Chris Orr has an interesting and semi-sympathetic take on Palin's CBS fiasco. Here are some excerpts:
Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. She was an ambitious, confident young pol with some impressive political accomplishments in her home state who, one can guess, had aspirations for taking her brand national at some point but not for at least a few more years .... She's unexpectedly plucked from obscurity by the McCain campaign and, after a couple of rough days of media vetting, she gives a speech at the GOP convention--the first speech she's ever given with anything approaching this level of prominence--and is universally declared to have hit it out of the park ....
Now, I don't know Sarah Palin (obviously), but at this point I suspect she envisioned the next several weeks as a continuation of her coming-out-party/victory-tour. She'd do packed events before cheering members of the GOP base (something she has in fact done), but she'd be a superstar in all the other typical ways, too. She'd be ubiquitous on the tube, doing the "Tonight Show" and "Good Morning America," and, who knows, maybe even the political shows. She'd be so forthright and funny and charming and genuine that the whole country would fall in love with her. She'd be followed by a media throng that hung on her every word.
Instead, she hasn't been allowed to give them a word to hang on: no press conferences (until one yesterday that hardly merited the term), a couple of scripted, softbally interviews, and an ongoing effort by the McCain campaign to have her vice presidential debate postponed indefinitely. The obvious implicit message her preppers and coddlers and protectors in the campaign are giving her is: You're not ready. We don't trust you. You have no idea what you're talking about. Don't ever open your mouth unless you've cleared it with us or you might destroy the whole campaign. These are not pleasant things to hear, and Palin has presumably been hearing them (again, by implication) every day for weeks now.
... 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.
If you watch her pre-nomination interviews - with CNBC, say, or with C-SPAN - and then compare them to the Couric performance, the difference is staggering. Obviously a lot of this just has to do with the difficulty of talking about national issues she doesn't know that much about, versus state issues she knew extremely well, and doing so under the kind of microscope that most national politicians spend months and years preparing for. But the marked decline in her coherence and fluency just from the Gibson interview - where she was bad, but not epically bad - to this one suggests something like the confidence-destroying dynamic Chris describes is playing out as well.
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