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October 14th, 2008
02:31 PM ET

Palin: In the wink of an eye

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Faye Fiore
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Voters have by now memorized Sarah Palin's string of historic firsts on a Republican presidential ticket: first woman, first hockey mom, first moose dresser. Now it turns out the 44-year-old Alaska governor has injected another groundbreaker into national politics.

She's a winker. She winks on rope lines and at rallies. She winked at least six times at 70 million viewers on the vice presidential debate platform opposite her rival, Sen. Joe Biden, who weighed in on the nonverbal communication scale by grinning like a nutcracker.

But it was the wink that ricocheted like a bullet across America, leaving some voters smitten, some confused and others nauseated.

A honking sound from her armpit might have generated less buzz. That would have been just weird. The wink is ambiguous, one of those rich, laden, intriguing signals of unspoken human messaging that is difficult to decipher but impossible to ignore.

There is not a lot of research on the origins of the wink. Some have suggested a rather gloomy start - from the word "hoodwinked," which may have stemmed from the custom of placing a hood over the heads of those about to be hanged. The Bible warned against it in Proverbs: "Whoever winks the eye, causes trouble."

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Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Steve

    King James Bible
    He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

    American King James Version
    He that winks with the eye causes sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

    American Standard Version
    He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow; But a prating fool shall fall.

    October 16, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  2. A ROSE FROM IOWA

    The truth is that the folksy ways of Palin really makes me angry. It is insulting and degrading. I want some facts and some reasons presented intelligently.
    I would eagerly vote for a qualified woman- NOT THAT ONE!!!!!
    Putting her out there seems unpatriotic and unAmerican because we are NOT a nation of ignorant cult members who wink and sound dumb!
    Yes the thought of McPain representing us to the whole world is scary.

    October 14, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  3. David K.

    I personally would love to see a woman in the White House (as President of course), but just any woman won't do. Discussion of dress or facial expressions doesn't address the qualifications. Still I do believe that the manner of the candidate is shown in how they act under not just the "canned prepared" interviews but under the impromptu exchanges. No one is expected to know everything, but the willingness to listen to all sides, gathering data before jumping in with both feet would be an attribute that I would admire most. I don't see these qualities in Sarah Palin.

    October 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  4. Jayne

    I am so sick of hearing Govenor Palin complain (whine) about the Media. This lady wants us to intrust our countries foreign policies to her and she can't handle the American Media. Give me a break!

    October 14, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  5. DR

    She thinks she's a cute cheer-leader in a power-position. How surprised she'll be when there is no longer a Palin-McCain ticket as she once called it. Wink, Wink!

    October 14, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  6. adam

    Just clueless and the people that would vote for her have the nerve to call themselves americans looking out for "country first". Ken, when palin can use better terms other than shucks and good guy bad guy, talking like a friggin high school freshman, only then will I take her serious, also she must answer the questions she is asked and not have to get back to someone with the answer. I wouldnt trust her to watch my dog let alone watch over the country. Come on folks LETS GET SERIOUS!!!!!

    October 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm |
  7. Jeanette

    Shouldn't that be Moose Code Presley?

    October 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  8. Carol, CA

    "some voters smitten, some confused and some nauseated"

    You may put me in the nauseated column. The only thing she didn't try was talking baby-talk. So stupid, childish and unprofessional – especially for a 40-something woman with 5 kids! And then she complains about sexism???!!!! What if Biden acted like that? He would've been dragged off stage and put in a padded cell.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  9. Jackie in Dallas

    Winking and the "you betchas" aren't personality, they are tricks. I'm from the South; an honest "ya'll" is unavoidable. But the "say it isn't so, Joe" (plagerized, by the way) and the folksy, down home stuff, topped off by the winks were just nauseating and didn't actually appear natural. I watched her acceptance speech, I watched her "interviews" and I watched her debate. You didn't see or hear any of that stuff in the other venues! You guys don't have any conpunction about making fun of Biden's hair...learn that that makes your candidate fair game, too.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  10. Donna Alexander

    We can only hope that she is gone in the wink of an eye, or sooner!

