The Collective
Friday, September 26, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I thought that Palin’s performance with Couric (noted, with clips, here and here) was pretty bad. I expected that her critics would point that out, as they have, but I did not expect that many of her recent fans would likewise have a negative reaction.

Here are a few.

Rod Dreher, who had been a supporter of the Palin pick, after the Couric interview:

Couric’s questions are straightforward and responsible. Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin’s just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero.

Kathleen Parker in National Reivew Online is calling for Palin to step down from the ticket for the good of her country:

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

Even K-Lo (also of NRO) concedes:

I’m not where my friend Kathleen Parker is — wanting her to step aside to spend more time with her family and Alaska — but that’s not a crazy suggestion. She’s right to say that something’s gotta change.

Ross Douthat, who suggested Palin as a pick self-admonishes:

And that, Douthat, is why nobody’s ever going to hire you to help pick their running mate.

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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |
The views expressed in the comments are the sole responsibility of the person leaving those comments. They do not reflect the opinion of the author of PoliBlog, nor have they been vetted by the author.


  1. I agree Palin did terrible. Reminds me of the time FDR got on tv to ease fears about the depression or was it clean coal in PA? Her handlers made a mistake in not letting her be herself. Palin has already had the effect of bringing the base and many Hillary democrats on board. As long as she doesn’t make a major gaff in the coming days, no harm was done.

    The debate will be more telling. That should be interesting a novice against a seasoned guy with a serious case of “foot-in-mouth” disease.

    Comment by devildog666 — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  2. I have to wonder: how would we know what Paling being “herself” looks like? We have no baseline against which to judge, do we?

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  3. You can see Palin is being fed stock answers from the McCain campaign. She needs to be able to give her opinions in her own way even if they differ from McCain’s in some aspects. No one expects 100% agreement except for her opposition.

    You keep saying we have no basis to judge her, but it isn’t true unless you live in a vacuum. She has a well documented track record from the time she was in high school till she became governor of Alaska. Video, governance, newspaper articles, speeches etc., etc., etc., certainly we know more about her than we do about Obama. People compare her to Obama because Biden is a non factor. Biden, when he takes his foot out of his mouth, has historically been wrong on most stands he took.

    In the final analysis Palin got people to look at McCain again and the majority vote based on the top of the ticket. Palin has the edge on “foot-in-mouth” if your voting on the number two spot.

    Comment by devildog666 — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 10:15 am

  4. You are correct, there is some material to use to judge, just not very much.

    Based on what I have seen from Alaska, her performances in these interviews are not that radically different than the “real” Palin–although I still do not think we have enough data to make much of a judgment. The main difference being that she doesn’t have any real opinions on many of these issues–and that’s the problem.

    The bottom line is that most people have based their views on Palin in terms of what they wanted to see in her at the convention speech. They convinced themselves that they saw greatness or the future of the GOP. Heck, more than one person, including commenters on this blog hailed her as the new Reagan. The bottom line is that all of those impressions were based were a combo of scant evidence and hope.

    To imagine that there is a “real” Sarah Palin out there who will emerge, if just allowed to do so, is, I think, wishful thinking at best.

    Is there some evidence out there that I am missing? (and I ask in all seriousness).

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  5. Yes, I believe she has demonstrated a belief in traditional American values. She’s demonstrated more of you mind your business and I’ll mind mine attitude which is typical for Alaskans. I think she will be cool under fire. Have you ever been in the woods with a wounded bull moose, or a bear, or a pack of hungry wolves? She has and I have. It’s dangerous out there if you can’t keep your cool. She’s handled not only the Alaskan wolves, but the MSM vultures without losing her composure. I think she seek advice from multiple experts for what she doesn’t know and formulate a rational response to problems she may encounter. She won’t shoot from the hip.

    Comment by devildog666 — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  6. She’s demonstrated more of you mind your business and I’ll mind mine attitude which is typical for Alaskans.

    If this is really her approach to governance, why did she make an argument that the credit market bailout bill needs to include government expansion programs in job creation and health insurance provisions? Tacking all of those things on to the bailout bill is a “big government” sort of move.

    I think she will be cool under fire.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “cool,” but in a softball interview on national TV she clearly showed that she has little grasp of pressing policy issues facing the country. We have had 8 years of rule-by-idiot. Palin actually would lower the bar even further.

    Have you ever been in the woods with a wounded bull moose, or a bear, or a pack of hungry wolves? She has and I have.

