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Slack tide: Alaskaepoedia: Sarah Palin

Posted: April 28, 2012 - 11:00pm

Sarah Louise Heath Palin (born Feb. 11, 1964) is a politician and political commentator — also known as a “pundititian” — a tabloid mainstay, a television personality and what some people might call an “author.”

Palin is currently Alaska’s second-largest export and, unlike its first, just when you think she’s past peak production, she drills down and hosts the “Today” show or something.

Sarah Palin also enjoys naming her children after inanimate objects.

As Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election, Palin was the first and probably last Alaskan to appear on a major party’s national ticket. She was also the first Republican woman nominated for the vice presidency, though the title of the first female VP nominee in general belongs to Geraldine Ferraro. But she never got a series on TLC.

Sarah Palin’s first book sold more than two million copies, doing so well, in fact, she released a companion video game: “Going Rogue,” a first-person shooter (mostly at wolves, from inside a helicopter).

Millions also tuned in to her Alaska-based TV show, the creatively titled “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” a program intended to highlight “the wonder and majesty of Alaska,” by which she meant the wonder and majesty accessible to someone traveling with a film crew, a phalanx of assistants and her own hair and makeup team, in addition to Kate Gosselin. Plus eight.

In the political arena, Palin portrays herself as a hockey mom, although none of her kids really played hockey. Otherwise she would’ve named one “Rink.”

She also likens herself to a “mama grizzly,” after a bear species noted for fierce protectiveness of its children, as well as its many guest appearances on “Fox and Friends.”

Sarah Palin does a mean Tina Fey imitation.

Early life and education

Sarah Palin began her shockingly easy ascent from beauty pageant runner-up to almost second-in-command of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal from birth. She shares this birthday with Thomas Edison, Jeb Bush, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Anniston and that little wisecracking kid on “Mr. Belvedere.” Wesley was his name.

Born Sarah Louise Heath in Sandpoint, Idaho, Palin grew up mostly in Wasilla, where she remains its most notable resident. Well, aside from Lisa Kelly from “Ice Road Truckers.”

While a student and basketball player at Wasilla High School, Palin earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda,” presumably for her prominent sharp teeth, spiny anterior fins and maximum swimming speed of 27 knots.

In 1984, she placed second in the Miss Alaska pageant, a feat that sounds a lot more impressive than it is, considering the state was nearly 75% male at the time.

Sarah Palin received a BS in communications from University of Idaho in 1987, with a minor in political science. You know, you’d think she’d make a bigger deal of that poli-sci minor. That’s as good as any opposing candidate’s experience, and anyone who says different is elitist.

Political career

After a lukewarm run as a sports reporter in Anchorage, Palin decided her next logical step was politics. She served as both a city council member and mayor of Wasilla before her election as governor of Alaska in 2006, becoming the first woman and youngest person to hold the state’s highest office. In 2009, she became the first woman and youngest person to resign the state’s highest office.

Still, as governor, Sarah Palin boasted record high approval ratings. Perhaps this had something to do with the special $1200 checks she cut to all Alaska residents, in addition to the Permanent Fund Dividend check they already received.

On Aug. 29, 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, forever changing the fortune of rimless eyeglass manufacturers everywhere.

Reactions to Palin’s nomination were mixed, mostly centered on her lack of experience — or surplus of experience, depending on which cable news network you were watching. Regardless, Sarah Palin demonstrated an ability to read off a teleprompter. When push comes to shove, that’s all she really needed to be able to do.

Even though she and McCain lost the election, Sarah Palin set herself up for four years of will she/won’t she tension that makes for great television, ultimately deciding not to seek the Republican presidential nomination for 2012. But not before starting a political action committee, embarking on a high-profile cross-country bus tour and writing two books, “Going Rogue: An American Life” and its sequel “Going Rogue 2: Electric Boogaloo.” (Note: she later changed this title to “America by Heart.”)

A lifelong registered Republican, Palin has also been associated with the Tea Party and the Tea Party Express, which is like the Tea Party, only with a more limited menu and no seating area.

In August 2009, Sarah Palin caused a stir by coining the phrase “death panel,” to describe health care reform. This is not to be confused with “death paneling,” which is what a goth kid uses to finish the walls in his rumpus room.

Palin again made news in June 2011, when the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails from her gubernatorial tenure. Most of these turned out to be forwards of “lolcats” between her and Levi Johnston.

Personal life

Sarah Palin married her high school boyfriend Todd in 1988. The couple has five children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. So far, only one has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.” She also has two grandchildren, one of whose father did a whole spread in “Playgirl.”

Say what you will about Sarah Palin, but she’s never gone to jail. At least not yet.

Sarah Palin is the most difficult person to try and write humorously about without offending anyone’s political or social affiliations. Well, maybe aside from Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Speaking of, conditions are shaping up for a massive Palin vs. Clinton battle royale in 2016. Now that’s going to entertaining. We’re talking years of pantsuit and lipstick jokes. Awesome.

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