Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where has Sarah's confidence gone?

I agree that the Katie Couric interview was painful to watch. Sarah Palin didn't seem like the same person - not just compared to her convention speech but, more importantly, compared to her early pre-nomination interviews and appearances. For example, I watched her 2006 gubernatorial debate on C-Span, and she was confident, smart, poised, and articulate - similar to the convention speech, and very different from the Couric interview.

So, what happened? The media spin is:

Has the McCain Campaign Broken Palin?

Chris Orr in the New Republic:
I'm reminded of the situation you see every now and then in sports, when a talented athlete--which, conveniently enough, Palin was--gets a taste of heavy duty coaching and, rather than being built up, is broken down, losing confidence in his game, becoming tentative, second-guessing himself even to the point of paralysis. I don't know whether that's what's happened to Sarah Palin. But from where I sit, it sure looks like it.
Or - have the media broken Palin? Imagine being on the receiving end of the vicious media juggernaut. Imagine being told day in and day out that you are stupid, unprepared, unqualified, a moron, etc. Imagine having no experience with such slime and criticism. It might throw anyone briefly off his or her game. But - the kitchen comes with the heat.

I don't feel anyone's broken Palin, although I do believe the McCain campaign should have let her immediately start doing interviews and fielding questions - the more you do it, the more comfortable you get with the process. I believe she's getting a feel for the style of the national press corps. She was far from her best with Couric, to put it mildly.

But, largely due to the strength of her past debate and interview appearances, I do not take it as a sign that she is a disaster, lacking intelligence, should step down immediately, etc. She seems a bit defensive and like the media have knocked her off her game. I'm thinking she'll revert to past debate-interview form. Clearly, it needs to happen soon. She can't pull a Favre and throw an interception in the last few seconds of the Super Bowl. The upcoming VP debate is show time. That's why the McCain camp should have been putting the last few weeks to better use by letting her deal with the national press.

Watch the 2006 debate for yourself:

The media are giving Palin zero margin for error, a standard that they do not hold over anyone else's heads, especially not Joe Biden.

Or Barack Obama - remember when Obama gave a rambling nonsensical speech in Milwaukee in which he linked the Virginia Tech massacre to a culture of violence that included job outsourcing and Don Imus?

Remember when he said there were 57 states in the U.S.?

Here's a run down, and this was just through May.

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