Sarah Palin Plays CPAC for Laughs
by Howard KurtzMar 16, 2013 2:05 PM EDT
The former Republican rockstar—that star now seriously dimmed—cracked jokes about her “rack” and drunk college students at the conservative confab’s third day. Howard Kurtz reports.
Sarah Palin called President Obama a liar and compared him to financial swindler Bernie Madoff as she fired up the CPAC conference and tried to propel herself back into the political conversation.
In a punchy but disjointed speech on Saturday, Palin also took swipes at Karl Rove and the Republican Party while insisting that politicians concentrate on rebuilding the country. But she did not offer a single substantive specific, other than her repeated calls to respect the Second Amendment.
She was, however, pretty funny, more standup comic than political practitioner.
Palin’s exchange of Christmas gifts with husband Todd: “He got the rifle, I got the rack.” What other female politician would go there?
Her advice to college Republicans was to read more Sam Adams and stop drinking Sam Adams.
Palin was, in short, entertaining, even as she stuck to such platitudes as, “We must leave no American behind.”
She kept poking at Obama, saying that calling him a good politician is like describing Madoff as “a good salesman.” The difference is “the president is using our money.”
And Palin did not traffic in subtlety: “Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever. Barack Obama, you lied.”
She did acknowledge that, um, Obama won the election in November, but then pivoted to a lame teleprompter joke.
More interesting, perhaps, was Palin’s assault on the GOP establishment. Using Rove’s nickname, she said of the former George W. Bush lieutenant: “The Architect can head on back to the great Lone Star State.”
Palin arrived at CPAC with her once-blinding luster seriously dimmed. A rock star on the right after her 2008 vice-presidential bid, she rode a cultural wave with bestselling books, a reality show and political stumping that kept alive the tease that she might seek the presidency.
But Palin never became identified with a particular issue or joined the national debate in a serious way, and last year lost her pundit’s perch at Fox News. As the Republican Party looks to a new generation of leaders—Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie—Palin has faded from the usual speculation. She has become more of a pop-culture figure than a political one, a status underscored by her next book, about the alleged war on Christmas.