On Wednesday, a few minutes before President Donald Trump addressed the nation regarding the coronavirus, former Alaska governor and U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was appearing on the Fox television show The Masked Singer.
Clad in a furry bear suit of many pastel colors, she rapped Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
But her masked performance wasn’t enough to save her from being eliminated from the show on what was her first appearance. With the audience shouting “take it off,” Palin removed the immense pink bear head mask for the big reveal.
The crowd gasped and cheered.
Then Palin, in her trademark updo and glasses, again belted out “Baby Got Back” — a ode to large derrieres.
In a later interview, Palin allowed that it was “the weirdest thing I've ever done, that's for sure.”
"But it's all about fun, it's unity,” Palin continued. “This is something that our country needs right now, too."
Of all the things that our country might need at the moment, Sarah Palin in a cute bear suit spitting rhymes about big butts (rear ends) probably doesn’t top the list.
Still, we can’t criticize her too much for getting out there and doing whatever it is she wants to do. It’s not like she’s Alaska’s governor or vice president of the United States or anything else besides a peculiar type of American celebrity now. Let her have her fun.
But it is worth remarking how differently Palin started out.
A former mayor of Wasilla, Palin challenged former U.S. senator and sitting Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski — and follow Republican John Binkley — in the GOP primary election that took place on Aug. 22, 2006.
Palin’s campaign trail brought her to Ketchikan in early August for that favorite First City event of office seekers, the Blueberry Arts Festival. We remember Palin standing, alone, in front of her booth deep in the State Building parking garage. This was Murkowski country. Not much enthusiasm here for an upstart taking on Frank.
Palin shellacked Binkley and Murkowski in the GOP primary, earning more than 51,000 votes to Binkley’s 30,300 votes. and Murkowski’s 19,400. She then soundly beat Democrat Tony Knowles, a former two-term governor who was running for a third stint in the office.
Palin swept into office and maintained solid support from Alaskans, working to pass the “Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share” oil tax structure that helped build Alaska’s budget reserves before being replaced in 2013 by the tax regime that’s currently in place.
Ketchikan didn’t warm to her much, though. Although she supported the Gravina Access bridge during her campaign, Palin pulled the plug on the project, building only the Gravina Highway and sending a significant portion of the Gravina Access funding to other projects in the state.
Then came Sen. John McCain. The maverick Arizona Republican was running for president and selected the nationally unknown Palin as his mavericky vice presidential running mate. Palin would brag on the campaign trail about ending the “Bridge to Nowhere” project.
When McCain lost the election to Barack Obama, Palin returned to Alaska to continue as governor. She didn’t remain long, resigning in July 2009. But she remained in the spotlight over the years as a reality show personality and conservative commentator. The star dimmed over time, but her family and personal life continue to surface in the news now and again.
One wonders how things would have turned out had McCain not chosen Palin. No one can say, but it’s not likely it would have resulted in a fur-suited performance of a non-family-friendly rap a few moments before a president addressed the nation about a rapidly developing crisis.
In these strange times, however, perhaps it makes sense.
As Forbes writer Dani Di Palcido noted on Thursday, ”Sarah Palin in a fursuit perfectly embodies the surreal horror of 2020.”