I grew up outside of Union City, Ohio, a town one-quarter the size of Wasilla, Alaska, where Sarah Palin hails from. My high school was literally in the middle of a corn field. Once a year we had a drive-your-tractor-to-school day. I speak with enough twang that people often think I must be from the South. Heck, I wrote a book that featured 13 “fellas.”
As I watched the VP debate last week, I saw a little of myself and my neighbors in the way Palin spoke. Whether or not that I value being spoke to in a way that I can identify with or not is not important here. Let’s just say that when I talk in public I usually turn down the folk-level a notch or two.
So, today I’ve challenged Sarah Palin to a debate in which we’ll try to out-folk one another. Dan Rather was kind enough to agree to host the debate.
(actual quotes in italics)
Dan Rather: Welcome to The Great Debate of ’08 Folk Smackdown. This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex. Let’s welcome the two opponents. From Alaska, the Governor, the Thrilla from Wasilla, Sarah Palin.
Governor, are you glad to be here?
Sarah Palin: You betcha! (winks)
DR: And her opponent…If Joe Dirt and Matthew McConaughey had a love child it would talk like him. He would rather walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit than consider the possibility” that Sarah Palin could out-folk him … Kelsey Timmerman.
Kelsey Timmerman: I’m more excited than a pregnant sow at feeding time to be here.
SP (to KT while shaking hands): Can I call you, Kels?
KT (to SP): Sure, can I call Auntie Sarah?
SP: You betch– (winks)
KT (interrupting): So, I’ll take that as a yes.
DR: When something bad happens, say like you get beat like a rented mule, what do you say?
SP: Doggone it!
KT: Motherfu…oh, I mean, shucks.
DR: When someone asks you to do something, how do you agree to do it? Governor Palin, no need to answer this one.
KT: Dan, in that situation I’d say ‘Okey dokey artichokie.’ It’s just the right mix of cutsie and my Aunt Mabel’s down home cooking. Take that Ms. You Betcha!
(SP smiles and winks)
DR: Now Kelsey, I’d be careful. One’s reminded of that old saying, ‘Don’t taunt the alligator until after you’ve crossed the creek.’
DR: Oh Nellie! This debate is closer than Lassie and Timmy. It’s so tight it’s like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach.
How would you describe your leadership style?
SP: Maverick. Pig with lipstick. Hockey Mom. More Maverick than Mel Gibson in the movie Maverick.
KT: My momma taught me that you can lead the corn to the field, but you can’t take a kernel out of the army without stepping on a few stalks. Oh, and I was an Eagle Scout and spent several months as my troops Senior Patrol Leader.
DR: Whom do you represent?
SP: Joe Six Pack.
KT: All the fellers out there like me.
DR: If two opponents are nearing the end of a race and there isn’t a clear winner what would you say?
SP: I’m a Maverick , but I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?
KT: Dan, I’d have to say that they were neck and neck.
DR: That’s it? You wouldn’t say, “This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex” or that “this race is humming along like Ray Charles” or that it’s “hotter than the Devil’s anvil” or “as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a ’55 Ford” or “hotter than a Laredo parking lot?
The debate ends
DR: And the polls are in. The winner of the Great Debate of ’08 Folk Smackdown is …me! Dan Rather. I must say, I’m so excited I don’t know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.