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Believe me when I tell you that the last thing I have any desire to do is draw politics into our enjoyable look at tools. That’s why it surprised the crap out of me when I noticed that the Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association — a not-for-profit educational trade group — selected Sarah Palin as their keynote speaker for the yearly convention this November.

Really? Wouldn’t it make more sense to invite someone who, I don’t know, knows something about fasteners, specialty tools, or fastener and specialty tool products? Forget politics here. I’d be just as stunned if they invited Nancy Pelosi. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Harry Reid.

Hey, maybe this makes sense to you. If it does, by all means let me know in comments where I missed the boat.

Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association [Main Site]


50 Responses to Sarah Palin Keynotes STAFDA. Wait. What?

  1. Chris says:

    She does strike me as a pin-head, so I would guess that’s the connection…

  2. Josh says:

    What better way to blow $100K?

  3. russ says:

    Maybe they had to drop Mel Gibson at the last minute?

  4. BJN says:

    I’m not surprised. Someone wants to see her straddling a Ridgid pipe wrench or buffing a Hummer. The tool trade loves a pin-up.

  5. Ted says:

    Simple explanation, a STAFDA board member (or a good friend) will be a connected Tea-Bagger. An honorarium from a trade group a good way to funnel dough to someone you support without getting all tangled up in campaign finance rules. String together a couple of dozen of these using other anonymous trade organizations and you set her up with a nice little slush fund. Nothing to see here 😉

  6. kythri says:

    And these comments (especially Ted’s derogatory “Tea-Bagger”) is exactly why it was a good thing that you kept politics out of the blog.

    Republican, Democrat, it doesn’t matter. You’re all a bunch of morons.

  7. David says:

    At first I thought I had somehow gone to Failblog instead of Toolmonger….

    Ted pretty much covered the reason she’s speaking

  8. dave p. says:

    six comments in the first 30 minutes. Prudence would dictate that the thread gets locked or 86d.

    I hold extremist political views (even I’ll admit that), but I love tools and you don’t shite where you eat.

  9. Jerry says:

    dave p has it right. However, Sarah promoting a “Tool Of The Month” on a calendar could be fun. Palin lovers could murmur, “She looks good holding that (whatever)” and the ones who don’t like her could say things like, “Which is the real tool?”

  10. Arthur D says:

    It might be ok if they had got someone who knew something about politics…..

    Loved the ‘pinhead’ remark….

  11. regis says:

    I’d consider her too politicizing a candidate to have as a speaker at a nonpolitical event. Odd choice.

  12. regis says:

    … candidate from among the available people to invite to keynote, that is.

  13. Chuck Cage says:

    @kythri My thoughts exactly, which is why I was so surprised!

    @regis: Exactly.

  14. Phil says:

    Had to snicker at some of the comments…but here is the real reason…STAFDA is a trade show…trade shows can only make money if they get the people to attend. You can only get people to attend if you get their attention..IF STAFDA had chosen somebody that is in the tool business, this topic probably never would have been on the message board. Like her or not, she is a draw and with the construction industry still barely fogging a mirror, she is a great way to bring attention back to the show.

  15. Steve says:

    I find myself fascinated by what she could possibly talk about relating to tools of any kind. There might be some political figures to take an interest in tools and might be happy to speak. But I would guess her background as a beauty queen didn’t spark the desire to learn anything about tools. Husbands a snowmobile racer, so not likely a source of topic for a confrence in AZ. What did her dad do? Its a shame if this is the waste of time because of some money funneling.

  16. JKB says:

    And who it this world can give an attention grabbing talk about specialty tools and fasteners that will inspire specialty tool and fastener distributors to get interested in attending a conference? I’m sure their will be speakers on this subject but let’s face it, they aren’t headliners.

    Sarah Palin, on the other hand, love her or hate her, draws people to hear her speak. So this is something of a coup for STAFDA, assuming their members are not small, petty, close-minded politically driven individuals who will boycott in protest. In addition, of all the political speakers, I would say Sarah Palin is more likely to have used a specialty tool or fastener in a productive operational manner for other than publicity photos.

    Plus, if rowdy demonstrators disrupt the conference, there’ll be plenty of exhibitors to demonstrate how their tool or fastener is best suited to nailing down trouble in a quick and efficient way.

  17. Bajajoaquin says:

    @ JKB (“In addition, of all the political speakers, I would say Sarah Palin is more likely to have used a specialty tool or fastener in a productive operational manner for other than publicity photos.”):

    Jimmy Carter

  18. Patrick says:

    Phil has it right – this is a trade show, and you want to draw from groups who otherwise wouldn’t attend, especially women. Plus, of all the national politicians you know, she’s the only one who probably knows how to use tools, or at least would have an idea of how to pick one up and not look like a total dork.

