09 February 2010

Sarah Palin's hand-writing

The best comment I've seen comes from Jay McDonough's post at Swimming Freestyle:
The issue isn't really that she wanted or needed notes.  The real issue was what Palin felt she needed to jot down on her palm; her core principles.  As John Cole noted: "Put it this way, since this is Black History Month, this is akin to seeing “civil rights” written on MLK’s hand."
Via The Frustrated Teacher.

Addendum:  Some pundits are dubbing this a "Hillbilly Palm Pilot."


  1. I'm guessing it was more of a reminder to make sure she covered everything she wanted to and didn't miss something in the passion of speaking.

    My wife is a public speaker, and when she gets going on a topic, she can sometimes veer off and miss a point she wanted to make. A little reminder makes sure she covers it. (in her case though, she makes a mental reminder using an acronym or word picture with all the points attached)

    As amusing as Sarah Palin writing on her hand is, I think its been made much larger in the media than it is in reality.

  2. Thanks for the link.

    If you watch her Q&A after the speech you can watch her look at her hand when trying to come up with answers to the softball questions.

    I think it is a bigger deal than is being made of it.

  3. Mike, I think I and others would have given her a pass on this if she had not taken time in her speech to ridicule Obama for using a Teleprompter.

  4. I think Sarah surely knows her main talking points, and she & her handlers surely know that her critics won't be swayed by anything. I see this as a ploy to make her seem homespun, an average jane like you and me, not ashamed to need a few reminder notes.

  5. Did y'all see what she did for an encore? At her next appearance, she had written on her hand, "Hi Mom!"

    I'm no fan of Palin as a political figure (UNDERSTATEMENT), but a lot of the personal flak she gets annoys the daylights out of me.

    Writing on her hand a convenient reminder of the main points (three) she wanted to cover in an interview is trivial compared to a president having to use a teleprompter for all his speeches. To make such a huge deal of Palin's little quirk and justify it by equating it to her comments about Obama's teleprompter use smacks of desperation, IMHO.

    More importantly, it also distracts from what we should be objecting to, which is her truly appalling politics.

  6. Just out of curiosity: can anyone name a recent president who didn't use either a teleprompter or podium notes for his major speeches?

    I did notice that Obama didn't seem to have any problem shooting down all comers during the Republican Q&A session -- in detail, with perfect grasp of facts, and without a teleprompter in sight.

  7. What's weird is that Gibbs thought it appropriate to mock her at a press conference today.

    Think what you will of her but she is still a private citizen. And Gibbs is in the White House and supposed to be representing the President. We have rampant unemployment, deteriorating international affairs, and Gibbs saw fit to use his public podium to mock a private U.S. citizen.

    That's just awesome.

  8. Minnesotasten -

    You are forgetting: we were assured over and over again that Obama was the SMARTEST president EVER and one of the best orators the U.S. had ever had.

    We were and continue to be assured that Palin is the dumbest person ever.

    So, if you are smartest person ever who speaks better than almost anyone who has ever lived in this great country of ours, why the ever present need for a teleprompter?

    And if you are indeed the dumbest person ever, why does anyone care if you jot down some notes on your hand?

    And, really, if Palin is the dumbest person ever, then why does the White House seem so focused on her? Surely they aren't scared of her. She's so dumb, doncha know?

  9. Deana, I'm not even going to take the time to try to argue your points. From my considered viewpoint, Sarah Palin is beneath contempt, and this blog will occasionally reflect that opinion.

    There are MANY policies and opinions of Obama that I disagree with, but that in no way equates with support for someone who opposes him.

    I am not a Democrat; I'm an independent, and half my family is Republican. I truly hope, for the sake of our country, that the Republican party can come up with a sensible, viable candidate for the 2012 election - not this woman whose whole being is a parody of a political leader.

  10. I have no Contempt for Palin, but I think we can do better.

    She is a Pro Life, woman in both her words and her actions.
    I think that many on the left despise her because of this, and I find that sad.

  11. Let me take this one.

    Deanna, Ms Palin is anything but a "private citizen." She has held public office (albeit not for the full term). She has run for higher office based almost solely upon a need to ridicule others and hold them up to an unflattering light. To suggest that she is somehow too fragile for the fight, suggests that she should get out of the light.

