Archive for November 6th, 2008

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Why The McCain Camp Didn’t Want To “Free Sarah”

November 6, 2008

Hopefully, this will be the very last Chamber post about Sarah Palin….

The election is over, and Obama won, so I acknowledge that the subject matter around here should probably be covering things that involve looking ahead.  But I couldn’t help but be struck by some of the stories that are surfacing today about McCain’s choice of VP.  In short, the narrative goes that Sarah Palin is even more clueless than parodied by Tina Fey.

Before I link to that stuff, however, I’d like to revisit something I read right after Palin’s disastrous interview with Katie Couric:  Kathryn Jean Lopez: Free Sarah Palin! A plea for authenticity in the veepstakes

My guess — based on nothing but hope for a change — is that Sarah Palin just needs some freedom. I don’t know who is holding her back but if John McCain wants to win this thing it had better not be him and his staff. When I watch these interviews, I see a woman who looks like she’s stayed up all night studying and is trying to remember the jurisprudential chronology of privacy vis-a-vis reproduction, the war on terror, and public figures (add 12 more things, described in the most complicated way possible, to the list to be more accurate). She looks like a woman who’s been cramming talking points and great Matt Scully lines and Mark Salter-McCain war stories and Steve Schmidt marching orders into her head since that first plane ride from Alaska. She looks like a woman who has ceased being the confident, successful executive who got herself elected governor of Alaska without the full force of her party behind her and managed to have an approval rating of which most can’t even dream.

Starting with the Gibson interview, it sure did seem like Palin was simply regurgitating talking points that someone had crammed into her head.  Much of the rhetoric didn’t have anything to do with the question that was being asked.  Like Lopez, I thought that she was being “handled” because the McCain camp wanted to be certain that she stuck to the officially approved talking points.  There were some cringe-worthy parts, sure (like the “Bush Doctrine” thing), but I didn’t really think that she was exceedingly ignorant.

As the weeks passed, however, there were certain statements that Palin made that made me think that she just might be breathtakingly clueless.  One of the most notable was something that I didn’t take the time to mention here in the Chamber (opting instead to roam to other blogs that had brought it up), which was the fact that Palin didn’t seem to understand the meaning of “negative campaigning” and, even more concerning, the First Amendment:

 “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

That’s enough to give someone the ol’ dolor de cabeza. 

And now, with McCain’s succession, the campaign insiders apparently can’t contain their frustration with Palin any longer.  Just get a load of this:

Could it be that Palin was given a list of talking points to cover any and all interview questions simply because the alternative was worse?   Sounds pretty likely, all things considered.  It isn’t hard to imagine the staffers running through trial interviews with her behind the scenes, having a huddle, and coming back to her with a little “Um… yea.  On second thought, just read this.”  If she refused the help, it would make sense that the Couric interview was a hodgepodge of the talking points, cluelessness, and of course, plenty of “also”.

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Update: For those who like to roam to other blogs discussing the subject, here’s the memeorandum link.

UpdateAs the world turns…The leaks from the anonymous McCain staffers have been flowing for the last few days now, and naturally, pro-McCain blogs like Hot Air are wondering aloud why the heck The Maverick isn’t jumping in to defend his VP pick.

Update (11/12):  Amazing.  Palin still hasn’t looked up the definition of “negative campaigning”:

BLITZER: So looking back, you don’t regret that tough language during the campaign?

PALIN: No, and I do not think that it is off-base nor mean-spirited, nor negative campaigning to call someone out on their associations and on their record. And that’s why I did it.