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Bristol Palin fails in a monkey suit on Dancing with the Stars

If there's one thing you can say for

Dancing with the Stars

, besides that it's easily the campiest show in prime-time, it's that the show has an excellent track record of showcasing Republicans being voluntarily ridiculous. Why, it was just last year that

Tom DeLay was onstage

looking like a gastronomically afflicted Dick Van Dyke in a candy-striped monkey suit, giving the world one of the most awkward performances since Ed Sullivan was the host of anything. Last night, Bristol Palin upped the ante by appearing in an actual monkey suit.

"If I have to look like a clown in this jive to show the judges that I'm having fun," she said before the number, "that's just what I'm going to do." In at least one respect, she succeeded.

Dancing-wise, she was less successful, employing the old "stumbling-around-and-lacking-any-sense-of-rhythm" trick to ill effect. In all fairness, though, Palin is much less scary than DeLay, whose robotic approximation of ass-shaking was about as sexy as a half-inflated blowup doll. The point is, whatever grace Palin lacks on the twinkle-toes, she at least makes up for in being approachable and actually kind of funny; she really seems like a sweet kid. DeLay, on the other hand, remained menacing. It was just that, after the dancing, he seemed both menacing and gross.

According to the judges, Palin's main challenge, aside from developing some technical proficiency, is to loosen up -- hence the monkey costume. Maybe she could solicit her mother for suggestions -- that woman knows how to relax.

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