah knows better.
"Defending Sarah Palin's hand"
Who uses crib notes to answer softball questions? The most obvious question, says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, is why anyone who's gotten past seventh grade would "need to write this stuff down" for a soft-ball Q&A session. "It's not like she's trying to remember the quadratic equation or anything. For someone who swims in the seas that Palin swims in, this is about the equivalent of writing down a note to remember your birthday."
"Photo of the day: Cheat sheet edition"
It doesn't matter — Palin is still powerful: No matter what you may think of someone who has to "write on her hand her priorities as president," says Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish, it won't matter to "the people who support her." They still love her — which means she remains a "potent, content-free, and destructive force in American politics."
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S COVERAGE OF SARAH PALIN:
• 2012: President Sarah Palin?
• Sarah Palin's book-buying scandal
• 'God's plan' for Sarah Palin
• Sarah Palin: leaving the GOP?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- This is how the U.S. thinks China could invade Taiwan
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Obama knows he can't really 'defeat' ISIS. Americans need to wake up to that reality, too.
- Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?
- Surviving a plane crash
- Confessions of a hotel insider
Subscribe to the Week