There were many things to take away from the whirlwind visit of the woman who is ostentatiously keeping open the possibility of running for President in 2012, just in case the nation demands it.
Here are five things we learned:
1. She's not necessarily the draw she's made out to be.
Right up to the event, organizers were still pleading for fans to get tickets and bring out friends and family to the Berry Convention Center, which seats about 11,000. This despite the fact that, as Hair Balls learned from an organizer, there was a pranky Facebook group dedicated to Houstonians requesting tickets and then not using them, in the hopes that organizers would believe it was a sell-out and stop giving tickets away. (Sadly, supposed ticket-requesters Anita Mann and Ima Jackauff were no-shows.)
"I reserved 10 seats. They required names of each guest. I mostly used drag queen names," prankster Michael Copenhaver tells Hair Balls. "It really would have been interesting if my "guests" had shown up."
In Spring, which really is the heart of the Palin demographic around here, the hall was only half-filled, on a weekend. Which also says something about Rick Perry's ability to organize a successful event. Bus in those seniors, dude!!
2. She keeps up with all the criticism of her.
The funniest part of the weekend came during her appearance at a "Tea Party" convention in Nashville, where she -- with all the cunning of a fourth-grader cramming for a history test -- wrote talking points on her hand. This was hilarious not only because the talking points were such bland, oft-repeated GOP tropes as "lift America's spirits" and "budget cuts" (although the word "budget was crossed out.) It was also hilarious because Palin has made tired Obama-Teleprompter jokes.
(By the way, if you want to see a double standard in action, here's GOPUSA on Handgate:
Palin is known for giving stirring speeches from the stump... speeches completely off the cuff. To have a few talking points jotted down is something any speech-maker would do. It's quite a bit different than someone like Obama who can't articulate a complete sentence without it being written down in front of him.
Yes, Obama can't complete a sentence without a Teleprompter, unless you include countless town halls or meetings with GOP leadership.)
Anyway, by the time she reached Spring, Palin realized she was in trouble. So the feisty gal wrote "Hi Mom" on her hand for the Perry rally. Point, Palin!!!!!
3. She likes the cash more than she likes her fans.
The other event here was the motivational seminar at Toyota Center. The event seemed to be grossly oversold (Tickets were just $19 for entire office staffs to attend), perhaps because organizers thought people would only attend parts of the all-day event.
But no one told attendees that Palin would be speaking at 8 a.m., so bitterly disappointed fans standing in line at 10:30 a.m. weren't happy.
Palin presumably was, having pocketed her fee for a 30-minute speech.
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4. Boy, her fans are white. Very white.
It's no secret that the teabagger movement is made up of cranky white people. It's especially hilarious when the Houston folks counter this criticism by naming the individual blacks who speak at their rallies, apparently missing the point that if you can ID all the minorities at your rally, you're sorta proving that there aren't many.
Palin's Spring appearance made an Andy Williams concert in Branson look multi-cultural. And that was with Ted Nugent on the bill, and we all know how much the blacks dig The Nuge.
5. Yes, we're still "obsessed" with her.
This is anothe right-wing criticism -- the "MSM," which is defined as anything that isn't Fox, Newsmax or Rush -- is "obsessed" with Palin because they fear her ability to get to the White House. This is apparently discussed at the highest levels of the Great Libruhl Media Conspiracy.
On the one hand, we plead guilty -- we're writing about her. On the other, if there's another political figure out there who so perfectly represents her constituency, for better or worse -- and who also writes cheat notes on her hand for a very friendly Q&A session -- than we'll write about him or her instead.