    Your comments about teleprompters simply shows a total lack of understanding regarding the delivery of most presidential and congressional speeches. Speeches made for the record are almost always written, corrected, rewritten and polished before they are delivered. Yes, even Republicans write it down ahead of time. Reagon did. Kennedy did. Even Junior Bush did, although he had a tough time reading it. The method of reading a speech, whether it be from 3 x 5 cards (never done by Presidents), sheets of paper or a screen is really immaterial. Even Lincoln wrote down the Gettysburg Address before he gave it. Is it the written word you disdain so much or is it modern technology?

  12. I wish people would stop making fun of and sneering at Sarah Palin and start being afraid of her.

    People will be making fun of her and sneering at her all the way up until she suspends the constitution. Then it will be too late.

  13. Stan- I personally have no problem with a speaker using either a teleprompter or a index card (or hand?) or talking points. I've been to many speeches which were all the better for the use of reminders. In fact, one of the great preachers of the last century would read his sermons from the pulpit, and no-one thought he was any less intelligent for that.

    Having said that, since you make a connection between a teleprompter and 3 lines of speaking notes, I would point out there is a big difference. I think you realize that, if you really think about it.

    Mrs. Palin picks on Obama's use of a teleprompter because it reinforces her image of him as a polished, controlled speaker (which for some reason is a 'bad' thing. It's like saying he's one of those 'intellectuals' who can't be trusted). The liberal world picks on Palin's use of her hand for the opposite reason- it shows her as an "ignorant buffoon" to them. Funny how neither side can get past the method, and instead focus on the content of the positions taken.

    I truly hope for the sake of the country, we as citizens decide we are willing to suck it up, and deal with the short-term pain of balancing the budget to avoid the long-term pain of national mega-inflation or bankruptcy. If only we could elect some men & women from either party willing to make that sacrifice.

  14. Good Lord.

    OK. I will say this yet again.

    No where did I say the use of a teleprompter is bad. It isn't. And seriously, Dodger, do you honestly think there are people out there who aren't aware that teleprompters are used quite frequently?

    Do you really think that people sit there and watch people do speeches and never wonder, gee, I wonder how they remember to say all that stuff?

    Or, what are those little boxes I see on the side??

    I think you think too much of your own intelligence.

    The issue is and never has been whether or not Obama uses teleprompters. No one ever expected otherwise. THE ISSUE (and I feel I need to make this loud and clear for those who insist on not understanding what the problem is) IS THAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF THE BEST ORATORS OUR NATION EVER HAD. EVER.

    And yet, when the teleprompter isn't there, things don't go so well for him. He has to use a teleprompter when he talks to sixth-graders, for God's sake.

    This from someone who is supposed to be a master of language what with his books and comparisons to Lincoln, etc.

    Minnes. -

    You don't have to take time to argue any points. It is your blog and you invite the rest of us to comment.

    I did.

    I don't particularly think Palin should run for president. I hope she doesn't. But it is just plain weird the reaction this woman seems to cause in otherwise normal people.

    People become apoplectic over her, all while assuring anyone who will listen that she is the dumbest woman ever.

    If she really is as stupid as you are sure she is, why not shut up, sit back, and let her fall on her own sword?

    Why the need to tell everyone on a daily basis that she is stupid?

  15. A couple more things, Dodger.

    Reagan (and his name is spelled with an "A," not an "O") is actually quite famous for using 3x5 cards for his speeches. Go on - look it up. It's a good habit to get into before you claim to know things you clearly do not know.

    You also remind us how President Bush had a "tough time" reading. Funny. Just the other day, I watched our current President give a speech using a teleprompter during which he massacred the word "corpsman" twice in the space of a minute!!! He pronounced like "corpse" - a dead man.

    It's so weird. I mean, there's the "press corps" and the "Peace Corps" - how could this happen? And he's the commander in chief, soooooo hasn't he heard that term at least once or twice in the past year?

    Oh, but wait. I forgot. Obama's the GENIUS!!!! He's a HARVARD GRAD!!! It's ok. I mean, when he mispronounces a word, it doesn't mean he's stupid like when Bush did, which of course PROVED he was stupid.

  16. Deana,

    Wow. First, as Artful Dodger said, Palin is most definitely not a private citizen; she was once a publicly elected official and is now a celebrity and television commentator. Now, was Gibbs wrong to mock her? Absolutely. It was beneath him and his position. He's the White House Press Secretary, not a late night comedian and he should have had the class and wherewithal to know better.