    More power to you and the Hockey Mom–if Al Quaeda invades Alaska riding a team of caribou setting packs of wolves on a terrorized populace, we’ll give you & Swimsuit Sarah a call.

    Comment by Ratoe — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  7. This ain’t my first rodeo–been around a long time. I was a little girl towards the end of WWII, and I heard the name of “Truman” AFTER the death of FDR. I remember adults around me saying “Harry who?”. OMG! He sold stuff in a haberdashery before he got into politics–who made him vice president,anyway?! Well, it turned out he became one of our greatest presidents–just a main street guy who wore glasses and a bow tie who struggled his way up the ladder and was picked to be a vice presidential candidate by a great president WHO KNEW HE WAS DYING, and we were still locked in a deadly war that was taking far more lives than the one were are currently engaged in (and every life given in our country’s defense is greatly mourned).
    My point is, FDR was a dying,sitting president who chose a seemingly insignificant individual to succeed him, which indicates he must have seen something, or felt something in the character of Truman that made him feel this was the right choice. Turns out he was right about this common sense,small town,ordinary,locally educated man of few, but sensible words. But then–this was before news organizations, and politically slanted so-called journalists had the ability to so flood the airways towards the candidate of their choice–and pick sound bites out of context–to influence candidate choices by the voters.
    Sarah Palin may not interview well, and she may not be a lawyer or historian or graduated from an ivy league school, but those things may not prevent her from being a good and effective servant of these United States. SOMETHING in her has gotten her to this place in history–whatever it is, I say let it play out. This country has survived worse than someone who doesn’t interview well. Remember Truman, and how many people who thought Reagan was some kind of goofy actor gone awry. Just my opinion. By the way–being 70 does NOT mean one is going senile or is ready to shake off these mortal coils tomorrow! I feel pretty damn good AND I can still find my shoes in the morning!

    Ann Townsend

    Comment by ann townsend — Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

  8. To Ann

    Excellent! Exactly what I wanted to say. Dr. Steve seems doesn’t understand Sarah Palin because he is tone deaf. I thought her interviews were terrible but then I thought, hmmm, here is a woman who less than 2 months ago was completely in her element, had a new baby AND a son going off to war AND a daughter who is pregnant. Then she is whisked away from home, interviewed for an incredibly important job with a man she obviously admires and shares the same values with, and is given the job of rescuing his campaign and the GOP party in one of the most important elections to American, perhaps in the last 100 years.

    Dr. Steve thinks that because he doesn’t see a deep enough track record, that there is no track record. This is wrong. She is someone who “gets it” in that she works for the people. She is very much like Teddy Roosevelt, whose speeches on Americanism should be taught in every school. She understands what an American is, and how they think, and what they really want. Not the socialism of the media elites. Not the Marxism of the New York intellectuals.

    I remember when men thought a woman couldn’t hold a high level job because they had monthly cramps. I remember when men thought women would spend too much time on hair and make up to be able to do a real job. I remember when men thought a woman wouldn’t/couldn’t be tough enough. However, it is the metrosexual, new age, touchy feely Obama who won’t be tough enough. He is still calling for time limits in Iraq. He still thinks reducing the number of his own spending plans is the same as SAVING money. He has no idea how to cut programs because there is no program he would consider unimportant.

    Stop holding Sarah Palin to a level that isn’t being held for Obama. Kathleen Parker is wrong. She is tainted by her own pseudo intellectualism. Rich Lowery was made editor of National Review but honestly, does anyone think he is Wm. F. Buckley? No. He doesn’t have the raw talent, or the raw courage, or that special something that uses wit to point out the obvious. Sarah Palin has raw talent and raw courage. It is the right of center that will damage her the most because they want to check her spelling scores and syntax while ignoring the message. The people get the message.

    Comment by Ohio Granny — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 6:50 am

  9. Ann-

    Three comments:

    First, John McCain is no FDR.

    Second, Truman was a US Senator for 10 years and had spent significant amounts of time abroad.

    Third, Truman was a mass murderer of epic proportions, so I wouldn’t necessarily elevate that kind of “common sense.”

    Comment by Ratoe — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  10. Ohio Granny,

    My objections to Palin have never been solely based on here resume. Palin’s resume was objectionable because it suggested that she had not had sufficient experience to have a working knowledge of foreign and domestic policy and that she was not ready for as hefty a job as president (and to be veep one has to be ready to be president).

