Former Republican vice presidential candidate and all-around political sideshow Sarah Palin declared on Friday that she's "seriously interested" in running for president in 2016. The very next day, however, she snuffed out any allure of a presidential run — by opening her mouth.
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, an early staging ground for potential Republican presidential candidates, Palin delivered what can only be described as a piece of performance art. Her address was so bizarre that one would be forgiven for thinking it was a joke.
Here's a sample:
"When will they let us control our own care? When will they do to stop causing our pain and start feeling it again? Well, in other words ... is Hillary a new Democrat or an old one? Now, the press asks, the press asks 'Can anyone stop Hillary?' Again, this is to forego a conclusion, right, it's to scare us off, to convince that a pantsuit can crush patriots?"
The 35-minute whirlwind of conservative soundbites included references to gun shows in Las Vegas, American Sniper's Chris Kyle, the Gipper, the evil of the media, big government, freedom, Hillary Clinton, Islam, immigrants and Latin words.
"Things must change for our government. Look at it. It isn't too big to fail. It's too big to succeed! It's too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo. Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, 'Man, the middle-class everyday Americans are really gettin' taken for a ride."
Unsurprisingly, it was widely panned. The speech was described by the press as "meandering," "confusing," "gibberish" and "rambling." Even conservatives dissed it: John Fund at the National Review described it as "bizarre" and placed Palin firmly in the event's "loser" camp.
The best response, however, may have come from Democratic National Committee Communications Director Mo Elleithee, who issued a statement containing just two words: "Thank you!"
It was a particularly unusual showing from the self-proclaimed presidential hopeful given that the event was widely regarded as a showcase for potential Republican candidates — not exactly a space in which one wants to make a fool of oneself. Palin was featured alongside major players like Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, which made her speech seem that much worse; Walker's speech was described as "dynamic," while Christie won over at least a few audience members with his blunt approach.
All of this makes one thing very clear. Palin claims to be interested in running for president in 2016, but that doesn't mean she's serious about it. At the end of the day, she's a caricature, not a significant contender, and her Iowa speech put that into blinding focus.
Given that we're still almost two years away from the election, pundits and politicians alike are looking to drum up headlines for an otherwise boring pre-2016 campaign (see also: Warren, Elizabeth). At this point, Palin's primary purpose is to induce mouth froth from her conservative base — not to launch a successful presidential bid.
While the thought of a Palin 2016 campaign may make some Democrats salivate, the fact remains that Palin isn't a politician. She's an entertainer.