Yesterday, I took my lunchbreak early to go hear our next president, Sarah Palin, give a speech for the “tea party express tour” in the Boston Common. It was pretty decent political theatre, for a Wednesday morning.
I wish I had some awesome story of a fat toothless man with a misspelled sign. Sadly, nothing quite so fun turned out; all the signs appeared to be spelled correctly. But I did notice the following:
1) There were three groups of people drawn to Palin. I spent most of the rally in the bemused office worker ring of the crowd, which was closer than the counter-protesters, but farther away from the true believers. Our group moved up closer for the Sarah speech itself.
2) You can buy a “don’t tread on me” hat, button, iron-on, flag, small flag, T-shirt, car magnet, and baby onesie. Truly, it seems, you have no excuse not to stand up to tyranny.
3) The tea partiers consist entirely of old white dudes. I have a hard time believing any of these people were independent voters. If anyone there didn’t vote for Gerald Ford, I’d eat my hat.
4) Sarah Palin was, well, dull. I wasn’t riled up, I wasn’t engaged. I met my partner for lunch afterwards, and had a hard time remembering much to retell. That said, when Palin launches into an attack, her voice gets squeaky and her pacing is weird.
5.) She is good at being angry at elites for thinking she’s dumb. She delivers this outrage flawlessly. This was the most engaging part of her speech.
6) Back in the crowd, the perfectly-spelled signs were still odd. There were lots of anti-tax/anti-socialism signs in one form or another, but the most popular sign was some form of “I’m not racist for not liking Obama” or “criticising Obama doesn’t make me racist.” My general feeling is, if you’re carrying around a big sign saying “I’m not racist,” you probably are—at least a little bit. What remained unclear was how this could be the basis for a political movement. Why being anti-PC is such a motivating factor is a mystery.
7) It still felt really great to cheer “run Sarah run!”