By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What Palin might have said

Sarah Palin’s re-take on what papers she reads and what Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with reveals, among other things, the ineptitude of her handlers. Palin herself deserves most of the blame, of course. But to let her give answers to Fox’s Carl Cameron that sounded like brazen lies was pretty unforgivable.

Imagine, if you will, what the reaction would be if she’d said something like this:

You know, Carl, when Katie asked me those questions I was tired and irritable, and I guess I had something of a brain freeze. I apologize to Katie. Her questions were perfectly fair. And I should have answered them.

When I’m home, I read the Anchorage Daily News, of course. I have to. I am the governor, after all. And believe it or not, the AP makes it all the way up to Alaska, so there’s plenty of national and international news in there, too. Those East Coast liberals seem to think we’re cut off from the rest of the world. I do try to read some of the national papers on the Web, but I’m a pretty busy person, what with five kids and a state to run.

Not that I’m home much lately. Good thing for USA Today — it’s right there outside our hotel room every morning, and I try to flip through it between campaign stops. I catch Fox News and some CNN. I say thanks but no thanks when MSNBC comes on. I’ve got a subscription to National Review, but those back issues have a way of piling up.

As far as the Supreme Court goes, I don’t know the names of cases. Who does? But that decision about the Exxon Valdez outraged every resident of Alaska. And I don’t think they ought to be telling states they can’t execute child molesters, either.

But I’ve got to be honest. How long have I been at this? Five weeks? I’m not going to pretend that I follow the Supreme Court every day; I’ve got enough to do keeping an eye on the Alaska legislature. That will change if I become vice president.

If Palin had said something like this, who would not believe her? Cameron, instead of snickering, would be trashing the mainstream media for not taking Palin seriously.

I’m reminded of Bob Kerrey’s line that Bill Clinton was an unusually good liar. Among Palin’s many problems is that she comes off as an unusually bad liar. And her handlers are making it worse.

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  1. Al Toid

    Does this count as your application to be her speech writer, Dan? Surely you could put much better words in her mouth than she’s producing when she’s winging it.

  2. O-FISH-L

    Dan, at some point can you get to the dozen or more lies / false statements told by Joe Biden at Thursday’s debate? You know, the ones that if Sarah Palin had said them would have had you calling for her removal from the ticket, if not this Earth. I mean, I know it has only been two days and the media fact checkers are surely getting around to dropping the hammer on Biden, but when you get a chance it would be great to get your take. I’ll start you with five, with the help of, where they have “video evidence and citations from media or the Obama campaign’s own statements:”1)Biden Lied About Supporting ‘Clean Coal’.2) Biden Lied About Obama Not Supporting Hamas Election.3) Biden Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Gaza and the West Bank.4) Biden lied or misspoke multiple times when discussing Lebanon.5) Biden lied when claiming that Barack Obama never said he would meet unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.—Can’t wait for the MSM to get on this story! Or will they? To borrow a quote from Ted Kennedy, “Hello, hello?”

  3. Al Toid

    o-fish-l,I think the worst part about all of this from Gov. Palin’s perspective, is that she’s largely unknown and being cordoned off from the media. She clearly wasn’t vetted well — if at all — by Sen. McCain and his people. Add the little that’s none to her to the difficulty in getting questions put to her and answered, and you’re stuck with a situation where all of her words are being hyper-examined.Sen. Biden isn’t going through that largely because he is available and has been able to say that he’s misspoken or flubbed something. And when the press calls him on it, he talks to them.That can’t be said for Gov. Palin, because of the McCain campaign’s policy of press avoidance.Much of these problems probably would have gone away, if she had had press conferences, etc… since being nominated and accepting it.At the risk of not sounding diffident enough, this has been one of the worse stage managed campaigns in recent memory.-A

  4. Ani

    I remember watching a game show called “To Tell the Truth” as a kid — 2 of the guests were impostors, one the person they all claimed to be. The panelists questioning them had a chance to try to see through their lies and guess who was the real deal. Maybe instead of debates we could try such an approach.

  5. Dunwich

    Golly Katie, wasn’t that Dirty Harry movie about a SCOTUS ruling. Det.Callahan wasn’t allowed to beat information out of that bad man, he had to abide by Miranda v. Arizona?

  6. Michael Pahre

    In the response you suggest for Gov. Palin, you forgot to include her objection to the Supreme Court’s decision in an “imminent domain” case.

  7. Stella

    Palin, an obscure woman, is an insult to the citizens. McCain has to be of diminished capacity.

  8. Mark

    You read one too many Brian McGrory columns Dan… putting your liberal words in a conservative politicians mouth never makes any sense

  9. Tunder

    O-FishBoo-hoo, that bad bogeyman the “mainstream media.” Good God, the way you and others wave that over-used flag over and over again… Still haven’t heard anything about the decision to let that liberal elitist Gwen Ifill moderate the debate. Turns out she did a pretty crappy job, but all the crying and outrage before rings pretty hollow.

  10. O-FISH-L

    Tunder – Biden lied at least a dozen times and aside from an editorial in today’s NY Post, I haven’t seen a thing in the MSM. Facts are stubborn things. Call the MSM the bad boogeyman or whatever [you chose to call them names, not me], so long as you don’t call them fair.Neither Gwen Ifill’s performance during the debate, nor the polls prior to it have anything to do with her unethical decision to moderate while having a financial stake tethered to the outcome of the election. She didn’t belong there because of the book, period. I suspect she knew that and that’s why she knowingly concealed it from the Debate Commission. Sad.

