October 02, 2008
I just watched the Palin-Couric Supreme Court exchange. It strikes me that Palin's critics and defenders are both right. The Supreme Court question was a bit "pop quiz." What was trying to be gleaned here? Palin is not a lawyer or Supreme Court historian. But she could have said that, and then elaborated on her judicial philosophy. She could have discussed how court rulings have influenced policy she's had to carry out as governor, for example. But that on-camera confidence takes practice to acquire. And in the beginning, its really hard.
I heard the exchange too, and I knew exactly what Sarah Palin was doing. She was searching her brain for the right answer, the best answer. I know because I do it too, every time I sit on a panel at SpouseBUZZ or the Milblogs Conference. My body tenses when a question is directed at me and all I can think in my brain is "Don't say something dumb, please let me know the answer." And my moderators aren't out to get me!
In Las Vegas last week, Guard Wife asked me which SpouseBUZZ posts get the most comments. I got a deer-in-headlights look on my face and wracked my brain as quickly as I could to come up with what I thought was the right answer, the factually correct answer. I wanted to answer the question well.
The politician's trick though is to just open your mouth and start saying whatever is tangentially related to the question you've been asked to steer the conversation to what you want to talk about.
Sarah Palin apparently hasn't mastered that trick. But I don't really see why that is a bad thing.
If someone asks her which Supreme Court decision she doesn't like, I want her to really search her brain and come up with one. I don't want her to just start flapping her gums around the question.
Here's what happened at the beginning of the first presidential debate:
LEHRER: Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?
First response to you, Senator Obama. You have two minutes.
OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Jim, and thanks to the commission and the University of Mississippi, "Ole Miss," for hosting us tonight. I can't think of a more important time for us to talk about the future of the country.
You know, we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is involved in two wars, and we are going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
And although we've heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street I think have been struggling for a while, and you recognize that this could have an impact on all sectors of the economy.
And you're wondering, how's it going to affect me? How's it going to affect my job? How's it going to affect my house? How's it going to affect my retirement savings or my ability to send my children to college?
So we have to move swiftly, and we have to move wisely. And I've put forward a series of proposals that make sure that we protect taxpayers as we engage in this important rescue effort.
So he spent at least a minute in a two-minute answer saying absolutely nothing. And then McCain does the same baloney, and then Lehrer has to come back and re-ask both the candidates to answer the fricking question. That's how politics works. You do everything you can not to answer the question.
Sarah Palin hasn't figured that out yet. That's why some of us are OK with her.
Posted by: Non-Essential Equipment at October 02, 2008 11:12 AM (0wLP6)
Posted by: Emily at October 02, 2008 12:17 PM (jAos7)
Posted by: kannie at October 02, 2008 12:30 PM (f+LJo)
Posted by: Sarah at October 02, 2008 12:36 PM (TWet1)
Posted by: Nicole at October 02, 2008 08:04 PM (xPxyx)
Posted by: Non-Essential Equipment at October 02, 2008 10:28 PM (OXZXN)
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