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Running by the Numbers

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Message Jayne Lyn Stahl
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After Thursday night's interview with ABC, one thing is clear--Sarah Palin is running by the numbers.

And, if you're Sarah Palin, running by the numbers means:

1) Repeating your interviewer's name, "Charlie," "Charlie," several times to show that you have that personal touch. And, more importantly, to deflect attention away from the fact that you still believe Cuba is in the Balkans.

2) Plowing right through a question that you don't know the answer to without even blinking. If you blink, people will know that you have teleprompters everywhere, even in your bathroom.

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3) Repeating keywords like "Islamic," "extremists," and "terrorists" as often as possible.

4) Being absolutely sure not to deviate from accepted party line when it comes to mispronouncing words like nu-cu-lar, and eye-rack (Iraq).

5) Invoking the name "John McCain" more than God (that is, until after the election)

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6) Making sure to wear reading glasses, so people will think you really read, but never admitting to reading newspapers. We wouldn't want to distance ourselves that much from the current commander-in-chief. (Palin admitted she knows about as much about eye-rack as her running mate knows about the economy.)

7) Working to simulate dissent, so people won't see you as that yes man in a skirt. (keep in mind that Madame Payless declares her difference from McCain who opposes ANWAR. (watch for that flip flop, too, after --gawd forbid--inauguration day.) Make "drill, baby, drill" the national anthem.

8) Employing catch phrases like government that is "on the side of the people" without clarifying which people you are talking about.

9) Calling Russia "our next door neighbor" while, at the same time, declaring the need to stand tough on Georgian autonomy. This gives just enough wiggle room for illegal breaking and entering, something the Bush doctrine doesn't expressly state, but something this presidency clearly considers being neighborly.

10) Embracing the war on terror, yet admitting that some "mistakes" were made like, for instance, invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and confusing Saddam Hussein with bin Laden, but, hey, this is a country discovered by a dude with a bad sense of direction.

11) Discreetly making inquiry in your local library about banning books, asking a longtime library staffer how she would handle censorship, and when called on it, saying that any questions about pulling questionable books from the shelves were only hypothetical.

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12) Violating your state's open records act as a dress rehearsal for breaking the presidential records act by refusing to turn over more than 1,000 e-mails that might prove ethics violations showing real aptitude for being our next Redactor-in-Chief.

13) Using the power of your office to strongarm anyone who crosses you, or your family, even members of the press, and never confusing a campaign ad with a Cialis commercial.

14) Saying you're for life, but meaning you're only for certain forms of life---for life of a fetus, but not that of wildlife, or that of your teenage daughter who chooses her own future over that of a one-inch embryo. Saying you're for life, but denying access to life-saving medications to clinics, worldwide, who refuse to cooperate with abstinence-only sex education.

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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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