Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has repeatedly emphasized that conservatives need to go into the popular culture on both coasts and impact it. And on the night before her new show debuts on the Sportsman Channel, Palin made a cameo on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and did exactly that.
The New York audience–along with the host–liked her, as she was not the caricature in real life that they had read about in their liberal outlets or heard about on MSNBC and CNN and much of the mainstream press.
Perhaps more importantly, Palin’s appearance seamlessly highlighted her prescience and Obama’s incompetence in a way that was not forced, awkward or stiff, as is the case when most politicians go on such programs. Palin predicted in 2008 that Putin may invade Ukraine if Obama were elected President, and she was mocked for her words.
On Wednesday’s Tonight Show, Fallon portrayed Vladimir Putin, who called Palin in the skit after a conversation with Obama. After Fallon’s Putin asked if it was true that she predicted he would invade Ukraine, Palin said, “You betcha, Vlad.”
Because the mainstream press begrudgingly reported Palin’s words if they even did so at all, Fallon’s audience often does not get news that is favorable to conservatives like Palin, so the skit was an effective way to at least make his audience aware of Obama’s blundering and Palin’s prescience. Perhaps some may have realized that Palin may know more about geopolitics and Russia than the false portrayal by Fallon’s former colleague Tina Fey, who popularized the “I can see Russia from my house” line that Palin never said but has often been falsely attributed to Palin.
“I once invaded a country called YouBetchaVlad,” Putin said before asking whether he should invade Finland, Poland, Sweeden, or Jamaica.
Palin had none of it, telling Putin, “You get those troops out of Ukraine right now.”
Putin then replied by saying Palin was “Captain Buzzkill.”
When Putin mentioned that he could have used Palin’s predictive powers for his March Madness bracket and asked Palin how her bracket was doing, Palin, playing on the rather unique names of her children, said Bracket’s “gonna be six this month” and “Bracket just went out with Track and Jacket and he shot his first bear.”
Putin then replied that he preferred hand-to-hand combat with bears, and that is why he comes from “strong genes” while “President Obama comes from Mom jeans.”
Palin then played the flute while covering Pharrell’s Happy, which has become an unlikely protest anthem in places like Ukraine, as many have noted. It also may discourage Pharrell, who said that the Tea Party was nothing more than people making “N-word” jokes, from profiling conservatives.
The skit also mocked President Barack Obama’s NSA spying scandals when Obama was caught listening to Palin and Putin’s conversation.
The segment ended by portraying Palin as the tough leader she is when Palin put Putin in his place after he suggested that he may invade Alaska next.
“I wouldn’t if I were you, Vlad,” Palin said. “You may be able to take down a bear, but you’re no match for a mama grizzly.”
Palin’s appearance was more impressive because even though Fallon has gently mocked Obamacare and Obama’s misreading of Putin’s intentions, he has been instrumental in helping President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in the popular culture, slow-jamming the news with the former and doing various skits with the latter to promote Obamacare and the First Lady’s signature “Let’s Move” initiative.
But Fallon, who took over for a host who was revered by viewers in the heartland and working-class Americans, did not even come close to taking a cheap shot or saying anything that could be interpreted as condescending or nasty. Leno got his ratings because he knew the power of local stations and was deferential to them, and Fallon, regardless of how popular snippets of his show on YouTube may be, knows his success will be determined by viewers in so-called “flyover country” and not by hipsters on the coasts. Fallon’s skit with Palin may have indicated that he realizes he had a lot more to lose by being snarky to her and offending the working-class Americans that support and defend her. And that is why he did not even attempt anything close to it.
Palin will be on more favorable territory as she continues to impact the culture with the debut of Amazing America with Sarah Palin on the Sportsman Channel on Thursday.