A skimming of our archives will show that I in fact supported the nomination of Gov. Palin as Sen. McCain's running mate from a political perspective. Since then, I've readily admitted that I was probably wrong. Sen. McCain's selection of her -- and my subsequent, almost immediate support -- evince poor judgment on both our parts.
I have, in the months following the election as I've observed Palin, made a few comments in this corner of the blogosphere that have been highly critical of Palin and those people who afford her such idiotic devotion.
Here is one final take on the governor in the wake of her announcement that she is resigning the governorship of Alaska.
If Sarah Palin really considers herself a serious contender for national office, she would have remained in the governorship and made a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. That much is clear. I understand her resignation if she has personal or family issues to which she must attend -- and let me say that if such is her reason for resigning, I applaud her -- but she will not win the Republican nomination in 2012 with just two years of governorship experience under her belt. There's no way.
Another, more crucial point: I do not count myself among those people who believe she has been mistreated by the national press. If you step onto the national stage, you had better know what you're getting into. Yes, left-wing moonbats like Maureen Dowd, Daily Kos devotees or certain columnists at Huffington Post have criticized Palin and particularly her family in ways that have stepped over the line. To attack the woman's family and make it the focus of media coverage, instead of the candidate, is a cardinal sin and an inexcusable derogation of one's duty as a member of the media.
But Palin and her supporters have used the unfair treatment from the far left as an excuse for her unfathomably poor performance with the rest of the media.
Do not confuse tough questioning with abject hatred.
There were two turning points for me. The first was the Charlie Gibson interview where Palin had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was. This, of course, to those of us who had not been living in Alaska, was President Bush's declaration that the United States would preemptively strike any country that it believed was a threat to America's national security, or even that provided safe harbor to terrorists. In the wake of the last half-decade's events in Iraq, I was genuinely curious as to whether Palin subscribed to that theory. Whether Gibson was actually trying to trick her is irrelevant -- journalists are more than entitled to test an interviewee's knowledge, especially when she is a candidate for the vice-presidency of the United States! The Bush Doctrine has already made its way into the history books. It's fair game.
The second turning point was during the Katie Couric interview, when lobbed a softball by the CBS host. During a certain line of questioning, Couric appeared to toss her an easy one, and simply asked what magazines or newspapers she read to stay informed on the world's events. I thought this was a very good question, especially given Palin's remoteness from the Beltway up in Alaska. Every serious candidate for national office reads, right?
My response would have included, first of course, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, and occasionally, Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. I also would have noted that I flip between all three cable news networks, favoring none, but my favorite cable news show is Hardball with Chris Matthews. My favorite political analysts are Matthews, Joe Scarborough and Chuck Todd at MSNBC, David Gergen and Fareed Zakaria at CNN, Brit Hume and Dick Morris at FOX News, and Michael Barone. My favorite print columnists are George Will and David Brooks.
And, let's be clear, during that time, I was a third-year law student.
"Well ... all of them."
Palin's stammering response indicated to me that she didn't give a crap about reading the news or becoming informed on national or world events. If she took the time to learn and actually pick up a newspaper or magazine, she would have been excited to reveal her sources to Couric. I'm sorry. There is no excuse for not having one single answer to a question like that.
I would have loved -- LOVED -- to have seen Palin sit down for an interview with Tim Russert. There is no doubt she would have stumbled and stammered and peppered her answers with "tax cuts," and thereafter spoken of Russert's desire to take her down in flames.
Like many others, I do believe that the national press on the whole harbors a liberal bias. If you don't agree with this sentiment, as I've noted before, it's probably time to flip off "Countdown" and put down your copy of The Nation. However, virtually every other Republican candidate for national office has dealt with the exact same bias as Palin encountered. Even George W. Bush, as much as Washington outsider as Palin, handled the tough questioning with grace and as best he could. Although he didn't seem to have many allies in the national press corps, he did not attack them and blame antagonistic reporters for his shortcomings.
For this, he deserves credit.
I have written here before that Sarah Palin appeals to the lowest common denominator in the Republican Party -- a group that thinks the answer to every problem is tax cuts; Rush Limbaugh devotees who suspect Barack Obama has come to take away their guns and impose a Muslim theocracy on the United States; a group bereft of ideas, who can do nothing more than stomp their feet and shout "no" in response to every administration initiative.
Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most about Palin is that she actually seems proud of the fact that she is derided as a know-nothing by the political establishment. She seizes on this criticism and turns it into applause lines. To me, that's ridiculous. I don't want a leader who is effectively laughing at the notion of an educated, informed mind.
I am no supporter of President Obama's policies on the whole, but he has proven himself to be a minimally competent, reasonably thoughtful chief executive. Even though I fundamentally disagree with most of the the president's initiatives, I cannot imagine voting against him in 2012 if Sarah Palin somehow secures the Republican nomination.