You Can See Russia From 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue: My Disorienting Day With Sarah Palin
Had John McCain been elected president in 2008, Sarah Palin still may not have ever set foot in the White House…because she wouldn’t have been able to find it.
On Friday afternoon, the failed reality-television star and one-time VP nominee materialized in Washington, clad in a leather blazer, to deliver a speech to the crowd at the Values Voter Summit—an annual social-conservative confab held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, a sprawling, gilded maze of a place that is rumored to be haunted by a dead maid.
Maybe she was the one screwing with Palin’s notes, because about halfway through her remarks, Palin said this: “Don’t retreat: You reload with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. Anyway, truth.”
1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
One assumes Palin was attempting to say truth is an endangered species at the White House, which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue is roughly a plaza in front of the Willard Hotel.
Palin is not the first politician to make this mistake. On Aug. 1, 2008, Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Republican from Texas, wrote a letter to then-President George W. Bush, which he addressed to:
The White House
1400 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500”
I would like to imagine Conaway has spent the last six years wondering why he never received a response.
Out in the hallway of the Omni Shoreham, I talked to conservative women who felt that Palin’s mistake was not a big deal: “She speaks from the heart,” Marlea Knighton of Arizona, said. “The news never misprints?” Linda, an older lady from Virginia, said that anyone criticizing Palin for not knowing where the White House is located is just doing it “because they’re scared of what she says,” because women “who love the Lord” are intimidating to non-believers, like those populating the mainstream media.
Mark Roeske, who operates campaign buses, offered a different take: Conservative women like Palin intimidate feminist women because “they’re women who are not just a vagina,” and so they feel compelled to attack her whenever possible and make her seem stupid.
Gaffe aside, the rest of Palin’s speech was an unremarkable, nonsensical collection of Palinisms haphazardly strung together and delivered in her signature bright-yet-bitter-sounding sing-song style—like a homicidal kindergarten teacher.
“You’re the Americans that the media loves to hate,” she crooned, menacingly. And then, “All you mama grizzlies out there, rear up and charge against the lawless, imperial president and his failed liberal agenda and the lapdogs in the media.” And then, “So, I’m out in the shop with Todd, and he’s winterizing his snow plane.”
Let’s hope Todd has a better sense of direction.