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Softball with Oprah and Palin


COMMENTARY: Everybody's being so mean to Sarah Palin lately. I'm not talking about the media. I'm talking about her former support staff from the McCain campaign. Seems like some of them dislike her quite a bit and aren't afraid to call her out. Of course, none of them are getting a hug from Oprah right now or a big "Woooooo!" from her audience, so their opinions, sadly, will probably wither in the cold Alaskan shadow of Palin's political celebrity. This is a woman who's used to months of darkness at a time. That shit makes you tough. And weird.

So yeah, Oprah's audience goes "Woooooo!" for anyone. It's the excitement of seeing a famous person for the first time. Meaning Oprah. I feel like all their residual "Woooooos" are actually just the shock of being in the same room with her. I've never visited that studio but I'm going to guess that there's a "No Applause, No Free KitchenAid Mixer Today" sign for when they want everyone to sit down and shut up.

After the warm hug, Oprah wants to get Oprah business out of the way. Because the issue of Oprah snubbing Palin during the campaign is something we all remember so well. The sting of it all is a phantom haunting our nights. Oprah wants to clear the objective journalist rep of Oprah and remind everyone that no such snubbing ever took place. For her part, Palin basically says, "I have no idea what you're talking about." Take that, fancy media lady. I'm too busy skinning bears to make a rug for my combination foosball-taxidermy room to pay attention to what you're doing down here in Indiana."

Over the next hour they talk about really important stuff that Palin has the political vision to help correct, issues that affect every American like, "Will I die of something soon because my health insurance won't cover checkups?" and "Will the economy crumble out from under us and leave us all living in refrigerator boxes under a bridge?" and "Why are we still fighting two wars and sending our soldiers to die for no good reason instead of being smarter about preventing the terrorism we all pretend these wars are about?"

Oh, wait. No. That's the imaginary Rachel Maddow interview with Sarah Palin that plays out in my head. The one that will happen when Levi Johnston starts going to titty bars with Stephen Hawking.

Instead they talk about ...

Her pregnant daughter:
Everyone's fine. The grandbaby is fine. Bristol is a working mom. Bristol is sending the message to teens about "unprotected sex." Not premarital sex, which would have been the message before that horse left the barn. Now it's shifted. This, by extension, must mean that Sarah Palin is now pro-birth control and family planning. Except later in the show they talk about abortion and how can-do, pro-life Sarah wants to empower women to give up control of their bodies.

Katie Couric:
Well, first of all, she was ruined in the edited "package." So many cogent political truths were scuttled in favor of a tabloidy attack on her smartitude. Apparently Palin believed that her interview with Couric was going to be just "two working moms" sittin' around gabbin' about why the menfolk won't take out the trash the first time you ask them. Then, if all went well and they clicked, there would be more interviews. Basically, she thought this was a coffee date. But then Couric had to go ask all those hard questions about court decisions and newspapers. Believing she was being condescended to (she was, hilariously so) she got "annoyed" by Couric's "badgering questions" and decided to get stubborn about it. With Oprah, she gets in a shot by calling Couric "the perky one." Oprah responds with, "Well you're perky too." Nice one, O.

Team McCain:

They kept trying to control her and make her give "nonanswers" to questions. Oprah asks about whether or not she resented being kept to a script. "We never did really find that script, so we couldn't stay on the script," says Palin. And you hope she's speaking metaphorically there, but I imagine people checking under hotel room beds for scripts now. I like imagining that. Because it probably happened.

Why McCain-Palin lost the election:
"People wanted actual change," says Palin. "Our ticket represented what was perceived as status quo." And for this loss, she says, she can neither be blamed nor credited. Because she wasn't allowed to "go rogue," she was hogtied from speaking about what real Americans wanted discussed, and therefore she had no impact at all. She could have been anyone. Except Tina Fey. Because people would have voted for her.

Hair and makeup:
Crucial interview time is maximized as lady-bonding ensues in a discussion about men not needing to be fixed up for television, getting to wear the same suit day in and day out, but women having to be concerned about hair and makeup and not appearing in public in the same thing twice and blah-blah-they-bought-me-all-these-expensive-clothes-blah. It was a vital national dialogue before the election (liberal media, you really were on the ball with that one) and it's equally pressing now, in these times of everyone having to be concerned about being seen spending too much money on good shoes and haircuts. Just yesterday I steadfastly refused to purchase a $1,300 Goyard travel bag as a Christmas gift for my husband. It just felt unseemly. We all know how it is, right? Palin sidesteps other nonissues like John Edwards's pricey haircuts, McCain's even pricier Ferragamo shoes, and every single thing Hilary Clinton has ever worn. Her own nonissue is significant; theirs is their own nonproblem.

Step class:
It sure is fun to work out!

Caramel apples:
It sure is fun to make caramel apples!

Why she resigned as governor of Alaska:
To be better at ... something. It's still unclear. Something about not needing to be all fancy to get the job done. Which job that will be is also unclear. She does, however, quote her father as having said, "She's not retreating, she's reloading."
Translation: "Being a politicalish celebrity will make me more money, help me avoid ethics violation charges, become a bigger media presence, and allow me to run for president again in 2012 unless the Mayan calendar turns us all into human sacrifices in the megavolcano that will be Earth. Then Jesus will come back and I'll be whisked up into heaven. I promise to wave at you poignantly when I'm flying up there, Oprah, because you and your New Age philosophies are going to be a lot of s'mores at that moment."

Levi's Thanksgiving dinner invite:
"You know, that's a great question," says Palin, after saying she shouldn't comment on any of it. "And it would be lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing, because of course he's part of the family. He is loved."

This quote comes after she calls him "Ricky Hollywood" and says that his "media tours" mean he hardly sees the baby. She does her darndest to slap back at all the possibly true/possibly eff-you-I'm-makin'-all-this-shit-up-for-fame's-sake stuff that Mr. Hockey-Wang is saying about her in between posing nude for Playgirl, making pistachio commercials, and accompanying Kathy Griffin to red carpet photo ops. With this cyclonic vortex of double-talk, Palin proves that she's very effective at taking down people who are as powerful as Jon Gosselin.

Next stop is her own talk show. Oprah laughs about this. Sarah laughs too. Oh, ha ha, we're friends now, sort of, in that way that all celebrities pretend to like each other. But wait for it, because that talk show is totally coming soon. I'll probably watch it even though it won't be as fun as Glenn Beck's. And as long as it's not on at the same time as Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew.

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Dave White