'Squirmishes': The 10 most mystifying lines of Sarah Palin's endorsement speech for Trump

Sarah Palin's meandering, fiery, sarcastic, patriotic and blustery speech endorsing Donald Trump for president Tuesday in Ames, Iowa, does not easily submit to categorization.

It has been described as performance art, a filibuster, even slam poetry.

Palin has always been a singular force on the campaign trail. But in her years away from politics, the former Alaska governor and Sen. John McCain's Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008 seems to have spurred a whole new series of idiosyncratic expressions and unusual locutions — to the point where even Trump seemed occasionally mystified as he tried to follow along.

Below, a list of 10 of the more memorable lines of the speech, and an attempt to translate them:

"They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, 'Just chill, OK, just relax.' Well, look, we are mad, and we've been had. They need to get used to it."

An impressive example of internal rhyme — if a tad violent, as Palin describes the Republican establishment trying to quash the anger of the party's rebellious base.

"We're talking about no more Reaganesque power that comes from strength. Power through strength."


Whoops! Palin seems to be grasping for President Ronald Reagan's signature Cold War slogan, "Peace through strength."

"And you quit footing the bill for these nations who are oil-rich, we're paying for some of their squirmishes that have been going on for centuries. Where they're fighting each other and yelling 'Allahu akbar,' calling jihad on each other's heads forever and ever. Like I've said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out."

Here, Palin accomplishes many things unusual for a political speaker: She recites the Arabic phrase for "God is great," and, more notably, coins a new word, squirmishes, a cross between squirm (which means to wriggle the body from side to side) and skirmish (which means a brief fight or encounter between small groups). Twitter embraced the new term instantly.

"How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution."

Remember President Barack Obama's famously dismissive description of conservatives as bitter people who "cling to guns or religion" before a crowd of wealthy donors in San Francisco? Palin wants to make sure you never forget it.

"He is from the private sector, not a politician. Can I get a 'Hallelujah!'"

Palin goes godly as she enthuses about the business world.

"Mr. Trump, you're right, look back there in the press box. Heads are spinning, media heads are spinning. This is going to be so much fun."

This is perhaps the most accurate statement in her speech.

"In fact it's time to drill, baby, drill down, and hold these folks accountable."

The slogan Palin popularized in 2008 just won't die. And it has taken on metaphoric meaning now.

"Well, and then, funny, ha ha, not funny, but now, what they're doing is wailing, 'Well, Trump and his Trumpeters, they're not conservative enough.'"

We're still stumped by this one.

"And he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea, well, he deciding that, 'No, America would apologize as part of the deal,' as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize, and then, we bend over and say, 'Thank you, enemy.'"

It's a mouthful. But this section, in which Palin contrasts Trump with Obama, has everything she relishes: Mockery of Obama's early years working in Chicago neighborhoods, right-wing accusations that the president has apologized for America, and a crude reference to him as a submissive sissy on foreign policy.

"He's got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn't want to talk about these issues until he brought 'em up. In fact, they've been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest."

Her biggest misstep in the speech: In 2016, fear of suicide bombers is real for many, not the stuff of political punch lines.