  19. kdp says:

    Previous keynote speakers: Stuart Varney, Chris Gardner and Colin Powell.

    FWIW – The fact that she would speak this year was announced at last years convention.

  20. Chuck says:

    @ Phil – I wouldn’t walk across the street to see her for free. I would, however pay to see a two-headed calf. Too bad they didn’t have one of those.

    Talent level is the same, but the calf is more engaging.

  21. Gareth says:

    Other candidates that didn’t make the grade:

    * Dumbo the Elephant
    * That guy from the Slap Chop commercials
    * Andrew Zimmerman from Bizarre Foods
    * The Olson Twins
    * Justin Bieber

  22. ajds says:

    Actually (politics aside) the Jimmy Carter comment is very smart and insightful. His Habitat for Humanity work is the real deal and he knows about building. I’m not knocking her, just that a famous public figure with a tooling/building background could be found. Harrison Ford or Nick Offerman (Ron from Parks & Recreation) would be other good choices.

  23. dave p. says:

    Yeah, I can’t stand Jimmy Carter, but he is actually a hell of a woodworker. Mad props.

  24. Patrick says:

    Any major fastener related legislation on the pipeline? I can see plenty of reasons to have a politician speak at a trade show (Gen. Powell @ a military/police gear expo) but I don’t know why a news anchor would make the grade at a show about the best way to nail and screw someone…

  25. Jeigh says:

    Well, as expected, the dirtbags came out in force on this one. I would suspect that none of her critics here know much about her, have the political experience or the education that she has. As for the “teabagger” comment, you people should really reserve that for the idol of the left, Bawney Fwank.

    Could be the STAFD already knows about fastners and the like, and just want to broaden their horizons. They probably know – like the rest of us – that the current leftist regime won’t be around in another two years!

  26. geeze you're brilliant says:

    Trade shows make money by drawing people in. Something you obviously haven’t figured out. If I come back tomorrow and still see that disgusting teabagger comment, your bookmark is gone. I visit your site for tool news, not this political bullsh!t. Palin may not be my cup of tea but I suspect she’s constructively used a power tool or two in her day as have the majority of those in the tea party. That’s more than can be said for the majority of the political hacks on both the right and left, that have bankrupted this country. Way to alienate your readers boys.

  27. elmegil says:

    Wow. Chips bigger than a buffalo aplenty here.

    It makes no sense to politicize a trade show in any case, because for all the people you’ll bring in wanting to see the circus, none of them are going to help you make money at your trade. Lots of people at the show might look good, but it’s not going to pay the bills in 6 months.

  28. Simon says:

    the only thing more annoying than politics at a trade show is politics in a tool blog.

  29. phil says:

    …beam me up…there’s no intelligence here…

  30. Nelson says:

    The “Tea-Bagger” comment was nasty. So much for a fun place to come for tool news. Bookmark gone.

  31. greg says:

    Sarah Palin to speak at STAFDA 2010
    The Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) announced that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker at its 2010 convention.


    She will address STAFDA members on Monday, Nov. 8 during STAFDA’s General Session.

    As the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate who captured much of the public’s attention last year, Sarah Palin will share with STAFDA members her vision for energy independence, health care, fiscal responsibility, small government and national security. She encourages her audiences to look to the future and challenges leaders to do more to support our military, rein in spending and shrink government while creating fiscally responsible health care that benefits all Americans.

    Rising from small-town origins to become a dominant figure on the national political scene, she served as the first female governor of Alaska and was the first woman nominated for Vice President from the Republican Party. Her memoir, Going Rogue, was recently released.

    Is she controversial? Absolutely, but she’s also the hottest new speaker in years to hit the professional speakers circuit.

    In late September, Palin was dubbed a “Facebook Phenom” who has used the social networking tool to share her unfiltered political views with a large audience. She trails only President Barack Obama as the most popular politician on the site. When Palin ended her Twitter feed after resigning as Alaska’s governor, again, she was second only to Obama.

    Her STAFDA appearance will be one week following the November 2010 elections.


  32. Tetsubo says:

    It’s all about the money. As someone else pointed out, this was about funneling money into her campaign coffers. I desperately hope this woman’s 15 minutes is up soon. I’m not a fan. In a tool related manner though, she is a wingnut.

  33. Rick says:

    Chuck, as you can see, posting this wasn’t the best of ideas for you. Folks just can’t control themselves.

    Ted, that showed a lack of maturity.

    Everyone that complained about the tea-bagger comment, stop being wusses. People can be and will be jerks.

    Saying you’re going to un-bookmark a site because a commenter was derogatory their comments shows you don’t have much of a spine.

