Sarah Palin is a remarkable woman, with many strong points, but an instinct for always saying the right thing in the right words clearly isn’t one of them.She blew her most recent opportunity to prove her credibility by posting a disastrous video intended to absolve herself of any responsibility for the Tucson shootings. She was absolutely right to defend herself, as there is no evidence that she, or anyone else, influenced the shooter, but once again her inability to find the proper tone, or choose the right words, further damaged her reputation.
She started out being conciliatory, and showing sympathy for the victims, then veered off into the tired old Tea Party rant that America is great because we all have the right to say whatever we want, and these accusations were just aimed at silencing dissent. You’re right Sarah, your enemies have never succeeded in silencing you. Unfortunately, neither have your friends. Even Newt Gingrich, not usually associated with moderate speech, said, in reference to some of her recent statements, “I think that she has got to slow down and be more careful and think through what she’s saying and how she’s saying it.” Most damaging was her use of the phrase “blood libel.” This was a prepared speech, and it is highly unlikely that she used this specific term unintentionally, or that she was unaware of what it referred to, but once again, instead of simply admitting that she could have chosen her words more carefully, she chose to come out swinging. She offered up her own definition of the term, and insisted that its use was appropriate in this context.
This wasn’t the first time Sarah Palin demonstrated her lack of ability to admit she goofed. Her supporters claimed that it was unfair to criticize her for saying refudiate instead of repudiate. They are correct in pointing out that everyone occasionally has these little slips of the tongue. The problem wasn’t her initial mistake, but her reaction to the criticism. Instead of just laughing the whole thing off, she made herself look more foolish by saying that the English language evolves, and if Shakespeare could make up new words then so could she.
If she really has any thoughts of running in 2012, she will have to abandon her rogue-grizzly mindset. The Republican ballot is shaping up to be a long one, with most of the party’s heavy hitters seeking the nomination. These are veteran campaigners, who have grown wise enough to know that they can’t do it on their own. Candidates for the top office surround themselves with advisers, handlers, spin-doctors and speech writers, and nothing is said or done without being vetted by this carefully selected team. If Sarah Palin is serious about 2012, she needs to assemble her own team, and take advice and direction from them. She demonstrated in 2008 that she has little aptitude for following orders, and unfortunately still shows little desire to do what others ask of her.
It’s probably already too late, but if she wants the presidency, she will have to curb her talent for shooting from the lip, and learn to be a team player.
And she needs to start today.Powered by Sidelines