Sarah Palin’s Latest Interview Is Making People Sad

By
Photo: Courtesy of CBS News

The mood over Sarah Palin is changing. Her political naysayers used to delight in her floundering her way through interviews (okay, that one interview with Charlie Gibson). They enjoyed pointing out her lack of credentials. But her interview with Katie Couric over the past two nights has elicited a different response — like cringing. No longer is there joy in Palin's struggles. Watching her has become like watching one of those hopeless singers trying out for American Idol: First you laugh. Then you laugh some more. Maybe after that you laugh a little bit more. And as the talentless contestant soldiers on, despite the judges' derision, it hits you that this person, despite their best efforts, doesn't even realize that they don't have what it takes. And that makes you kind of sad.

• Alessandra Stanley writes that "in some ways it was the worst" interview Palin has done. The exchange on Russia was "startling," her answer "surprisingly wobbly." While it's "perhaps understandable" that Palin "felt nervous," it still "wasn’t a reassuring performance." [NYT]

• Howard Kurtz says Palin "struggled at times and appeared less comfortable than" in her interview with Charlie Gibson. [WP]

• James Rainey calls Palin "rambling, marginally responsive and even more adrift than during her network debut with ABC’s Charles Gibson." On the bailout, Palin meandered "off in fruitless pursuit of coherence"; on Russia, she didn't have an answer even though "anyone south of the Arctic Circle would have seen [the] question coming." [LAT]

• Steve Benen tries to watch the interview from "the perspective of an earnest Republican observer, who cares about the country, and who takes policy issues seriously." The conclusion is that, regardless of how Palin got here, "reasonable people should agree that the Republican vice presidential nominee is way out of her depth, and has no business seeking national office." [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Earnest Republican observer Ross Douthat can't link to video of the interview because it's "too painful," but seems to admit he was wrong in his earlier advocacy for Palin. Of course, it's always possible that it's all "just effing brilliant rope-a-dope for the Biden debate." [Atlantic]

• Another earnest Republican observer, Kathleen Parker, thinks that Palin has been revealed as someone "Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League." Because Palin is a woman, "we are reluctant to say what is painfully true." But it is true: "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself." [Corner/National Review]

• Michael Crowley says the "real story" may be "percolating fear at McCain HQ that Palin's stock may be headed the way of Lehman Brothers." Why else did McCain do an interview with CBS on the same day as Palin unless to overshadow her? [Stump/New Republic]

• Andrew Romano notes that Palin has "certainly benefited from the fact that the bailout brouhaha prevented a pair of less-than-flattering exchanges with Couric from making the sort of impact they would have made had Mr. McCain not, in fact, gone to Washington." [Stumper/Newsweek]

• Chuck Todd and friends concur that without "McCain's debate gambit, Palin's near-disastrous two-part interview with Katie Couric would be dominating the political discussion right now." The only upside is that Palin "has moved her debate expectations to an all-time low." [First Read/MSNBC]

• Kevin Drum claims "you can't watch this clip from Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric without wondering if she's completely cracked under the pressure of running for vice president." It's gotten to the point where Drum doesn't "even feel right making snarky jokes about this stuff anymore." [Mother Jones]

• That's not an issue for Karen Tumulty, who wonders if the Russian invasion scenario described by Palin is cribbed from Red Dawn. [Swampland/Time]

• Marc Ambinder notes that in "another tough interview," Palin answered "a question about how she would spread democracy by agreeing that, indeed, one should spread democracy." [Atlantic]

• Alex Koppelman and Mark Schone write that the interview "was memorable for how badly Palin performed." As her voice shook, Palin "was once again Miss South Carolina Teen USA." [War Room/Salon]

• Greg Sargent writes that "it's pretty close to impossible to work out exactly what" Palin was saying in her answer on U.S.-Israeli relations. [Election Central/TPM]

• Rod Dreher is "well and truly embarrassed" for Palin. She's "a good woman who might well be a great governor of Alaska," but this was a "train wreck." [Crunchy Con/Beliefnet]

• Christopher Beam brings together some "professional media trainers" to offer suggestions for how Palin can improve her interviews, such as giving more details, not repeating yourself ten times, and avoiding a dependency on catchphrases. [Slate]

Related: Sarah Palin’s CBS Interview Tonight Will Make You Really Uncomfortable

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.