The throngs of Sarah Palin supporters who flocked to the Hilton Garden Inn yesterday for the former Alaska governor's fundraising speech received something of a Missoula-style welcome. Roughly 30 people lined the street leading into the hotel parking lot off North Reserve, some sporting 3D glasses, others holding signs but all protesting Palin's presence, not the event. Surprisingly, the only flack the demonstrators got from Palin's adoring masses came in the form of a middle finger. Here's why we say surprisingly:
Reid Reimers, the hillbilly pictured above, chose to lampoon the new-age Joan of Arc based on her belief that she's doing God's work in the political realm. Reimers organized one of the Facebook protest groups present outside the Hilton, drawing on friends from the University of Montana theater department. It should be noted that, during an interview, Reimers rarely broke character.
"She's real purdy," Reimers said. "I think she should be queen of the Universe."
Reimers did step out of his redneck persona briefly to explain exactly what his protest plans had been. Originally he intended to buy a number of copies of Palin's book and burn them to give her a "warm welcome," but reconsidered when he realized buying her book would be a financial vote of support for her. He instead turned to the power of acting to mock Palin as best he could.
"It concerns me anytime a politician says she's speaking for God," Reimers said. "Especially when it's about pipelines and stuff."
The mockery was just as strong among those with a separate protest group, The Freak Show Is Coming To Town, who wore 3D glasses and ate popcorn to show that Palin is more of an entertainer than a politician. Mariah Gladstone and Emma Fawcett traveled from Kalispell to join the group. They would have protested Palin's appearance from home, but as Fawcett said, "You can't exactly do this in Kalispell without being sprinkled with Holy Water."