Fox News Panel Follies; Update: More from Chris Wallace on the Palin Interview

In case anyone missed it, Governor Palin gave an excellent interview on Fox News Sunday this morning. She gave crisp, clear answers to all questions posed to her by Chris Wallace.  The topics ranged far and wide from Afghanistan and Libya to energy, the economy, taxes, the debt ceiling, the 2012 election, and Obama’s miserable presidency.  Wallace, by no means a conservative, said after the interview that Governor Palin was “a serious candidate for president” and had given a “boffo performance” in the interview.  However, after Governor Palin’s interview had concluded, the show quickly went off the tracks when the “Sunday Panel” talked presidential politics.

Mara Liasson, a liberal, made the case that Mitt Romney would be a great Republican nominee because he’s focused on jobs (how a health care mandate helps in this area is unclear). Obviously I couldn’t disagree more with Liasson on the palatability of the Mittster as the Republican standard bearer in 2012, but her comments on the panel were, surprisingly, the most lucid of the four.

John Podesta, who runs the far left “think tank” (an oxymoron, I know) Center for American Progress, which is largely funded by George Soros, was also on the panel. Podesta claimed that Governor Palin’s entry into the race would help Mitt Romney or something.   Podesta prefaced this absurd statement by acknowledging it was counterintuitive.  Ya think? But seriously, who cares what Podesta says.  In addition to his leadership of CAP, Podesta headed Obama’s presidential transition team after the 2008 election so any observations he makes about the 2012 Republican field should be taken with a rather large grain of salt, if not outright amusement.

Ironically, but par for the course at Fox News of late, the least intelligible comments came from the panel’s two conservatives: William Kristol and Kimberly Strassel. Kristol, a regular member of the Sunday panel, continued his recent penchant for stupidity.  Readers may recall it was Kristol who, in March, claimed that Governor Palin hasn’t been active in terms of leading on policy issues or framing the national debate. The fact that she’s been doing just that and, indeed, is the only Republican who has been consistently and relentlessly taking on Obama throughout his tenure illustrates just how far Kristol has strayed from reality.  Kristol followed up that sage observation today by pronouncing that if the nomination comes down to Palin and Romney, Paul Ryan and/or Chris Christie will jump in or something.  A few observations.

Let me state for the record that I have great respect for Paul Ryan, but (a) he’s not running and (b) he has no executive experience.  The disaster that is Obama’s presidency tells us all we need to know about the hazards of electing someone with no executive experience to the position. Second, beltway pundits, Kristol included, keep telling us Palin can’t run because she hasn’t been laying the traditional groundwork for a presidential run.  Has Ryan? No, I didn’t think so.

Kristol’s flirtation with Christie is, at best, puzzling.  Like Ryan, Christie is not running.  But more importantly, unlike Ryan, Christie is not a conservative.  To be sure, he’s due some credit for tackling New Jersey’s budget problems left by years of Democrat control.  But let’s not get carried away. New Jersey is flat broke.  Reducing state spending was not something about which he had a choice.  It was the only option available.  Further, Christie’s recent helicopter ride will certainly detract from his reputation as a guardian of the taxpayer’s money, no? And let’s not forget that 53% of Republicans in New Jersey don’t think Christie is qualified to be president.

Why has Kristol been losing his mind of late when it comes to Governor Palin?  It’s tempting to say it’s due to his realization that she is a true foreign policy conservative in the Reagan mold, and not a raging neo-con who believes it’s the duty of the United States to get involved in every dispute on the planet as the world’s policeman, cost be damned.  But that would be logical, and Kristol’s increasingly illogical behavior argues for a more emotional reason.

Personally, I think Kristol’s erratic comportment is due to the understandably traumatic realization that his budding political bromance with Mitch Daniels will remain forever unrequited. It’s only been a couple weeks now since the hammer was dropped and he’s still in the denial stage, I suspect.  When the emotional clouds clear and it becomes obvious to Kristol that his transitional choices, Ryan and Christie, will also reject his overtures, I’m sure his approbation will be directed elsewhere.  Bob Dole anyone?

The fourth panelist on Fox News Sunday was the erstwhile Kimberly Strassel, who wrote an anti-Palin column in the Wall Street Journal on Friday which was as noteworthy for its lack of coherence as its lack of substance.  She praised Romney for his healthcare plan because “at least he’s got one”.  Huh? So do Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama.  Apparently in Strassel’s ostensibly conservative mind, having a plan for state controlled health care trumps a belief in the free market.  Stacy has much more on Strassel’s hit-piece here.

Today, in what had to be the most surreal moment for the panel, Strassel said that Governor Palin’s problem is that she “weighs in on almost every issue” (video below, 1:20 mark). Er…what? How is weighing in on issues wrong?  Isn’t that what we want in our candidates? Is Strassel suggesting we should elect someone who doesn’t take a position on the issues?  Or perhaps she prefers a candidate who has a position on the issues but keeps voters in the dark by keeping them secret, and us simple voters in the hinterland should leave all that important government stuff to the geniuses in Washington who know best.  Or is it that Strassel prefers someone whose position on the issues change so often that we can’t possibly pin him down? Who knows.  Whatever the case, in Strassel’s mind the last thing we need is a candidate who has the audacity to be…candid.

I would also note that one of the narratives frequently pushed by the Kim Strassel’s of the world is that Governor Palin doesn’t weigh in on the issues, now she weighs in on “almost every” one?  But not to worry, Strassel has that one covered too as ten seconds later she does a 180 and leaves us with this non sequitur:

She’s gonna have to be presidential to run, and that is gonna be focusing on policies.  And that’s something she’s done less than less of as she’s tried to connect with voters on a personal level. She’s gonna have to talk policy.

Gotcha.  She weighs in on too many policy issues so, obviously, the solution is to talk about them more.  Thanks for clearing that up for me.  Cue the Twilight Zone theme.  Click below to watch.

[videoplayer file= image=×332.jpg width=590 height=332 /]

Update: Chris Wallace appeared later on the Fox News Channel and had this to say about his interview with Governor Palin this morning, via Recovering Liberal:

I’ve interviewed her a bunch of times now over the past two years, and I have never seen her as good, as impressive, I mean she’s always been an entertaining interview, but I have never seen her as good, as specific as she was, whether it was the debt or the state of the economy, or the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. I don’t think any fair minded person could look at that debate and not say that she is potentially a serious candidate for President of the United States. Now that doesn’t mean she’s gonna run, but this is the first time that I looked at her and I thought, she could be real player in a 2012 election.

More, including video, here.

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