    October 14, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  11. Mary

    If people are so scared of Palin being vice-president, then they should VERY frightened at the possibility of a man with less experience than her becoming president.

    She has more experience than Obama. If you don't like her, fine. But, don't use the excuse of experience when Obama has none – he hasn't run a town, a city, a state, a business...nothing. And, you want him to be president. God forbid!

    I, for one, support Sarah Palin. She is very real, which is apparently is what really is scaring people. Unreal.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm |
  12. Lisa from NC

    So..there you go! The Bible is sending us a warning that she is trouble. We must heed the warning from above!!

    October 14, 2008 at 7:13 pm |
  13. Susan Serena

    I do not support McCain/Palin. I have always been a supporter for Hillary. I was disappointed when she lost. However, she believes that Obama is the only choice and I agree.

    I was truly looking forward to seeing the Republican National Convention as I've always enjoyed John McCain. Then he chose Sarah Palin as his VP and I was shocked. But I also tried to stay informed by watching and reading everything I could find about her. When she appeared at the debate I was more than a little surprised at how well she "pulled it together" after the two disasterous interviews with Charlie and Katie.

    However, after everything I've heard and read, I'm convinced that she is a narcissistic personality and very dangerous for our country.

    Also, I'm Democrat born and raised and I love my country as much as any conservative/republican.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:07 pm |
  14. sharon from Indy

    Faye:
    I would rather hear about America's collapse if she ever became president. Wink! Wink!

    October 14, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  15. Lorraine

    You call winking during a Vice-Presidential debate personality? I dont care if it was a Man doing this it is inappropriate and unprofessional. Can you imagine this being a Executive Interview and the individual continued to wink while he/she gave her answers, the individual would probably not get hired. Palin is unprofessional and shown to be not very intelligent I am terrified of her in the White House.

    October 14, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  16. kendall DaGREAT Houston Texas

    when sarah pilan wink her eye, she is talking very cear to only the banana cream pie people of america who understand stand her very cearly she really trying to say if u suger code it "the world can fanilly belone to us one this old man"McCain" out the picture. we can now start a merica where every one is curfused and with miss understanding" Banana Cream Pie America that what I and many others think about the wink of the eye pilan.

    October 14, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  17. Robert Wooller Bradford England

    How patronising. She is unibelievable, using the same techniques Bush used in 2000, her folksy manner failed him and it will fail her.

    October 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  18. Bobby Franklin

    I keep hearing McCain saying, "Electing Obama would be considered on-the-job training." What does he think Palin would be?

    October 14, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  19. deb

    Palin is getting blonder as the weeks go by-literally–a few new highlights, Tte clothes are tighter in the bottom –now she is jacketless-yesterday with a waist enhancing belt & very tight skirt. These McCain guys are pathetic & the fact that her intellect is apparent makes it more pathetic!! And what is job is Todd going to do??? Scary.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  20. harriett

    ken don't get it like Palin/mcCain becasue no one winks at a presidential debate especially when you are running for VICE PRESIDENT.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  21. Ken

    Good gracious! Someone with personality and it's demonized. How about an article about how Senator Obama stutters and stammers at every answer in every interview. Making sure he doesn't misstep. Talk about body language. That is alarming. This tells me there's someone with a lack of conviction. Must be a slow day in article writing land...

    October 14, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  22. Carrie

    To me the winking and the 'Say it aint so Joe' phrasing just makes Gov. Palin seem unintelligent and uneducated, like she’s talking down to me. Is this who we want as our first female vice president to be? To travel and represent us as a country? That thought scares me!

