Todd Palin Was Right to Be Angry

The media has many theories about Sarah Palin and family, and one of them is that she has thin skin, and that the tiniest lancet can puncture it. There is some evidence to support this theory. But Todd Palin's e-mail to Joe Miller is not evidence of that. The media ought to resist the temptation to see the e-mail exchanges as another example of how Palin can't take criticism.

Let's postulate that the Palins are human. For some reason, some reporters write as if they do not understand human nature. They see politics, the most human of sports, as something they can put in a function machine and have something pop out on the other end.

My colleague Chris Good notes that Miller "owes his presence in this Senate race to Sarah Palin, but not because she endorsed him." It's because Palin convinced the Tea Party Express to put its money and organizational strength behind Miller. Palin recorded a telephone call and Todd appeared at a fundraiser. Palin didn't risk much by endorsing Miller, but she did him a solid. Actually, it was Todd Palin who first endorsed Miller, a week before his wife did.

So, Todd Palin pulled a Tom Vilsack. He erroneously interpreted something he had heard that Miller said on Fox about whether Palin was qualified to be president. Now, Sarah and Todd Palin obviously believe she is qualified to be president. You may not, but they do. And that's important, because Palin has every right to assume that the candidates she endorses and spends any time campaigning for would, at the very least, answer that relatively innocuous question in the affirmative. Heck, Miller upped the ante yesterday, saying that of course Sarah Palin is constitutionally qualified to be president. Constitutionally!

The Palins are thinking about a run for president. Sarah has admitted as much. No surprise. We know that both Palins prize loyalty. Miller appeared to be acting disloyal. And Todd Palin, in a moment of anger, sent an e-mail blasting him for suggesting something he didn't suggest. More revealing than Palin's e-mail is Mller's apparent disdain for Team Palin, which suggests that Miller and Palin don't really like each other and that Palin's endorsement was predicated in part on her political strategy. That's how endorsements tend to work in American politics.

Palin herself responded in her typically dismissive fashion, Tweet-referring the "lamestream media" to a Weekly Standard story that includes a response from Todd Palin that fairly predictably descends into media bashing.

If Palin wants to be president, this is one hump she's going to have to overcome. (Another: her net favorable rating among Americans, currently at negative 30.) You can't bomb and kill every leader who disses you. In time, self-confidence will bring less of a spastic response, but then again, if someone published your e-mails, particularly e-mails you sent in haste, wouldn't you be upset? If someone suggested (or appeared to suggest) that your wife was not qualified to be president after she endorsed that someone?

I'll concede that the Palins are sensitive about their image in the media. Partly because of Sarah Palin's own choices, and partly because of happenstance, she has been subjected to the most intense media barrage that has ever been launched at a presidential candidate. So, thin-skinned or not, It will be interesting to see if she ever again gives an interview to someone who isn't identified with a conservative news organization.