I think we can probably bid goodbye to Sarah Palin‘s presidential possibilities.
10 angry minutes into last night’s live interview with Sean Hannity it was abundantly clear that Palin had not devoted any part the last eight days to even the tiniest bit of introspection about where she fits in the national landscape.
Nor does she have any interest in speaking to constituents outside her small fervent base — arguably the most basic requirement of anyone running for national office.
Naturally, everything that has happened to her in the last eight days was the fault of the “lamestream” media (yes, she used the term).
It was, to say the least, a disappointing showing. Because even if you don’t agree with her political platforms there is always the hope that at some point she will display a depth worthy of all the attention she has received in the last two years.
The Palin that showed up last night, however, was typically both angry and victimized. But also, for the first time maybe, scared. This was no smirking former governor contemptuously brushing aside criticism, this appeared to be a woman shook to the core (and understandably so) after being widely associated with a mass murder.
Alas, for Palin that core-shaking has apparently not lead her to any greater conclusions about herself or the nation.
Despite her few protestations that we should keep in mind this wasn’t about Palin, it was of course about Palin: She will not be made to sit down. She will not be silenced.
The problem of course is that what one wants to see from their leaders in moments such as these is a person who will stand up to the occasion, and who will speak up to the entire nation. Not someone who cowers behind Facebook videos and holds fast to their base whilst attacking everyone else.
Perhaps more troublesome — at least where her political ambitions are concerned — is that she seems to have entirely missed the subtle (admittedly probably temporary) national shift that took place last week where the country turned, just a little bit, away from the exhausting hateful rhetoric.
Roger Ailes didn’t miss it — he at least gave it lip service. Glenn Beck didn’t miss it — he’s sent out some ridiculous non-violent letter to Congress and has called on his viewers to reject partisanship. Obama certainly didn’t miss it. Even Congress is making the superficial gesture of sitting together at the State of the Union.
But Sarah Palin has. In the last eight days she has apparently failed to take the temperature of the nation outside her base. And subsequently she has missed her opportunity to prove that she is bigger than the moment. Or seriousness enough to deal with serious events.
Look no further than the third segment of the interview when the subject of ‘blood libel’ came up.
Presumably this is a question she should have anticipated. But not since Palin’s infamous interview with Katie Couric can I remember seeing her so out of her depth. And flustered!
I don’t know how the heck they would or wouldn’t know if I knew the term blood libel — no one’s ever asked me. Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. In this case, that’s exactly what was going on. And yes the historical knowledge that people have of the term blood libel it goes back to the Jewish who were falsely accused back in medieval European times of using the blood of children…
Then she left off and tried to segue to policies like START. But Hannity, to his credit and to Palin’s discomfort did not let it go. And that is worth noting because I got the sense even Sean Hannity was not willing to make this too easy on Palin. Hannity: “But what did you think about the criticism of the term from some members of the Jewish community?”
I think the critics again were using anything they could gather out of that statement and you could [some stumbling here] spin up anything out of anyone’s statement that were released and use them against the person that is using the statement….and people being falsely accused of having blood on their hands that is what blood libel means [not really]. And just two days before, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal had that term in its title. And that term has been used for eons.
Indeed. Now try to imagine her answering that question to a slightly less sympathetic interviewer. Whether or not Palin was justified in using the term — and a number of people including Alan Dershowitz has said she was — a nod to the fact many people, including prominent Jewish groups, found it entirely offensive would not have been out of line. But no. To Palin admitting wrong is the equivalent of admitting defeat.
Video below. Expect to hear a lot more from (up-till-now timid) GOP presidential hopefuls in the coming weeks because not one of them saw that interview last night as anything but a huge opening.
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