    October 14, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  23. Chip

    It's so pathetic that she was nominated. At least it exposed the GOP for what they are. The politburo of BS.
    Rather ironic that The Bible warns of those who wink, considering she's a 'believer'. Just what we need – another self-righteous, God-fearin', snake-dancer in the White House. No wonder they hate us.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  24. LaToya

    This story comes a little to late.... but I have to say as a woman, I was very distgusted by all of the winking that she was doing during the debate. It seemed very unprofessional and inappropriate for that kind of gesture. I've never seen Obama, Biden, or even McCain winking during these presidential debates. Why does she have to do it? I think it just made her look even dumber than she is!! The media doesn't have to discredit Palin, she clearly does that by herself.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  25. Marcus

    Its a wink... i thought it was turrets syndrome. I was going to vote for her cause she had turrets but now I cant vote for a person that winks at nothing.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  26. Emmerentia

    Seeing that Sarah Palin prides herself on being a Christian, I think her supporters who think she is God's answer to their prayers, should heed the words of the Bible as Faye Fiore mentions, "whoever winks the eye, causes trouble". Some translations actually state ".....is not to be trusted". Being pro-life, pro-God she might consider being pro-truth as well as she has really being cheap on that!! Such double standards – no wonder Christians are not taken serious anymore!!

    October 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  27. Suze

    I only use a week in jest like if I tell someone something that is ridiculously false as a joke and then wink wink, I am pulling the hood over your eyes... but I only use it as a joke gesture, I think Palin uses it to try to endear when she knows she is selling us a ridiculously false joke.. HER!

    October 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  28. Juan Quiros

    Gov. Sarah Palin is no doubt a very smart woman amidst the political arena. But, I am afraid that she is trying to wink her way into the VP slot and God forbid, something should happen to Sen. John McCain, she would be our president in a wink of an eye. This is a serious matter to consider and weighs heavily in Sen. McCain’s election for the VP slot. I am an Obama supporter and agree with his choice for slating Sen. Joe Biden for the VP spot.

    However, if I were supporting McCain Sarah Palin would be my main concern and she could be the deal breaker of McCain’s campaign. She does lack the political knack to manage a country and literally become the world’s president.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  29. Annie Kate

    The winking to me made me see her as a smart-aleck and someone who thought they were better than anyone else in the room – like she and the viewer would know what she was talking about but Biden and the rest of them were clueless. I think its Palin who is clueless.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  30. Bob from Dallas, Texas

    And this is news because???????

    Some one has too much time on their hands.

    October 14, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  31. Juan Quiros

    As a registered voter I do not want to get hood WINKED into oblivion by a woman whose expertise for politics requires further nurturing. The country is in dire need of viable solutions and like many a time exclaimed by Sen. McCain we cannot afford OJT for Gov. Palin. I guess the GOP is no longer very Grand.

    October 14, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  32. MJ Housley

    This has been a very frightening campaign for almost two years. It is so disheartening to listen to reports by the media of people smearing and tearing apart candidates because of what they wear (like Hillary Clinton's pantsuits) or a choice of an analogy (like lipstick on a hockey mom) and now, because Sarah Palin winks! This campaign has revealed how bigoted our country is against women and how the media loves to condone this demeaning attitude. Funny how we think it is wonderful when those in the limelight thank their mothers for their success - and then turn around and tear down any woman who seems to be hard-working, intelligent, caring and responsible!
    Maybe if the media didn't report such atrocities, and instead responsibly chose to report the positive qualities of any candidate, especially the female ones, our country would be in a better place right now. I would rather concentrate on platforms and agendas than idiosyncrasies.

    I don't think the media would appreciate the country bloging about reporters' unusual habits, expressions or dress - instead of their journalistic prowess! Do unto others.........

    October 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  33. Andres

    Sorry my friendly neighbors to the south. If Palin makes it to be vice-president, and God forbid president, I might need to move to my wife's home country of South Africa where I might feel safer. Really, the possibility of Palin in the White House is VERY SCARY!

    October 14, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  34. Presley

    Maybe if you ran the clips of her winking, we could decipher some super secret code via Mavericky Morse Code.

    October 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm |