Sarah Palin Interviewed By Rush And Oprah, A Study In Contrasts

by Melissa Clouthier | November 17, 2009 3:32 pm

The Sarah Palin – Oprah interview couldn’t have been more different than the Sarah Palin – Rush interview. I watched the Oprah interview yesterday after having not watched the Oprah Show in years. I listened to Rush today after listening intermittently for years. If I tell you how long, you’ll realize I’m older than I look, so I won’t tell you.

Anyway, before I get into the details, my overarching impression wasn’t related to Sarah Palin at all, but rather to the state of the press in general. For example, here’s Sarah Palin going into hostile Obama-loving territory on Oprah. She was on edge, and fought defensiveness, much like her interview with Katie Couric. But she did it. Unlike Barack Obama, who has studiously avoided any interview from anyone who isn’t a “friendly”, Palin demonstrates some gumption. [Barack Obama has decided to grant Fox an interview tonight, reportedly.] Luckily for him, that’s a rather small group and only one network who are fair and balanced–which is to say they’re not kissing his ass 24/7–but if any conservative did the same, the conservative wouldn’t ever be on TV or interviewed by any newsweekly, period. There are no even remotely neutral media sources. Who? MSNBC? NBC? ABC? CNN? CBS? Newsweek? Time? The New York Times? Who is fair? Who doesn’t lean so far left that they’re imploding for lack of viewers and/or readers and the ad dollars eyeballs drive?


So, here’s Sarah Palin going forward into Oprah’s female den of iniquity. Oprah needs Sarah like Sarah needs Oprah. Sarah Palin needs to appeal to a broader slice of the electorate. Oprah needs ratings. It’s mutually beneficial and one of the bile-inducing decisions politicians make. Oprah doesn’t ask Sarah Palin substantive questions. Oprah asks Oprah questions–about Levi coming to Thanksgiving, about her marriage, etc. Rush Limbaugh called the questions “soap opera stuff”, but that’s Oprah’s audience. Palin did relatively well. The Anchoress sums it up this way[1]:

Palin struck me as too guarded and needlessly defensive. Toward the end, Oprah asked if she had anything else to say, and Palin unwisely blurted out, “you can’t turn off my mic…” which was very revealing. As I said over two twitters:

there is a brittle defensiveness to Palin that was not there before; she’s clearly carrying scabs from being savaged in ‘08 BUT…you can’t do that in politics. She was treated (IS still treated) abominably by press, but if she can’t transcend that she’s out

Okay, political analysis in 140 characters doesn’t really work, but yeah, it seems to me that Palin is showing her scars from the detestable way the press descended on her and her family like a pack of rabid canines and worked to literally destroy Palin when she emerged in ‘08.

But the press tried to destroy Reagan, and they tried to destroy Bush; they could only get so far, because both men were able to shake the rutting mutts off their legs with aplomb, and look forward. It is a quality of character, part of it comes from knowing who you are and -as we see happening- it encourages people to take a second look, or a third, if need be.

I have suspected that Palin does know who she is, but she’s been rattled, and it shows. And so, she is talking about media mistreatment; her charges are not untrue, but tonguing the wounds will not help her with the people she needs to win over. They will see it merely as an unattractive, vindictive quality, rather ala Obama. Who wants more of that?

Sarah Palin needs to deal with this den of vicious beasts better. And they are vicious. Camille Paglia, who The Anchoress quotes, says succinctly[2]:

She also needs a shrewder, cooler take on the mainstream media, with its preening bullies, cackling witches, twisted cynics and pompous windbags. The Northeastern media establishment is in decline, and everyone knows it.

Rush’s interview, in contrast, made Sarah Palin sound like a wise elder statesman. He didn’t throw softballs. To the contrary, he asked her substantive policy questions. Guess what? She didn’t stumble. She flowed. It was great to listen to, really, and heartening. Rush asked her questions on everything from national security, foreign policy, oil exploration, health care and illegal immigration. Not one stutter. Not one hiccup. She was flawless.

It wasn’t just her form. Her substance was pure, unapologetic small-government conservative. It was like taking a breath of fresh political air, if such a thing exists. D.C. smells gives off the fetid fumes of months dead fish in the still undrained swamp. Sarah Palin is not D.C. She brings the brisk, clean Alaskan air and sends a chill down the spines of Democrats and Republican establishment types. They are right to fear her. She is formidable.

I want Sarah Palin to succeed.

Sarah Palin must though, find a way to be at ease answering any question that the superficial, bigoted, condescending North Eastern blue bloods throw at her. Underneath, these people are insecure. It rattles them to their bones that a state college educated, wife, mother, politician and governor could best them. Their insecurity will get more piqued as President Obama continues to waffle, avoid and hide–from unfriendly press, from dictators, from tough decisions, from failure.

Sarah Palin will have to get used to wearing the mantle of leader. That means that she’ll have to own the fact that she’s so formidable that Barack Obama has finally, at long last, decided to man up and face Fox. (It won’t be much of a feat. Geeze, O’Reilly already loves him and the rest of the cast like him, too. It’s only the talking heads like Beck and Hannity that dislike the guy. What a weenie Obama has been avoiding Fox. So typical, though.)

Obama illustrates the point though. He’s weak. He will only take the easy road. Sarah Palin, by nature of being conservative, chooses the more difficult road. It’s just the way it is. She needs to own it. She needs to march down the road with cheerful grace. These self-important press and establishment types cannot handle good humor. They have no sense of humor about themselves. A well-placed gentle jibe will do more than 100 well-circumscribed answers and cluck-clucking back-tracking. The circumlocution is Obama’s forté. Sarah Palin needs to own everything, be direct and have a ball.

Really, what does Sarah Palin have to lose? What more can they say? The left has shot its load, not they won’t try to reload and make more bullcrap out of whole cloth. Let them. Really. Now is not the time to be defensive or afraid.

As a side note: When Oprah asked her invasive family questions, I noted that Sarah turned and looked at her daughters with love and pain in her eyes. It is disgusting to me that they have to hear the b.s. Some will say, “Well, it’s Sarah’s fault for bringing them.” Really? If Barack and Michelle Obama brought their daughters on Oprah, would she ask them, in front of the girls, about fight rumors and rumors of divorce? Somehow I doubt it.

There is a double standard. It’s despicable. In order to succeed, though, a conservative candidate, man or woman must, as The Anchoress says, transcend it. No doubt, Sarah Palin will have plenty of opportunity to do just that as she faces more hostile interviews.

By the way, I’ll be on Rick Moran’s show on BlogTalkRadio tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. He will be saying that Sarah sucks. Please listen or call in.

  1. he Anchoress sums it up this way:
  2. says succinctly:

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