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Sarah Palin's Gradual Descent Into Incoherency [Listicle]

Remember how Sarah Palin graduated from her fiftieth college with a degree in communications? What the hell happened to addle this woman's mind so much that she can no longer form logical sentences? We went to the tapes to investigate.

Here's the classic clip of Sarah Heath delivering the sports report on the local news back in the late '80s. She reads the Teleprompter with admirable competency, stumbling noticeably only once or twice. (Also: LOTS OF DOGS!)

Was it when she decided to enter politics, in the '90s, that Sarah lost her words? Here she is in 2006 running for governor, skillfully dodging a question on abortion. She speaks in brief sentences that quickly get to the point, and then she stops talking. There is one worrying extraneous "also" thrown in there. A sign of dangling connectors yet to come!

Hey, this old guy selected the feisty young lady to be his Vice President. What does she have to say for herself, as she's introduced to the nation? She certainly seems to like the attention. But there she is, just reading a coherent series of statements, from a Teleprompter, without deviating into odd non-sequiturs.

Here, at Palin's first big McCain rally, she trips over some shitty writing. Profiles in courage usually come in books, but we are about to elect one...? But she skillfully segues to the lady-pandering, ignoring the boos Hillary's name elicits.

Oh, Palin's greatest public moment. Her vile, scummy RNC speech. It was not quite as "masterfully delivered" as everyone thought at the time, but she got the sneering contempt down pat, and didn't stumble over any of the prepared slurs. Listen to her feed on the seething hate of the crowd! It only made her stronger!

Here's where the wheels came off the wagon. Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin was so embarrassing that mocking it is impossible. She can't handle simple questions, she speaks in vague generalities, and for some reason Couric keeps asking her mean questions even when Sarah gets all defensively folksy. This is when Palin went from a pro who was remarkably polished for a small state politician to a jumbled ball of nerves. She never recovered, either politically or cognitively.

Expectations were so low for Sarah by the time the VP debate came around that it would've been considered a success if she didn't suddenly erupt in a stream of racial slurs or something. But it was just weird. "Can I call you Joe?" "Doggone it." And the winking! This is when working from prepared material stopped working for Sarah, because she was rebelling against her handlers, or because she forgot how to read, or something.

Oh, her thing on the SNL. They didn't ask much of her, and she didn't deliver, having Amy Poehler do the funny rap thing. And then the election ended, and Palin was free to let her freak flag fly.

When Greta Van Susteren met Sarah Palin it was like a ramble-off. Greta lobbed softballs and Sarah Palin responded with her new brand of dark, vague paranoia about "bloggers" and "the media," spreading "gossip" and unnamed "lies." And: "You know I consider myself sometimes too a feminist, whatever that means."

Then she resigned. For no reason. She sounded terrified, rushed, nervous, and insane. This was the worst prepared statement we've ever heard from a politician, basically ever. Until the next time she appeared on the TV!

After Sarah Palin resigned, she went fishing, and she got all morbid and depressed. She is still lying, as that is second-nature to her, and she is still paranoid about unnamed media enemies, but she cannot answer or dodge a very simple question about her own motivations, except to repeat a buzz phrase she likes, and then to mention her kids.

But Sarah Palin maybe saved the best for last.

What was your favorite line from Sarah Palin's second resignation speech? Was it:

"So, how 'bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quit makin' things up?"

Or maybe this amazing bit:

"Let me tell you, Alaskans really need to stick together on this with new leadership in this area especially, encouraging new leadership... got to stiffen your spine to do what's right for Alaska when the pressure mounts, because you're going to see anti-hunting, anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood and here's how they do it. They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets, they use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-second amendment causes."

Actually, this is our favorite line:

"In the winter time it's the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn't it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs?"

It's like Peggy Noonan, Jack London, and William Faulkner wandered into the woods with three buttons of peyote and one typewriter, and only this speech emerged.

And she wrote this speech! In advance, on paper! What does any of it mean? It is amazing. Twenty years ago she could competently descibe a dog race, three years ago she could articulate a position on the abortion issue, and this weekend she composed a resignation speech by throwing culture war stock phrases into a hat and dumping it upside down on a copy of The Paranoid Style in American Politics.


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