The XX Factor

Sarah Palin Said What About Christians?

To continue the mother-politician trope of this week, we turn to the latest from Sarah Palin, whose speech this week at the “Women of Joy ” conference is getting a lot of attention. Palin seems to be complaining about a ruling by a federal judge in Wisconsin that the ” National Day of Prayer” is unconstitutional . I say “seems to be” because throughout the speech she is pretty much impossible to follow. After that complaint, she says, “And then, hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions recently, but politics truly is a topic for another day.”

Huh? Ronald Reagan had a kind of polished incoherence that in the end could pass as profound. Sarah Palin jerks between different idioms in a way that makes her seem totally confused. Her speeches always hit certain notes, but it’s impossible to connect them: She makes a joke, of course insulting to politicians. She aw-shuckses about baby spit-up on her suit. She quotes Todd … and General MacArthur. She speaks impeccable evangel-ese about prayer and her “sisters in Christ.” Then, every once in a while, she says something truly alarming about, say, suing our way back to being a Christian nation. Only it’s hard to tell if she even truly understands what she is implying or saying, so it’s hard to know how to react. If she’s a mother type, she’s one of those narcissistic overbearing mothers I know (not my own) who are rock stars in their own world, have frightening dominion over their subjects, and rule in a way that feels totally arbitrary.