Failed reality television star and mistress of liberal America Sarah Palin is strutting out onstage at CPAC, clad in a white blazer and black skirt. She places her water bottle on the floor next to the podium and opens a binder.
A typical Palin speech is usually an incoherent string of Palinisms haphazardly strung together in her folksy twang. This year, she is subdued and barely has any accent at all.
What the hell is going on? Have the last six years of Palin’s public life just been performance art? Has she purposefully been lowering the bar for her public appearances so that she could come out and impress just ahead of Republican primary season?
Palin opens with a story about George Washington being “overcome with emotion” over America’s first veterans. She asks if America has lived up to Washington’s hope that veterans be treated well and notes the obvious: It hasn’t.
She speaks of her own experience as the mother of a soldier: “Moms can’t be there when they hurt. I could pray and I did and I do, but few things are more difficult than to kiss a child goodbye, off into harm’s way, knowing that you’re not going to be there to protect…Those first deployments, that’s when a mother goes from calling him son to calling him sir.”
The war on terror, Palin notes, is the longest in America’s history and has cost thousands of lives, and damaged many thousands more with PTSD and insufficient health care—or a complete lack of treatment: “They wait for months, they wait for years to get treatment at the VA…We demand that the vets are first in line!”
Palin pivots to foreign policy: “Did we actually win in Iraq and Afghanistan before we waved the white flag? The jury is still out.”
The rise of ISIS, Palin says, “It doesn’t look like victory…the Middle East is a tinderbox, and it is coming apart at the seams.”
Palin claims the rise of ISIS “was predictable. Military brass warned the left: Do not pull out without residual force…The rise of ISIS is the direct result of this administration’s refusal to heed that warning.”
The speech isn’t completely devoid of Palinisms, however—though compared to speeches past, they kind of make sense: “While Christians pray for you, radical Islamists want to cut off your head.”
And it isn’t lacking in falsehoods, either. Palin needles State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf for saying that “we cannot kill our way out of this war.”
“Oh, really?” Palin asks. “Tell that to the Nazis! Oh wait, you can’t—they’re dead!”
Some Nazis are very much alive and were, in fact, receiving Social Security payments from the United States government until late 2014, when President Obama signed into law a bill that banned them from continuing to collect.
But never mind that. Palin 2016!