Yes, everyone is talking about them.
For those in a cave this weekend, the issue is Sarah Palin at the Tea Party convention a few days ago. She gave a speech, and then there was a Q&A with a moderator. She clearly had something on her hand, which she referred to (subtly, she thought) in the course of answering questions.
A close-up of the hand reveals what her notes were:
The first word is "Energy".
The second part is the phrase "Budget Cuts" with the word "budget" crossed out, and the word "tax" written underneath to replace it.
And the final part is "Life American Spirits".
Why does this matter?
Well, for one thing, it comes after over a year of conservatives making fun of Obama because he uses — shocker — a teleprompter. This has to be one of the stupidest Obama criticisms ever (and there are plenty of stupid ones out there). After all, every President has used a teleprompter since the technology was available. Yes, even Reagan. But the whole point of the "teleprompter" criticism is to create the underlying (and somewhat racist) perception that Obama simply isn't all that smart, and that he is a prop for someone else pulling the strings.
Now comes Sarah Palin with her tele-palm-ter, and suddenly, conservatives don't get what the fuss is about. But clearly, they should be embarrassed. Sure, Sarah isn't the first politician to carry around notes. They might not remember the latest projected federal deficit projections, and they might keep that number handy (although most politicians would probably put it on a notecard because, you know, they aren't in high school anymore).
And, as Huffington Post’s Stefan Sirucek points out, Palin’s “extra help” in front of a friendly crowd is especially ironic because Obama wasn’t using notes of any kind during a recent unscripted Q & A with House Republicans. Obama has also recently held several town halls, where he took questions from the audience and spoke at length without notes.
But more to the point, Sarah's "hand job", as it's being called now, isn't the same thing as Obama's non-controversial use of a teleprompter. I mean, what kind of conservative has to make notes to remind herself that the right is in favor of tax cuts? Can you imagine the mockery if Hillary Clinton, while running for President, had to write on her palm "Pro-choice", just to remind herself of her position, or to remind herself to talk about her position?
Aside from that, Sarah's appearance at the Tea Party rally, was pretty much as you expected. For me, the best part was when she said to a roomful of people who paid $500 a ticket:
"It's so inspiring to see real people — not politicos, inside-the-beltway professionals — come out, stand up and speak out for common sense conservative principles."
Unfortunately, many "real people" of the Tea Party movement couldn't afford the $500 per person ticket fee, and have soured against the movement — and Palin — altogether. 600 people showed up for the event altogether — they had room for many more. An auspicious beginning to a political movement.