    Having said that, who ever claimed that Obama was "the SMARTEST president EVER"? Yes, he's an intelligent man and he delivers a good speech but no one of any consequence has ever claimed that he's our best orator. And exactly where did you read that great speakers don't need teleprompters? Or note cards or hands, for that matter? Obama was never "SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF THE BEST ORATORS OUR NATION EVER HAD. EVER." and has never claimed to be such. Sure, you can point to some minor individuals who might have said this about him but I can just as easily point to some people who thought that W was the second coming of Christ, I just don't do so to make a point about how ungodlike Bush is because no one serious is arguing that point about him.

    I noticed that you completely ignore Fletcher's point about Obama's performance during his recent Q&A with the Republicans. Most pundits and talking heads (and even many Republican aides as well) agree that he wiped up the floor with them and that it was probably a mistake for them to have insisted that it be televised. See how eager they are to participate the next time an opportunity like that comes up again.

    As to the sixth graders speech, are you somehow under the illusion that the kids were the only ones who were meant to hear it? Yes, I'm sure that if you or I gave a speech to some sixth graders we wouldn't need to use a teleprompter system because nobody would be paying much attention if we misspoke outside of the dozen or so people present but he's the president of the United States! Everything he says is recorded and written down, why would he not use a teleprompter to give yet one more public speech?

    But that's the point, isn't it? Using weak talking points like always needing a teleprompter (even talking to kids!) or comparing a couple of instances of his mispronouncing the word "corpsman" to Bush's epic legacy of verbal gaffes (I can point you towards some hilarious compilations) is all part and parcel of the constant stream of vitriol aimed at Obama since the first day he took office.

    Everything he says or does is completely outrageous and unprecedented, is obviously intended to weaken and destroy the country and he's a Harvard elitist who thinks he's smarter and better than you to boot (although how one could think that this also makes him an inarticulate dullard without his trusty teleprompter is beyond me). Oh, and he's a weak and ineffectual milquetoast who will readily capitulate to our enemies on any and all fronts while at the same time he's also an iron-fisted dictator who's shredding the Constitution and making a power grab intended to control every aspect of the American economy whilst taking away your guns and having your grandma executed for being too old. Geez...

    You're right to not want Palin to be president and I agree that she's not stupid; she's merely intellectually lazy and incurious (much like W). She doesn't deserve all of the attention, positive and negative, being heaped upon her right now but as long as enough people like yourself take her seriously it's imperative that we keep an eye on her just in case. She came dangerously close to being a heartbeat away from the presidency and unlike Obama, she's neither ready nor qualified for such. Again, he's not stupid but I do think she has the potential to be quite dangerous if she's somehow given any real power.

    But that's probably just my PDS talking, right?

  17. JBW -

    For two years, the nation was inundated with claims on every single mainstream media outlet on how fabulous Obama was and what a great speaker he was. Honestly I thought he was great speaker too until I listened to his speech on race after the problem with his pastor became too great for him to continue to ignore. I distinctly recall hearing MAJOR pundits and newscasters make favorable comparisons between Obama and Lincoln. Being from Illinois and being moderately familiar with Lincoln's speeches, I was dumbfounded. Anyone even remotely familiar with Lincoln and Obama would never confuse the two . . .

    Then there were the endless photographs that "just happened" to always portray Obama with a halo of light around his head, the paintings and images that made him seem otherworldly, god-like, the claims by average Obama supporters that once he got elected, strange and wonderful things would happen.

    I remember watching his DNC speech and a woman in the crowd, who was beside herself with excitement, told a reporter that if Obama were elected, she would no longer have to worry about her mortgage or car payments.

    Then (and I must admit that this is my favorite) there is the exchange between Newsweek's Evan Thomas and Chris Matthews following Obama's Cairo speech in which Thomas says, "I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above -- above the world, he's sort of God."

    Wow. Just wow. And, JBW, those are NOT MINOR PEOPLE! They are VERY influential national-level reporters and broadcasters.

    I think JBW that perhaps this just goes to show that you more or less agreed with a lot of what everyone was saying about Obama up to and following the election so you didn't notice some of the bizarre ideas that were being promoted.

