Last week, I watched Game Change clips on YouTube, which lead to a re-watching Steve Schmidt’s 60 Minutes interview about the McCain/Palin campaign. I’m mostly Republican in my views, but after reviewing all that the video, I have to admit-Sarah Palin is kind of train wreck who has invited a lot of scorn on the Republican party, in the same way that George W. Bush did by being an insular President.
Don’t get me wrong: I still think Palin is a great Republican spokesperson and I’ve heard a lot of women say how much they admire her as a symbol of the conservative, Republican women who doesn’t support abortion and automatically take the feminist position. I respect that about her, and if she wants to be on Fox News and host a radio show for the rest of her life, that’s great. What I don’t respect about Palin is her lack of personal responsibility when she has to deal with criticism, like the Katie Couric interview.
After the Couric interview-disaster, Schmidt told Palin that the reason it didn’t go well was that she had spent the time she should have been preparing for that interview answering written questions from a local newspaper in Alaska. That reveals two flaws-Palin has no time management skills and cares too much about insignificant details. Palin’s response that CBS edited the interview to make her look bad shows is a key lack of a leadership attribute: humility and personal responsibility. If Palin were to come out and say, “I really did underprepare for that interview. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry for hurting Senator McCain and my supporters”, it would effectively end the story. It wouldn’t make Palin a better national candidate, but the “lamestream” media would no longer have a real reason to criticize her.
Confession: I get a lot of my political analysis from Saturday Night Live, but it’s undeniable, even based on their skits, that the Palin fallout has involved a lot of mediocre candidates jumping at the race for president. Maybe it’s just a down election cycle, but perhaps Palin’s tough talk, whining at her smarter opponents have emboldened the Rick Perrys and Mitt Romney to run like they actually know something.
As a conservative, I see how CNN and the other national publications slant liberal and trash conservatives (see the coverage of religious leaders testifying before congress for the right to have a conscious), but Palin’s stratagy of offering up vague condemnations isn’t going to work. She needs to have the humility to admit she wouldn’t be a great national leader
For Palin, I truly hope that she does find a calling as a speaker. Ironically, she needs to hear the same that those who occupy Wall Street do: contentment. Sarah Palin doesn’t have the A-lister drive to be President, but her acceptance of her limitations will be the key to how much influence she can have.