    Geez, it’s just a blog…

    Chuck, I demand 20 blog postings of nothing but WOODWORKING tools as penance…. (^_~)

  34. paganwonder says:

    Her education level- yeah, a BA in journalism from the 6th school attended is a pretty impressive accomplishment. A Law degree from Harvard hardly holds up to that.

  35. TR says:

    To be fair, I first heard tea party members called teabaggers on a clip from Fox News. It was said by a tea party member holding up a tea bag. I laughed until I fell out of my chair. Then my own mother, while endorsing them, called them teabaggers.

    So yeah, it’s derogatory, but it can’t be THAT bad if some of their own supporters used it, albeit not knowing the other meaning.

    Now I’m done with that part, let’s get lock the thread and talk about bags for garden hoses.

  36. geeze you're brilliant says:


  37. Travis says:

    @kdp – Thanks for the extra context. Knowing about previous STAFDA keynote speakers helps me see this in a different light.

    Back to the original post – Where I think the boat was missed is in not researching the event’s prior keynote speakers. Sara Palin is much less of a WTF choice in context with Stuart Varney, Chris Gardner and Colin Powell.

  38. Travis says:

    And to those of you who are so offended you’re deleting the bookmark or removing the RSS feed or whatever, let me just ask you this one question:

    Is it really the Toolmonger blog that has offended you, or are you offended by some of the follow-up comments (which Toolmonger does not control)?

  39. kythri says:

    Travis: Toolmonger DOES control the comments from the standpoint that they have the ability to turn them off/on or delete them.

    Further, I think what a lot of people have a problem with this situation is that they (and I include myself) are sick and tired of the half-witted political debates encroaching into every single aspect of their hobbies or entertainment.

    It always turns into a highly-charged argument that neither side is going to win, and it’s getting old. I’m not going to walk away from Toolmonger over this single incident, but if it happens again, I will. I’m here to read about tools, occasionally chat about tools. If I wanted to participate in political discourse, there’s plenty of websites out there that will provide the frontal lobotomy and allow me to. I can totally understand why several people have expressed their displeasure and stated their intent to not return.

    I get that the post wasn’t taking sides, and wasn’t specifically intended to be about any political issue, but unfortunately, by it’s nature, it’s going to aggravate people. Hopefully this instance shows that it’s better to just stay away from it all unless it directly affects the topic at hand (wrench-banning legislation or something…).

  40. Bob says:

    I think she is completely qualified for this.

    Who better to speak at a tool convention than a tool??

  41. Eddie says:

    I am sad to see so many crude and rude comments about Sarah Palin, it lowers my respect for the other posters here.

    As for why they would use Palin as a keynote, well it has already been aluded to. She is a good draw for an industry full of hardworking people who are generally her biggest supporters.

    Otherwise she is a popular speaker and will give a good speech, what else do you want from a keynote speaker?

  42. Hammerhead says:

    I’d rather watch a wrench speak.

    “She is a good draw for an industry full of hardworking people who are generally her biggest supporters. ”

    Unfortunate considering she’s a quitter.

    “what else do you want from a keynote speaker?”

    A brain?

  43. Phil says:

    The “teabagger” moniker came early on from their own members, countless copies of photos will attest to it. It was so typical of such naive folk to pick a term without knowing of it’s more puerile meanings, yet it stuck. Given the actions of some of the movement’s way-right wackier members, I feel the term is more than appropriate.

    This would be one convention that I would refuse to attend despite having an interest in the core reasons for it, simply because of the inappropriate choice of guest speaker. I don’t like to see such an event politicized by either major party. It has no place other than to appeal to a subset of attendees, and does not a damn thing to promote the products and services otherwise found at the convention! In fact, there’s a good chance that a fair amount of people will be driven away simply because of this situation.

    “How’s that power drilly thing working for you guys?”

    As for the people so quick to purge their bookmarks over the “teabagger” comments in the replies, thanks for helping to clean this place up of prudes, reactionaries, false outrage and self righteousness.

  44. Bill Yanneck says:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, each and every one of you!

    It’s 3:20 AM and now I’ll never get any sleep tonight.

    How could I with my face hurting so much from grinning!

    Oh…the images running through my mind, the Ridgid pipe wrench, the pin up calendar and the two-headed calf.

    The agony…

  45. bidwell says:

    I would totally pay money to see Ron Swanson talk tools.

  46. russ says:

    Now alot more people know about STAFDA that didn’t before. Great post!

  47. Chris says:

    That is unbelievable given how expensive her speaking fee is. Don’t see how they could justify the expense. Thanks for pointing this out.

  48. apotheosis says:

    Too bad about the site devolving into another smug political cesspool.

    It was fun while it lasted. See ya.

  49. Chuck Cage says:

    That’s it. I agree that politics shouldn’t be a part of tool stuff. But since you pointed that out in a post, I’m outta here.

    …Oh wait. I work here.