    Do you honestly think that ANYONE in this country thinks that the President can speak to anyone and it not be recorded? Of course I know that his speech to 6th graders was recorded and would be played for us on nightly news.

    For the last time: the point is NOT that he uses a teleprompter. The point is, again, that we were assured by "those who know" that he had these EXTRAORDINARY oratory skills.

    Here: do me (and yourself) a favor. Google the following: Obama oratory skills. JBW, LOOK AT WHAT SHOWS UP!!!! Everything from the CS Monitor, BBC, the Guardian, USA Today, US News, and on and on go about "deconstructing" Obama's oratory skills and discussing how you, too, can develop his mad skills in oration.

    Sooooooo, if you are TRULY that amazing, TRULY that awe-inspiring, shouldn't you be able to shoot from the hip every once in a while without committing major boo-boos?

    But he doesn't. It's weird.


  18. (cont.)

    And don't bother pointing me toward Bush's speaking inadequacies. Everyone knows about them - it isn't news and no one cares anymore. The difference is that no one ever said Bush was a terrific speaker. He was never sold as having any superlatives associated with speaking. Hell, he was usually the first to poke fun at himself - a trait that is essential in leadership, I think.

    Look, I had a lot of disagreements with Bush but you are wrong to claim that he was intellectually lazy.

    I bet you didn't know this:

    According to John Lewis Gaddis, Yale history professor, GWB " . . . reads more history and talks with more historians than any of his predecessors since at least John F. Kennedy. The President has surprised me more than once with comments on my own books soon after they’ve appeared, and I’m hardly the only historian who has had this experience. I’ve found myself improvising excuses to him, in Oval Office seminars, as to why I hadn’t read the latest book on Lincoln, or on—as Bush refers to him—the “first George W.” I’ve even assigned books to Yale students on his recommendation, with excellent results."

    Here's the cite: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=459

    Go on. Check it out.

    You can disagree with Bush's policies morning, noon, and night but you are not able to say that he is intellectually lazy. He was never a great speaker but I guess I put a lot more weight on actions than words. It was more important what he did that how he said something but I guess that comes from me living in D.C. for 7 years and having my fill of smooth talkers who really don't accomplish a whole lot.

    Finally, as for taking Palin seriously, I do. Not because I think she should be president - I really don't want her to run. But I do take her seriously because unlike most other women in political power (like Hillary Clinton, Pelosi), Palin got to where she was based on her own hard work. She wasn't the daughter of someone connected, she didn't marry someone who got her where she was, and she sure as hell didn't use money she inherited or married to get her where she is. It is clear to me that she is a woman who sets her goals high and goes after them. Based on her past record, why wouldn't someone take her seriously?


    Oh, and PS: I love the whole "Palin wasn't qualified to be VP but Obama was more than qualified to be President" argument. If I have heard it once, I've heard it 15 times: " . . . but, but, but . . . she was only a MAYOR!!!" Uh, no, she was governor of a state and I don't recall anyone saying that Dr. Howard Dean wasn't qualified to run for president when he did just because he came from a low-population state. She was governor of the state longer than Obama was a senator before he started running for president.

    I pray every day for President Obama's safety. Nothing scares me more than the words, "President Joe Biden." The guy is a walking gaff and everyone who voted for Obama knows it. Including Obama.

  19. How did a post about the obvious moron Palin become an argument about whether or not Obama is a good speaker? He is. He's also great in interviews when he doesn't have prepared remarks. Seriously, if you want to judge his intelligence, watch an interview. he gives thoughtful, well-crafted answers. Anyone who would even compare their minds is a partisan hack.

  20. "The real issue was what Palin felt she needed to jot down on her palm; her core principles."

    Deana- You breathe invigorating new life into the "not being able to see the forest for the trees" axiom!

    It's truly amazing to see how you can knitpick away from the major premise of this post- and you do it so much better than Sarah would ever be able to (on her own). Just as I'm sure you'll have yet another plethora of rationalizations to refute this comment.

    I may/may not be older than you, but back in the day, people who voluntarily quit positions of leadership, to seek out fame, fortune and yet a higher position of leadership would have not been looked upon so fondly. And those who consider it OK for one person to use a derogatory word, and then jump through hoops to justify another person's use of it- well, there's a word for that too...


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