  11. Nial Liszt

    *Still haven’t heard anything about the decision to let that liberal elitist Gwen Ifill moderate the debate. Turns out she did a pretty crappy job, but all the crying and outrage before rings pretty hollow.*For the level of interest in politics shown by those that hang out here, the depth of understanding of politicking is surprisingly shallow. To paraphrase the consumer warning: If a revelation during a campaign seems too coincidental, it probably isn’t. It’s not a coincidence that the Ifill book was mainstreamed an optimal two days before the VP debate. It was dimed by the McCain camp to Drudge, et al. The consultants on all sides are the top of their profession, think NFL, MLB, four-name law firms or Wall Street investment ban… well, strike that one. 99% of us here are dreaming that we could compete with them at their specialty.

  12. MeTheSheeple

    OFL: Biden lied at least a dozen times and aside from an editorial in today’s NY Post, I haven’t seen a thing in the MSM. Facts are stubborn things. Call the MSM the bad boogeyman or whatever [you chose to call them names, not me], so long as you don’t call them fair.I guess it’s easier not to see this sorta stuff if you don’t look very hard.A Google News search on (Biden Fact check) only turns up 4,276 hits at the moment. And I seem to recall a pretty sizable chunk of the Boston Globe’s deadline coverage included fact checking excerpts from the debate, research not necessarily easy to do late on a Thursday.Speaking of fair: I guess this is probably the point where you offer an apology as sweeping to the MSM as your earlier condemnation was. Unless, well, you don’t want the facts to get in your way.

  13. Ani

    re: “99% of us here are dreaming that we could compete with them at their specialty.”My starting point is that a better job at leading this country and picking those leaders could be done. Maybe the country as a whole is content with the way things basically are, the systems that are in place. I think intelligent outsiders can see how things could be improved, which is not at all the same thing as trying to do a better job at the game as it is being played now. Then there is the problem of co-option — even when people with new and better ideas get into positions from which they can implement them, the people seem to get bogged down.I really don’t think things will be improved by doing a better job at playing the current game — I think we need to find a way to do the work without the gamesmanship. And even if that sounds naive, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I worry that things like our current economic mess are the writing on the wall that if we insist on believing in fantasies proposed by ignorant people with dubious self- (and group)interests, we pay the price.If I had to put it succinctly, I’d say, “It’s the egos, people.”

  14. Tunder

    Can anyone define what the “mainstream media” is exactly? In all seriosuness, I get that you can find liberal bias in some papers/television stations. I also know that papers like the Boston Herald, Washington Times, even the Wall Street Journal tend to have a conservative bias. When conservatives rail against the “liberal elite meida” I try to figure out what media DO they want. Do they want it to be Fox News and the newspapers referred to above? Also, if the media is “mainstream”, doesn’t that suggest that I majority of the country turns to it instead of other sources.There has never been completely objective news sources so I don’t think that calling for true impartiality is possible.To me, the Republican Convention and the rantfest against the media (as well as Rush and others’ drumbeat against the media for years) has really pointed to a inherent weakness in the Right’s ability to focus on any kind of positive change. I don’t think people are buying it anymore and will tire of the matra sooner rather than later.

  15. Vox

    The ‘liberal media,’ like the ‘welfare mother’ of the 70s, or the ‘reds under the bed’ of the 50s is a straw man conservatives love to set up and knock down again, and again, and again. Eric Alterman, in his book, What Liberal Media, gets several conservative pundits to agree to as much.

  16. acf

    Imagine that, she has a subscription to National Review. Talk about dropping names, too bad she can’t bring herself to even read a magazine. At least George Bush’s handlers pretended he was reading serious tomes, aside from his thumbworn copy of the Angry Inch. Also, USAToday…now there’s a publication an alleged high level politician can’t be without. A real source of solid, in depth reporting.

  17. bostonmediawatch

    Sarah Palin combines the lessons of 1979 with the sincerity of an erect dick.

  18. mike_b1

    acf, come now. Sarah Palin has never heard of The National Review. After all, it’s not sold in the checkout aisle at the Piggly Wiggly.

  19. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: There are no Piggly Wigglys in Alaska.

  20. mike_b1

    I’m not surprised. It’s a real store, though. They are all over Wisconsin. Not that it would matter: Palin’s never been abroad.HAHAHAHAHA

  21. bostonmediawatch

    There are Piggy Wiggys in, for example, Kansas City, MO, where a meat sale consists of 5 cents off turkey necks.I was up in central NH yesterday, doing some door-knocking in the Manchester area. It’s pretty much like the first time I ever did it, in 1976.In 2004, I infiltrated a Bush door-knocking group, but I disappeared after an hour or so because they were so brainless and disgusting, and I knew NH would go for Kerry anyways.People in NH still love the attention from having the early primary, but mostly it’s older people who will let you into their house, much more so today than then. I was in a team with 2 other people; one was a woman who was about 35 and one was a guy who was about 45.Both of them had been involved in the NH Obama campaign since the primaries, and they were a little crusty and inflexible in the message they wanted to deliver. But they were both NH residents, so I needed to defer to them in any conversations we had with NH voters.We got inside 7 houses, which is pretty good for a day’s work, and these older people are half-pissed and half-scared to death of what is going to happen to them. Their financial advisors still had them too overweighted in stocks; one woman pulled out her statements and asked me what she should do.She’s living on Soc Sec and withdrawals from her retirement account, and her retirement account was down 30% of its value from the beginning of the year. I spent the next hour at her dining room table with her going over their options while her husband sat going over world affairs with my compatriots.These people feel not only screwed by Wall Street and the Government that it could happen so fast; they feel ABANDONED.Her huband said, “now I know how they felt like after that hurricane.”I told the field office I suck at door-knocking and phone-banking, but I’ll sign up to drive voters to the polls on election day in NH, PA, OH, CO, or any other battleground state on election day.

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