NOW THAT SARAH PALIN HAS VANISHED FROM FOX NEWS it’s hard to say who’s going to miss that zany lady most. Will it be lusty right-wing males of an advanced age, a critical Fox demographic? They’ve been fantasizing about shapely Caribou Barbie since the moment she made her appearance on the national scene during the 2008 election.
In the long run, however, those likely to suffer most will be sensible Americans, who appreciated the comedy of hearing her babble.
We do know now, thanks to a review by Smart Politics, what the going price of right-wing bullshit in America is today. During her three-year tenure as a foxy Fox News political analyst (an oxymoron if there ever was one) Palin pulled down $3 million, appeared on air roughly once every week, and offered up 189,221 words of her own brand of blather. Or, to put it in terms any “maker” can understand, Palin earned $15.85 for every word uttered, or $3.17 per syllable each time she used a five-syllable word.
That was probably never.
(Before we continue, however, let us quash the rumor that the people at Smart Politics who had to sit down and listen to, and keep count of, all those thousands of nonsensical words blew their brains out shortly thereafter.)
How then do we begin to measure the lasting mark Palin left in the long annals of American political discourse? What profound words of wisdom are we left with today? Some of what follows—like Palin, herself, on Fox News—we swear is not just shit we’re totally making up.
Among all those rambling sentences Palin uttered so prettily, some phrases, but not very many real ideas stand out:
“Barrack Hussein Obama” was mentioned 786 times (that’s true); meaning Fox spent $12,458.10 to help convince ignorant people that America’s 44th president was a Muslim usurper with no birth certificate at all.
“You betcha’s,” (surprisingly, uttered but twice on air, or $31.70); “darns,” 9, ($142.65), “heck’s,” 28, ($443.80).
“Amen’s” on 111 occasions ($1759.35); assorted “God’s,” “Christians’,” three “Moses’” and one “Jesus,” 77 total uses, ($1220.45).
Mentioning “tyranny” 695 times, causing angry old white men to rush out and buy more guns ($11,015.75).
“Unplugging granny’s,” 91 times, causing angry old white ladies to clutch at their hearts and send check to Tea Party candidates, ($1,442.35).
Use of the word “terrorist,” as in: “Obama pals around with terrorists,” 496 occasions, or $7,861.60.
Use of the phrase: “Drill, baby, drill.” 16 times ($760.80).
Mentioning the word “newspaper.” Never. (No cost to Fox News.)
Mentioning actual books she read—not counting books without pictures: Never (0 dollars).
“Socialism,” “communism,” “fascism” and or “liberals,” usually in sequence, separated only by commas (Palin never did figure out that these terms were not interchangeable and apparently no Fox News listener has ever actually opened a dictionary), or in changeable combinations: 1,542 uses ($24,440.70).
Times the word “dictionary” was uttered: 0 (0 dollars).
“Thesaurus,” a single usage: “Up here in Alaska we know global warming is fake, drill me baby, that scientists make stuff up, that evolution is not true, heck, that the tyrannosaurus and thesaurus roamed the earth together, 6,000 years ago, with Adam and Eve. But, you betcha,’ not Adam and Steve.” ($744.95).
“Hunting,” 10 times, “fishing,” 9 times, “Don’t fire at that moose until you see the whites of his eyes.” 1 usage (total: $507.20).
Let’s face it, sensible Americans. We’re all going to miss her chats with Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. These appearances gave us comic gems like this one in regard to U. S. and NATO air strikes in Libya: “I haven’t heard the president state that we’re at war. That’s why I too am not knowing—do we use the term intervention? Do we use war? Do we use squirmish? What is it?” ($538.90).
Or this one, where Governor (Briefly) Palin tried to explain how the government should have responded to the Gulf Oil spill: “What the federal government should have done is accept the assistance of foreign countries, of entrepreneurial Americans who have had solution that they wanted presented...The Dutch and the Norwegians, they are known for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills.” ($697.40).
And you had classics like this, on Hannity, when Palin tried to deny charges leveled by the NAACP that the Tea Party movement was rife with racist language and imagery: “[Barack and Michelle Obama] have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is that this group is saying.” ($317.00).
Truly, listening to Palin these last three years—it’s been more than worth the $15.85 she earned for every “who,” “what, “where” and “when.” You might try to make the case that what Rupert Murdoch actually did was waste three million bucks. But for those of us of a liberal persuasion, hearing Palin coin words like “refudiate” and “squirmish?”