Tina Fey: Therapy for Palin Skeptics

By Judy Asman

LOS ANGELES(RUSHPRNEWS)10/06/2008–When Tina Fey performed her inaugural caricature of Sarah Palin on Sept. 13, she not only had Americans crying with laughter but she also calmed the anxieties of those wondering, “Is this Palin chick for real?”

Afterall, Fey’s performance, alongside Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, quickly followed Palin’s controversial selection by John McCain as his running mate and her speech at the Republican National Convention, where with feminine mean spiritedness she attacked Barack Obama on everything from tax policies to writing two memoirs but not a single law or reform to what Palin obviously considered to be Obama’s soft position on foreign policy.

Palin’s speech was highly anticipated. While Americans watched and GOP followers cheered with similar partisan rage, Barack Obama loyalists sat in disgust—and fear—that once again, Americans would vote based on short-sighted emotion and those votes would go McCain-Palin.

In the days that followed, the Internet blew up with Palin jeers. The Alaskan Governor was praised and admired for everything but sound politics. Her pretty face. Check. Her love for guns and hunting. Check. Her numerous children, including a grandchild on the way and an infant recently born with Down Syndrome. Check. Her face photoshopped on the body of a bikini-clad gun lover and a woman with stripper heels and a cat suit, enhancing the MILF factor. Check. The fact she might the first woman ever to hold the title of Vice President of the United States. Check.

While dissenters spoke and wrote loudly about Palin’s ethics investigation in her home state, her lack of experience in Washington, her efforts to ban books and extreme her views on foreign policy and abortion rights, the U.S. seemed plagued with Palin craze.

Those who were anti-Palin were dialed into the fact this woman had clearly used her feminine mystique to appeal to John McCain, who in turn fell for it and asked her to be his running mate. That, by the way, was one of the biggest and most offensive statements McCain could have made on how he really feels about women.

Then came the SNL appearance by Tina Fey.

Poking fun at everything from cute poses behind the podium to ignorance on relevant political issues, Fey captivated her already loyal fans while picking up a new ones, myself included. Fey had, without a doubt, nailed Palin on the very weaknesses that catapulted the former beauty-contest contender to international media attention.

It seemed Palin might have come out on top with that one as well, when she laughed along with America the next day. To paraphrase news reports, Palin was amused by Fey’s performance and had even dressed up as Tina Fey once for Halloween. At first, it appeared as political mastery on Palin’s part. She knew the world was watching and laughing, and after all Fey’s performance did highlight Palin’s sexual appeal while poking fun at Hillary Clinton’s lack thereof. It’s no wonder Palin might have thought she had arrived—in a favorable but comedic light—thanks to the hilarity of Fey’s performance.

But then Fey kept going. Palin’s interview with Katie Couric was yet more fodder for the Emmy-winning star to highlight the arctic Governor’s shortcomings when completing an intelligent thought and, having depicted Palin’s remarks so closely to the original transcript, Fey could further illustrate Palin is clearly out-to-lunch by believing Alaska’s proximity to Russia and Canada makes her a strong contender as a foreign diplomat.

And at last, there was the debate last Tuesday with Sen. Joseph Biden. After Palin’s blunders and Fey’s performance, millions of viewers anticipated Palin would come out and choke. As to what “choke” means is up to the individual viewer, but I for one had not expected Palin to come out and challenge Biden with confidence and, quite frankly, complete sentences.

But she did.

In the debate aftermath, pundits mused over how Palin surprisingly did an adequate job and a sampling of viewers were quoted as saying they appreciated that Palin really spoke to the average American in a language they could understand. And again, it seemed like voters might waffle on their opinions of Palin, considering her as a likely running mate to McCain. Yet, upon turning that corner, there again was Fey.

In what I believe has been the most intelligent and hysterical performance yet, featuring Queen Latifah as a shameless pro-Obama Gwen Ifill, and actor-comedian Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden, Fey’s brilliant performance once again uncovered the not-so-brilliant Palin.

Mocking the Governor for over-using the term “maverick,” not directly answering questions posed to her by Ifill and Palin’s obvious rehearsing of her debate responses in a way a high school civics student would prepare for a speech, Fey once again challenged Palin on her scarce knowledge on national security issues and hypocrisy when it comes to gay marriage and teen pregnancy. All the while over-emphasizing Palin’s constant use of country colloquialisms a la gosh darn and dog-gone.

If anyone has arrived amid the Palin craze, it’s Tina Fey. Whether or not it’s her intention to heal the anxieties and faithlessness an Obama supporter might experience whenever Palin gets a quick hit, Fey has no doubt presented comedic therapy, in its classic form of political satire, to Palin skeptics.

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About the author: Judy Asman is RushPRnews’ sports columnist. Her media career started in the late 1980s, when she was a college disc jockey and promotions director for KUSF-FM, San Francisco. She earned her Master’s in journalism and public affairs at American University in Washington, DC and served as a producer for Potomac News Bureau and C-SPAN’s “America and the Courts.” Judy  is also the producer of judythefoodie.com. You may contact Judy at judyasman@rushprnews.com