    My resume-based objections have been born out to date, as 1) she has not demonstrated much of anything in terms of knowledge about the key issues of the day, and 2) the very fact that the McCain campaign is tightly controlling her appearance confirm that they do not think that she is ready to answer these questions.

    She is very much like Teddy Roosevelt,

    Based on what? Because she hunts moose?

    I remember when men thought a woman couldn’t hold a high level job because they had monthly cramps. I remember when men thought women would spend too much time on hair and make up to be able to do a real job.

    My objections to Palin have exactly zero to with her gender.

    Stop holding Sarah Palin to a level that isn’t being held for Obama.

    If Barack Obama was only willing to be questioned in a controlled environment, and then only a few times a month, he never would have been nominated, and I can assure you that if by some bizarre process he was nominated and acted like Palin, and was only able to answer question in Palin’s mode, trust me, I would be rather critical of Obama (and probably would be writing about how the Democrats had lost their minds and how they were poised to lose to election).

    I honestly don’t understand how one can watch Palin in these interviews and then say to themselves “this is a woman ready to president.”

    And in re: Truman, all I can say is (to add to the fact that served a decade in the Senate): I expect he could have intelligently maneuvered an interview and leave it at that.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  11. umm….

    it’s pretty simple. republicans at this point are hoping against hope that the choice of palin is not a complete disaster. she might be a truman, true, and she might be a lincoln or a washington or a female moses. any of these are possible. but to put that kind of confidence in her when the mccain team clearly has virtually no confidence in her ability to handle a few questions (biden has had 100 + interviews with the media since being chosen by obama)is but simple wishful thinking. and, if her side wins, i’ll be right there by them, wishing that the nation did not just make its worst decision since, what, 1920?

    Comment by mbailey — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  12. hoping against hope that the choice of palin is not a complete disaster

    I think that that pretty much sums it up.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 11:41 am

  13. To Ratoe:
    Go into the Truman bio section of the Truman Library. Yes, he took office as a senator in 1935 for his first senatorial term with the backing of the Pendergast machine because they couldn’t agree on a choice of who to run and figured Harry couldn’t do them any harm(he’d been a judge prior). But Pendergast was dead in 1940 and he had a tough time, having little backing or funds but did win. He was in charge of looking for waste and fraud on military bases and spending, and did a good job. When FDR (who was not liked by all Americans necessarily)was elected, Harry Truman met w/him just once before he died–a few weeks later. He had no idea of the plans and progress of the atom bomb until after being sworn in.
    However old you are, your knowledge of history should tell you that both sides had lost thousands of men. Truman DID reach out to the Japanese and try to convince them to stop the fight. If you know anything of the code of Bushido, you know they were, as the terrorists of today, willing to die to the last man and woman and child rather than surrender, which was dishonor to them. It took 2 bombs to make their leaders understand that they HAD to surrender–when it should have taken none, since they were really losing. And if you think that a man like Truman, who had been in WWI and saw the combat, which was truly brutal,really wanted to decimate and kill thousands and feel nothing–then I feel sorry for you. I was a little girl, but I remember the sense of stunned disbelief comming from the adults–not joy–just stunned disbelief, that one weapon in our hands had that kind of awesome power. And my father saying, “God help us all.”
    Also, no Senator during the war was doing much traveling of the world and meeting world leaders—it was a WORLD WAR! That meant they were bombing and shooting ALL OVER–and not too far off our coasts! He did his traveling after the war, when he was the President.
    I am, in fact an independent–party affiliation is not my thing. I try to stay objective and will vote for the candidate based on all the research I can do to inform myself. I have found that a good orator does not necessarily a good administrater make. And I do try not to judge on emotion, and I do not believe in personal attacks on either side. There are good points to be found in each.
    Your use of the term “mass murderer” in the context you used it makes my mind go back to the end of the Vietnam war and the AWFUL treatment of our men coming back. My first husband put in 3 tours and my now husband put in 2 tours. Both were career military. My first husband was in his 30’s and I was at home with 6 young children. YOU have no idea what those times were like. Please choose your words more carefully, and try to be a bit more objective, and understand we all have our own opinions, but do not have to demean another’s in order to make our point. Thank you.

    Ann Townsend

    Comment by ann townsend — Sunday, September 28, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  14. [...] will be how harshly conservative commentators criticize her performance. If there are any more Kathleen Parkers after tonight, one will know it was a [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Palin-Biden Day — Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @ 7:05 am

  15. To Ann Townsend and Ohio Granny:

    I’m sure that my saying that time on this planet does not necessarily make one wise does not come as news to you.

