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Tina Fey for Vice President

If the election is a made-for-TV event, why not get a pro?

Vanessa Richmond 17 Sep

Tyee contributing editor Vanessa Richmond writes the Schlock and Awe column about popular culture and the media.

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Sarah Palin (Tina Fey) and Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler) on Saturday Night Live.

I'm so depressed about Sarah Palin. Fighting against what she stands for and what makes her popular seems like a David versus Goliath battle, only more mismatched. And though, as a Canadian, I know many Daves, none has seem up to the task.

This weekend, when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened the season of Saturday Night Live with their electric impersonations of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, I was initially among those who found the sketch hilarious but depressing. It's kind of funny that Fey's Palin says global warming is just "God huggin' us closer," for example. Kind of.

If it weren't for the fact that famous and non-famous U.S. liberals are starting to wring their hands about a possible McCain-Palin victory. Right now, the Palin-What's-his-name ticket has started to make the Democratic ticket look like last year's show. Palin's charisma, glamour and tabloid-worthy life have all but eclipsed Obama's presence and what he stands for.

And though an important election looms here at home, a Republican victory means a giant symbolic blow to those small, little things like the environmental future of the world, women's rights (ironically), global peace and the separation of church and state. So, I'm completely captivated by the scale and implications of the Emmy-award-worthy, Disney-film drama to the south. That's the power of Palin. And that's why I'm scared.

But don't worry, gentle readers, I have a plan, one as deviously made-for-TV as the Republican's latest move: Obama just needs to ditch the real What's-his-name in this race and make Fey his VP. Not only will her dead-ringer-for-Palin looks confuse voters and tip the scales in his favour, she's got five other assets that guarantee victory.

1. She's smarter than a dog in lipstick

To start with, I'm pretty sure Fey knows what the Bush doctrine is. And has an inkling that dinosaurs weren't here 4,000 years ago -- whether or not anyone can ever confirm the urban legend that Palin was quoted saying they were.

Palin apparently wanted to be a news anchor as little as four years ago, but Fey actually was one -- albeit on a satirical show. But everyone knows those have more credibility than real news these days anyway, especially when they have searing political commentary and coin new cultural phrases like "bitch is the new black."

Fey actually understands Palin -- well enough to be a dead-wringer for her -- so could actually mount an intelligent, effective attack. Unlike, say, the current Democrats.

I've told several people my plan and, without exception, their response has been, "Oh, she's so smart. She'd be great."

And many media types seem to agree. "Umm, wow. So, OK, Tina Fey, you win. You are the funniest woman on the planet. You are smart and sexy and interesting," raved Salon's Sarah Hepola.

2. Fey would win the political popularity pageant

I know what you're thinking: Sarah Palin was in a real beauty pageant and even has a tanning bed in her house (that she didn't pay for with government funds), so she could be tough competition.

But this weekend's SNL was the most popular season premiere since 2001, and the most-watched SNL for any date since Dec. 17, 2002, when former vice president Al Gore was the guest host. Fey can draw the crowds.

And at any rate, we can still be pretty sure she'll get more attention than Obama's current running mate, who, as my friend put it, has less media appeal than a beige wall.

3. She's funny

People like funny. Sarah Palin loves her pit-bull joke so much she's told it a dozen times. I'm no expert but I've noticed people seem to laugh less after I tell my jokes for the 12th time. Fey can come up with new material.

According to Palin's spokesperson, Tracey Schmitt, the real Sarah Palin had a good laugh along with the press corps in the back of the plane (and millions of Americans at home) when the entire plane watched this weekend's SNL.

"She thought it was quite funny, particularly because she once dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween," Schmitt was quoted as saying.

Sure she did.

4. Tabloid fodder

In this election, covered more by the tabloids than any before, Palin is a dream (which might even explain why the Republicans picked her): she has complex, intriguing family situations that she's willing to talk about publicly.

But I have no doubt that Fey could manufacture even more complex plot lines -- after all, she's a professional.

5. Fey can out outside Palin

"I scratched and clawed through mud and barbed wire and you just glided in on a dog sled wearing your pageant sash and your Tina Fey glasses," quips Poehler's Clinton on SNL, clearly jealous of Palin's outsider appeal.

Palin told Charlie Gibson she couldn't be more of an outsider, and people seem to like outsiders almost as much as they like funny. Maybe because outsiders haven't been exposed, in person, to the Bush virus? And though Fey arguably has more political knowledge than Palin, she hasn't ever held office, not even as mayor for two years of Alaska's crystal meth capital, which makes her even better.

Now we just have to get her to agree to run.

"It's hard to believe I'm just one heartbeat away from being president of the United States. It just goes to show that anyone can be president," says Fey as Palin on SNL.

"Anyone," pipes in Poehler's Clinton. "Anyone."

"All you have to do is want it."

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