All in all, the Governor’s appearance on the Today show was a net-positive for her.
Honestly, when I first heard the news I was a little worried. I know one of the LSM’s main criticisms of Sarah is that she lacks “gravitas.” I thought her appearance might forward the memo that she’s not a serious politician but is only a “personality.” Even my mother, who was visiting, said she hoped that Palin would someday get her own talk show. I disagree with the paper thin premise that Palin is first and foremost a media personality. To me, that shows the fundamental misunderstanding of who she is.
Yet, during the Today show appearance, I think that Sarah masterfully cast herself as somewhere in between political maven and communication personality. I realized that we actually need her to be both. We need someone who can attack and dissect the politics of the day and put forth good common sense solutions but we also need someone who can connect with the people. We don’t have a lot of figures like her who can represent us as well and as thorough as she can.
Stuart Varney said it best on Hannity, that she is a “natural.” That is something you and I have known for awhile, but still confuses and angers a large part of the American electorate. Why does it anger them? Because they don’t quite understand it. And it is not because she’s Sarah Palin, but because she’s a conservative and views the world from a whole other paradigm that is alien to the audience that is inundated with the liberal media message, day in and day out.
John Stewart, who sometimes has a point, missed the mark completely last night. Of her appearance, he let out an inane rant, saying of Palin “The simplicity and prejudice of your worldview that the patriotism and goodness of something is in direct proportion only to the amount of conservatism in said thing.” I’m sorry, but if you watch any of the clips, Sarah Palin never says or alludes to any of those things. Palin by virtue of her presence, is simply advocating for a more balanced, or dare I say nuanced, expression of opinion by news commentators. By virtue of the fact that she went on the Today Show and sparred with Matt Lauer, who actually embodied Stewart’s complaint (swapping “conservatism” for “liberalism”), she was able to take the heat and offer reasoned responses. What I think Stewart missed is that all too often the point of view expressed comes only from the liberals on any major news outlet except Fox, and rarely is that worldview ever challenged. Sarah always points to the tenets of healthy debate and competition and has never tried to silence anyone. She didn’t even object to Lauer asking the biased questions he was entitled to ask. We all remember the “teacher” who told Palin she was the worst Governor ever? “What began as a confrontational moment ended with the former Alaska Governor telling her detractor “we probably have a lot in common” and the protester agreed.” Indeed.
The confusion (or liberal bias) about Sarah Palin was highlighted the best by the Tori Spelling segment. Now, I’m a huge fan of Spelling. I think she’s fun, I have her books, and like Sarah pointed out, she is a brave mom who is doing her best in life to make it all work. However, sticking Palin with cupcakes and carafes was the wrong segment for her to guest in. Would anyone stick (insert liberal female politician’s name here) in such a segment? Nope. Because there is the lingering bias that Palin is a lightweight Pollyanna. She has better things to do than discuss than how to plan a party on the budget and I could tell she seemed a little uncomfortable in the segment. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s not what makes her tick. While having a great self-deprecating sense of humor, she was right in her element during the Lauer segment. When she’s discussing politics and exchanging ideas, that’s when the Governor shines. That’s why she went in to politics in the first place. But, the way she ended the Spelling segment was telling — addressing her as a mother and paying her the respect she deserves. It was refreshing and bold and spoke of Sarah’s true character. She transcended the lightweight role she was cast in for that moment.
What we saw yesterday was another highlight of the confusion on what it means to be a Conservative. No conservative I’ve met ever tried to shove their view down my throat and claim it is the only view that matters or should be taken seriously. As evidenced by the treatment of Palin, both from the Today show staff and other liberal outlets, they continue to treat Conservatives like we are some sort of weird science experiment.
This morning, on the Today show, they were discussing viewer and media reactions to Palin’s appearance. They showed some positive and negative tweets about it but my favorite moment was Anne Curry. She admitted that Palin was “easy to work with” and had a great “self deprecating sense of humor.” And Lauer agreed that she was professional and came “ready to play.” Perhaps the media is slowly learning a thing or two about who the real Palin is? While there is much farther to go in that journey, the Governor will continue to advocate for us and teach us how to neutralize our enemies, one party-planning segment at a time.
Update: Make sure to read John Nolte takes on Jon Stewart here.