Before we crack ourselves up too much about the notes Sarah Palin wrote to herself on her hand, we should stop and think about the fact that this news is more likely to endear her to most people, and not just to people to whom she is already endeared.
The notes on her hand were not answers to exam questions. They were obviously just reminders of points she wanted to emphasize.
“Energy.” “Tax.” “Lift American Spirits.”
Try to make the case that this is a sign of what a dope she is and most people will look at you like you’re being a jerk. That’s because most people can’t, and know they can’t, speak in public even if they were handed a detailed speech to read from, let alone stood up to speak prepped with a few hastily scrawled notes on their hand, cuff, or index cards.
Palin’s cribnotes are something that makes her “regular folks.” Yes, what the President was able to do in his Q & A with Congressional Republicans, giving detailed and specifically factual answers off the cuff while speaking in complex and parsable sentences, was truly impressive. It’s also one of the things that make him an “other.” Regular folks can’t do that.
Sure, it’s a sign of how smart he is, but we live in a country where that kind of intelligence is suspect.
The ability to out-talk, out-argue, and out-think other people is also the ability to out-smart them.
Nobody likes to be out-smarted. Bad things happen to you when you are out-smarted.
And how do you know when you’re being out-smarted? When you start to feel really dumb.
Doesn’t matter if the person who is out-smarting you isn’t doing it to be mean or to trick you or to make you feel stupid, you can’t help it, you’re going to feel not as smart as they are. There are two ways to react that feeling. With modesty: “Guess I’d better do some more homework if I’m going to keep up.” Or with vanity: “Who does that asshole think he is, talking to me like I’m some kind of idiot?”
Guess which one most people choose instinctively.
Sarah Palin doesn’t make anyone feel dumb.
In fact, she makes a lot of people feel too smart.
It’s useless to try to talk about how smart or dumb Sarah Palin is anyway, because she does not operate that way. She doesn’t “think” in the usual sense of the word. She reacts to her own moods and instincts, most of which are apparently expressions of her vanity and ego. That’s why she is not all that well-liked outside of the base that adores her. Women, especially, don’t like her, not because she’s stupid, but because she holds such a high opinion of herself and such a low opinion of anybody who isn’t enraptured by Sarah Palin.
When people say they don’t think she’s qualified to be President, I don’t think they mean just that she isn’t smart enough or intellectually well-enough prepared or mentally disciplined enough. I think they mean that she is too wrapped up in her own self. It’s obviously all about her.
But it’s not because she has to write notes to herself to get through a major public speaking engagement.
Make fun of that about her and you are making fun of everybody whose knees shake, voice fails, lips go dry, foreheads sweat, and minds go blank when they’re put in front of an audience of any size. Ever been to a wedding where the best man needed note cards to get through the toast and still blew all his punchlines? It’s not easy to speak in public.
That even someone as poised, confident, telegenic, and popular with her audience as Sarah Palin can’t do it without a prompt or two is reassuring.
It’s not a good idea to laugh and sneer at something that has just caused a lot of people to think, “If someone like her needs crib notes, then maybe I’m not so dumb after all, myself.”