Va-va-voom hair and Rick Perry's jerk factor

A round table on Palin's first national press conference: "Conflicted about your prize pony much, GOP?"

By Sarah Hepola

Published November 13, 2008 10:00PM (EST)

This afternoon, Sarah Palin held her first national press conference, along with Republican governors across the country. Broadsheet's token straight male, Vincent Rossmeier, wrote in War Room earlier today that the appearance was "a little like opening your gifts on Christmas morning after months of anticipation to find that Santa has only gotten you some reindeer-themed socks." We'll assume young Rossmeier wasn't keeping his fingers crossed for reindeer-themed socks. (He seems to prefer "novels of ideas" and "booze.")

A video of the appearance can be viewed here. (For discussion of the appearance by Broadsheet writers, continue reading below.)

I kicked this out to my Broadsheet broads to see what they made of the somewhat difficult-to-watch appearance. Our e-mail exchange is posted below.

Katharine Mieszkowski: What I heard: "Drill, baby, drill" lives!

Notice how Palin talked about being from an "energy-producing" state. The message: Don't expect a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic Congress to keep Republicans from proclaiming loudly that we can drill our way out of our energy problems. And, unfortunately, I'm not convinced we have the luxury of just ignoring them. After all, it was the Democratic-led Congress that let a 27-year ban on offshore drilling expire this October.

Tracy Clark-Flory: Interesting that Palin has va-va-voom hair now that the campaign is over. Also, am I crazy, or is the accent dialed back a bit?

Sarah Hepola: I'm sad to say the hair is the first thing that caught my eye as well. Palin seems deflated all around -- not just her accent but her pluckiness, her scrappiness, the fire in the belly that made her (for better or worse) such a beloved and reviled figure.

I was also struck by the thinly veiled hostility of Rick Perry (Republican Texas governor for whom I proudly did not vote), who barked at someone in the audience, "Whaddaya want?" before practically elbowing Palin out of the way. Conflicted about your prize pony much, GOP?

Rebecca Traister: Yes, the Republicans need to decide if they're happy about the Palin fame rocket or embarrassed by her, whether they want to exploit her or cover her up. This in-between crap is how they're going to look even worse than they already do.

That press conference was cringey and hard to watch, yes, but that's Sarah Palin. Alaska made her, McCain elevated her, the base celebrated her and now the Republican Governors Association decided to attract a ton of press coverage by putting her on their stage in front of a microphone. So once she's up there, no matter how many creatively constructed sentences she's pushing out, they'd damn well better treat her with something that at least passes for respect, because they could have just as easily stuffed her plenary session at the cabana by the pool and been done with her.

It wasn't simply Perry's abrupt end of the questioning that was, as Rossmeier wrote in War Room, "bizarre [and] paternalistic," it was the way he stepped in front of her to choose the reporters and then grabbed her by the elbow and shoved her back to the microphone. Kind of like she was his very own Sarah Palin action figure!

Actually, I thought this day would never come, but the pissed-off grimace on Palin's face when Perry shoves her forward might have elicited in me the first small twinge of affection I've ever felt for this woman.

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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2008 Elections Broadsheet Sarah Palin