    I am also fairly confident that you understand that the political and diplomatic environment has changed significantly since WW II.

    So while I’m pretty sure you’ll be put-off by what I am about to say, I hope that you will appreciate the spirit in which it is offered.

    Ann… comparing McCain to FDR and Palin to Truman? Are you serious?

    Of Palin you say: “SOMETHING in her has gotten her to this place in history…” Yeah… it’s called luck. Or convenience. Or desperation.

    You can not honestly look at her credentials, when compared to others on McCain’s short list (other women included) and decry Palin the most qualified of the lot. To do so is pure delusion.

    At least Devildog admits his/her support comes from their shared desire to kill animals for sport.

    It took Palin what, 5 different colleges before she graduated with the much sought-after degree of Sports Journalist?

    Let me be clear about her degree; I couldn’t care less where she went to school or what she majored in.

    Here is why her round-about route to a Bachelor’s Degree is important to me when compared with Obama’s earning of a Law Degree: Palin’s path shows little ambition, dedication or willingness to fight through to the end. It exemplifies indecision, an inability to focus and a final decision based on ego and money.

    And before you begin a rant on the financial rewards of being a Lawyer, I suggest you research Mr. Obama’s career after Law School.

    Ohio Granny~

    You deemed Ann’s response “excellent!” And while you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I feel a need to question your reasoning.

    You seem to want me to be excited about a candidate who was suddenly “whisked away from home”. Away from her newborn son, pregnant daughter and war-bound older son. Whisked away? Really? Is that the woman who I am expected to consider as the next potential POTUS? This is the person, who in your own words is expected to “rescue the GOP”?

    To steal a line from your side: If Palin was a man, would she have been “whisked away” from her family? Or would he have “answered the call”?

    You, Granny make some of the most sexist comments I’ve seen so far in relation to Palin’s candidacy. You talk about remembering when women were discriminated against for silly reasons like their menstrual cycle and a fear of vanity.

    My disdain for Sarah Palin has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. It has to do with the fact that she is supremely under-qualified for the job she has been asked to perform.

    Your comments about Obama’s so-called touchy-feely-ness and perceived inability to effect real change to me only show that you haven’t spent the time to actually investigate the policies of the candidates.

    I’m guessing you get most of your news from one or two sources. Possibly three. Conservative print, FoxNews and the Church.

    I myself endevour to probe every niche of the news media. I watch the right-wing blowhards as well as those on the left. I read newspapers and blogs from the UK and Europe. I’ve actually spent hours on both Obama’s website and McCain’s.

    Doing so gives one an insight into their actual policies.

    And what I have found is that while McCain lies with impunity on the campaign trail, the most I’ve seen from Obama is mere exageration. Of the two, I’ll take the latter.

    You say the “people” will get Palin’s “message”. What message are you refering to? The one that says she is clueless on foreign affairs (a key component in any Vice Presidency)? Or the one that says she is totally intolerant of those who hold different ideological and religious views? Or is it the message that says: “It doesn’t matter what I say, as long as I look good and pull some undecided voters to our side”?

    Which is why she was chosen in the first place.

    And back to Ann:

    Suddely Truman isn’t a haberdasher who got lucky. Now you admit to his 10 years in the Senate - albeit you want to minimize how he got there.

    Which is a pointless arguement, since we’ve already noticed that the Truman/Palin comparison is utter BS.

    You and granny both want to buy into the McCain/Palin rhetoric… I don’t blame you. They talk a good game. Unfortunately, the John McCain of 2000 is gone. The one we are saddled with now is different. The new one is a “win at all cost” politician. He will do and say anything in this last-ditch effort to become President.

    The Maverick straight-talker is gone. Replaced by a GOP automoton who truly WILL bring us 4 more years of Bush BS if elected.

    Check the facts. Read the policies and compare them to the speeches. If you actually do so, Obama is the clear winner. His rhetoric matches his words.

    McCain’s doesn’t

    I too am an Independent. Have been for 20 years.

    McCain is bald-faced lying to the American people. Many of whom let him get away with it under the context of this new brand of Bushite, BS “patriotism”.

    Fear should not be a domestic political tool - yet they have sharpened it to a razor’s edge.

    Why do you suppose that is?

    Comment by CowboyGP — Thursday, October 2, 2008 @ 2:49 am

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