I really like Mark's "empathetic -in'" in place of "g-dropping," though it may require a public campaign to make the substitution. Just by way of a footnote to that post, I did a "Fresh Air" piece on accent and authenticity last week which ended with some comments on the development of Palin's g-dropping (with video clips) and concluded she has learned over the years to do it in roughly the same sorts of contexts that Obama does. Here's the last part of that piece:
As a part of our moral slang, authentic is laced with condescension. It usually implies quaintness or local color — it's a word we use for creole cooking, not haute cuisine. And when people talk about authentic accents they're not thinking of the way people speak on the TV news or middle-class suburbs, but of the speech in places like South Philly and Fargo, not to mention Hot Springs, Arkansas and Wasilla. Nobody would ask whether Brian Williams's accent is authentic– actually a lot of people would say he doesn't have an accent at all. (When I hear someone described as having no accent, I think of those pinkish Crayola crayons we used to have that were labeled "flesh.")
So like Bill Clinton, Palin can signal authenticity simply by refashioning her original accent, rather than acquiring a new one. You can actually hear how this developed if you pull up the Youtube video of Palin as a 24-year-old Anchorage sportscaster fresh from her broadcasting classes in college. She wasn't in control of her accent back then: she scattered the desk with dropped g's: "Purdue was killin' Michigan"; "Look what they're doin' to Chicago."
It's strikingly different from the way she talks now in her public appearances, not just because she's much more poised, but because she's learned how to work it. When she talks about policy, her g's are decorously in place — she never says "reducin' taxes" or "cuttin' spendin.'"
But the g's disappear when she speaks on behalf of ordinary Americans — "Americans are cravin' something different" or "People… are hurtin' 'cause the economy is hurtin'." It's of a piece with the you betchas, doggones and the other effusions that are meant to signal spontaneous candor.
Now there are clearly a lot of people who find this engaging, but I can't imagine that anybody really supposes it's artless. What it is is a stone-washed impersonation of a Mat-Su Valley girl. I wouldn't be surprised if Palin and her friends perfected this way back in high school. There's no group that's so unselfconscious that its members don't get a kick out of parodying their own speech: most Brooklynites do a very creditable Brooklyn, and every Valley girl can do a dead-on Valley girl. And with all credit to Tina Fey, she wouldn't be so brilliant at doing Sarah Palin if Sarah Palin weren't so good at doing herself.