October 03, 2008

Palinitudes, Palinites, Playing the Palin Card

After the American Century

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden have now debated. Based on the substance of the debate, no one could doubt that Palin lost. She continually retreated into a memorized script or gave short vague answers. She endlessly mouthed platitudes about growing the economy and seemed to have only a vague idea about what the problem is at the moment on Wall Street and in the banking system. Take away the folksy rhetoric and the smiles, and there was almost nothing there.

Joe Biden was a huge contrast. He had command of the facts on any issue that came up, and his vast experience repeatedly showed in his answers. He also has the gravitas that Palin forever will lack. Yet, it is entirely possible that after Sarah Palin fades into the obscurity she so richly deserves, the name Palin may remain behind to enrich our political vocabulary. Here are some of the useful possibilities.

Palinesque, loud, brassy and self-assured but without substance.

Palingo, using a grammar so fractured that all meaning disappears, although appropriate buzz words are prominent. Especially useful in debates.

Palinitude, a statement that appears obviously true to fundamentalist Republicans and obviously false to everyone else.

Palinites, white mothers with little education but passionate self-assurance, who embrace moralistic rhetoric, fundamentalist religion, creationism, and blind patriotism.

Palinicity, a word like ethnicity, to refer to this group. Future commentators might say that a certain candidate's palinicity had yet to be tested in the rural slums of the Bible Belt.

Palinize, 1. verb, to put lipstick on an animal, 2. verb, to attempt to distract attention from a bad idea. You can palinize a pig, but it's still a pig.

Palinoscopy an investigative probe to nowhere.

Playing the Palin Card, nominating such a women for an important position, in hopes that the Palinites will vote for the ticket.

The problem with Playing the Palin Card, however, as John McCain has begun to notice, is that while Palinites cheer wildly whenever they hear a Palinitude the same statements simultaneously alienate the rest of the electorate. Furthermore, McCain has begun to appear palinesque because he chose her in the first place.

I interviewed an Alaskan moose recently who told me that palinites are never environmentalists. They hunt from helicopters, take no prisoners, and eat their enemies. Hence the term palinity, which means "genial ferocity." (Do not confuse palinity with palinicity, defined above.)

The last month of the campaign is likely to be increasingly palinesque as McCain palinizes his proposals and spouts palinitudes. The whole painful process might be called palinization.
Should McCain and Palin lose the election, there may follow that investigation into her possible abuse of power in the Alaska trooper-gate investigation. Call it palingate if you must, but it might prove a palinoscopy.