News & Criticism

Palin Sympathies: Liberals and Conservatives Reversing Roles?

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The whole blogosphere is of one opinion when it comes to Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric: Not good. But unlike the responses to her convention speech, the Charles Gibson interview, and the rumors about Trig, this time around liberals sound sympathetic and conservatives sound anywhere from embarrassed to angry.

From The Atlantic, Ross Douthat:

And now, an excerpt from my inner monologue, as transcribed while watching various clips from Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric (I can't link to them; they're too painful):

And that, Douthat, is why nobody's ever going to hire you to help pick their running mate.

But hey, maybe it's all just effing brilliant rope-a-dope for the Biden debate ….

And Ta-Nehisi Coates:

There are lot [sic] of us lefties who are guffawing right now and are happy to see Palin seemingly stumbling drunkenly from occasional interview to occasional interview. I may have been one of them. But I'm out of that group now…. 

I have watched this whole Palin thing with some twinge of personal recognition. I come from a family of seven kids by four women. As I've said before, I've got brothers born in the same year, and brothers born to best friends. My father was a high-school drop-out. I am a college drop-out. I was a father by 24–my father had kids when he was 22. I come to books and learned things in a hard, organic way. I was watching Palin explain to Couric how it could be that she just got a passport last year, and I was thinking, "Shit, I don't have a passport now."

From Culture 11's "Top 11 Excuses John McCain Could've Used to Get Out of Debate":

"Here's some straight talk, my friends: a good friend I respect very much, Senator Joe Lieberman, made me do a tequila shot every time I cringed during Governor Palin's interview with Katie Couric. I am still very drunk."

And Christopher Orr at 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. 

I'm not saying it's a trend (Daily Kos & TPM are nowhere near "sympathizing" with Palin; National Review would follow her to Giedi Prime and back), or that the above sentiments will remain static through the first vice presidential debate, only that for the moment, it's an interesting quandary: What's with all the sympathetic (condescending?) liberals and the many resentful conservatives? Off the top of my head, I can think of two explanations, neither of which, if true, say anything good about the people whose positions have changed: Democrats no longer see Palin as a potent political threat, and are now treating her like a human being; Republicans no longer see her as a ringer, and are now treating her as dead weight and regretting their initial enthusiasm. A more cynical question: will all her fumbling-inspired sympathy ultimately play out in her favor?

Your thoughts, commenters?

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