I’ve never been an Ann Althouse fan. I usually find her to be intolerably prissy and annoying. But boy did she unload on Sarah Palin after seeing a brief excerpt of her new book on the Drudge Report. And rightfully so. The excerpt is drowning in faux self-pity and ends up making Palin look worse rather than better.
The excerpt deals with the decision to give the first interview to Katie Couric and she basically throws one of the McCain campaign’s advisers under the bus for that decision. But as Althouse points out, the fact that Palin silently went along with what is by her own admission little more than self-serving emotional blackmail by the adviser shows that she’s not even remotely prepared to run the country.
Rather than posting the whole back and forth, here’s the full excerpt from the Palin book:
By the third week in September, a “Free Sarah” campaign was under way and the press at large was growing increasingly critical of the McCain camp’s decision to keep me, my family and friends back home, and my governor’s staff all bottled up. Meanwhile, the question of which news outlet would land the first interview was a big deal, as it always is with a major party candidate.
From the beginning, Nicolle [Wallace] pushed for Katie Couric and the CBS Evening News. The campaign’s general strategy involved coming out with a network anchor, someone they felt had treated John well on the trail thus far. My suggestion was that we be consistent with that strategy and start talking to outlets like FOX and the Wall Street Journal. I really didn’t have a say in which press I was going to talk to, but for some reason Nicolle seemed compelled to get me on the Katie bandwagon.
“Katie really likes you,” she said to me one day. “she’s a working mom and admires you as a working mom. She has teenage daughter like you. She just relates to you,” Nicolle said. “believe me, I know her very well. I’ve worked with her.” Nicolle had left her gig at CBS just a few months earlier to hook up with the McCain campaign. I had to trust her experience, as she had dealt with national politics more than I had. But something always struck me as peculiar about the way she recalled her days in the White House, when she was speaking on behalf of President George W. Bush. She didn’t have much to say that was positive about her former boss or the job in general. Whenever I wanted to give a shout-out to the White House’s homeland security efforts after 9/11, we were told we couldn’t do it. I didn’t know if that was Nicolle’s call.
Nicolle went on to explain that Katie really needed a career boost. “She just has such low self-esteem,” Nicolle said. She added that Katie was going through a tough time. “She just feels she can’t trust anybody.”
I was thinking, And this has to do with John McCain’s campaign how?
Nicolle said. “She wants you to like her.”
Hearing all that, I almost started to feel sorry for her. Katie had tried to make a bold move from lively morning gal to serious anchor, but the new assignment wasn’t going very well.
“You know what? We’ll schedule a segment with her,” Nicolle said. “If it doesn’t go well, if there’s no chemistry, we won’t do any others.”
Meanwhile, the media blackout continued. It got so bad that a couple of times I had a friend in Anchorage track down phone numbers for me, and then I snuck in calls to folks like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and someone I thought was Larry Kudlow but turned out to be Neil Cavuto’s producer. I had a friend call Bill O’Reilly after I was inundated with supporters in Alaska asking why the campaign was “ignoring” his on-air requests for a McCain campaign interview. I had another friend scrambling to find Mark Levin’s number. Aboard the campaign plane I was within twenty-five feet of reporters for hours on end. Headquarters’ strategy was that I should not go to the back of the aircraft and talk to the press. At first this was subtle, but as the campaign wore on, Tracey or Tucker would call headquarters to request permission, and someone in DC would respond, “No! Absolutely not- block her if she tries to go back.”
And a sample of Althouse’s response:
Why didn’t you have a say? There’s that “really” hedging: You didn’t really have a say. You’re pleading passivity and impotence but you want us to think you have what it takes to be President of the United States?…
If Sarah Palin did not see the limited value of Nicolle Wallace’s comment about Katie Couric, then she is too pollyannaish and unsophisticated to be trusted with presidential power. Couric is a pussycat compared to the world leaders who will smile and exude pleasantries and then stab you in the back…
Katie has low self-esteem?! Bullshit! Anyone with the stuff to be President would have said bullshit. Or something like: Look, I’m running for Vice President. I can’t be distracted by some TV diva’s need for an emotional boost. Not unless I know it will translate into making me look great. But how would that work? Her boost is only likely to come if she makes me look terrible. Even if she has low self-esteem, #1, I don’t care, it’s hardly a pressing issue I need to be thinking about, and #2, that makes her more dangerous to me. She can’t trust anybody? Well, I don’t trust her. And Nicolle, how can you even present me with such an argument that is so specious on its face?…
It seems that Sarah Palin wasn’t able or didn’t want to bother to analyze whether she was ready to debut on the big media stage, and she wasn’t large-minded enough to think beyond herself to what it would mean for the whole campaign. That is, she was dumb. She was too dumb to handle campaign responsibilities properly, so she was clearly too dumb to step into the role of President of the United States.
Could she build up her political intelligence? Might she have it now or by 2012? If these 2 pages of “Going Rogue” are any evidence, she is displaying her weaknesses all over again, and she is still too dumb to be President. And, most scarily, she doesn’t know how dumb she still is.
Althouse is right.
I also had to laugh at the clip of Palin’s interview with Oprah where she says that she knew that the interview with Couric had not gone well. That’s funny, because in the aftermath she blamed it all on the nasty media inventing the fact that the interview was a disaster.