Friday, January 14, 2011

Elephant Dung #9: Christie challenges Palin to go unscripted

Tracking the GOP Civil War

(For an explanation of this ongoing series, see here. For previous entries, see here.)

Given that so many Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the half-term Alaska ex-governor, it makes sense that many of our Elephant Dungs will be about Palin. Of course, given her significant popularity with the GOP base, including the Tea Party, these Republicans need to be very careful, and so their criticism tends to be indirect. Often, they're not really criticizing her, more challenging her, likely knowing that she'll fail.

This is surely the case with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's recent comments:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey says it’s way too early to handicap the field of his fellow Republicans who might run for president in 2012, but on Wednesday he voiced a few sharp words about the most famous one.

He argued that unscripted, even adversarial exchanges with reporters and the public are essential to judging a candidate, and that if Sarah Palin continues to avoid them, "she'll never be president."

At a lunch with New York Times journalists and the newspaper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Mr. Christie was asked about the Sarah Palin video, released earlier in the day, that had caused a stir. He said he had not yet seen it, but he doubted that it would shed much light on her character.

"I think people need to be judged by the way they conduct themselves in the public arena, in a way that is as minimally staged as possible," he said. "That's where you really get to know people."

When it was noted that Ms. Palin has preferred communicating with the public in ways she can control, Mr. Christie said that "rightfully has been criticized."

I don't much care for Gov. Christie, to say the least, but I think he's right about this. Now, given that Palin never goes unscripted, and is as packaged as they come even if she presents herself as somehow raw (her "reality" show was just the latest example of how everything she does is carefully managed), there's no way she'll ever go "as minimally staged as possible."

And why? Because she's a self-destructive disaster whenever she goes off script, or whenever she's out on the public stage without everything pre-determined. Just think back to the '08 campaign. There was a reason she was kept away from the media. She may have given a jolt to McCain's campaign, but McCain's people clearly understood that she was not to be trusted, and that despite her popularity with the base she would only end up embarrassing herself (and further undermining McCain). And when she was sent out without a script, or put in a position where she was forced to think on her feet, as in the interview with Katie Couric, she did just that, proving to be a moron. This is why her media appearances are limited to Fox News and otherwise friendly outlets/shows. And why her other public appearances are at partisan rallies where she is idolized, as with Tea Party events.

(She's doing a TV interview on Monday, her first since the Arizona shooting. Guess which network. Answer below.)

Now, there are many other reasons why Palin will never be president -- unless the country goes completely mad, which is not out of the question. Her utterly unpresidential response to the Arizona shooting, including her incredibly awful Facebook statement/video, which was more about herself than anything else (as usual), and which featured the repugnant claim that she's victim of "blood libel," for example. (And, of course, she may not run, as I've been suggesting.)

But Christie is right that her detachment from the public -- her stagedness -- is a huge problem for her. He doesn't go so far as to criticize her directly (he just says it's right that she's been criticized by others), but you don't have to read too far between the lines. He probably thinks she's incapable, if not incompetent, and that there's no way she'll ever go unscripted.

Because Sarah Palin and "Sarah Palin," her public persona (her character), are pretty much indistinguishable. Maybe there's a trace of authenticity in her private life, but in public, wherever she happens to be, she's a big phony. And the American people, many of whom would apparently like to sit down for a beer with George W. Bush, supposedly one of the reasons he beat the far more intelligent and far more qualified John Kerry in '04, just don't care for such phoniness, such artifice, in their politicians.

* Fox News, of course, with Hannity. Duh.

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  • Ithink too that Palin is boxed in by her handlers because she does have a large base, a large chunk of GOP-voter support, and the more she makes an ass of herself, the more disaffected that base becomes, hurting not just Palin, but the GOP itself. Palin must remain the myth. Her person is an incompetent fool.


    By Blogger Jersey McJones, at 1:01 PM  

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