On his Fox News program this week, Sean Hannity asked former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), “Did the teleprompter go down?”
It was, to my mind, the most confrontational question the host has ever asked one of his Republican allies. Indeed, the question itself was loaded with an unstated assumption: Palin’s speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit over the weekend was so truly wretched that there had to be some other explanation beyond her own personal incompetence.
As for Palin’s response to Hannity’s pointed question, according to the transcript, she replied, “No, you know, I don’t know. I received a standing ovation throughout, and at the end of the speech, so I don’t know.”
Well, that ought to clear things up.
Much of the political world has seen Palin struggle badly through public appearances and media interviews since her national debut as a national Republican candidate in 2008, but in the wake of her incoherent rambling in Iowa on Saturday night, something has clearly changed. Even Palin’s fellow conservatives seem to realize, at long last, that the right-wing personality is less of a hero and more of a fraud.
Matt Lewis, for example, conceded yesterday that his years of support for Palin were misplaced. He’s not alone.
Sarah Palin’s odd, rambling speech last weekend before an audience of committed conservative activists in Des Moines has many influential voices on the right saying that the time has come to acknowledge that the romance has gone cold and the marriage is dead.
The pushback included criticisms from prominent media conservatives, including Byron York, Charles C.W. Cooke, and even msnbc’s Joe Scarborough, who described Palin’s Iowa speech as “a tragedy.”
The Weekly Standard, which has long championed Palin, published a “defense” yesterday, which wasn’t entirely supportive – the article said she “has proven she’s not a major intellectual,” though it proceeded to blame the media for Palin’s many shortcomings.
I’m at a bit of a loss to explain what took the right so long to reach these conclusions, which seemed quite obvious several years ago. To be sure, Palin’s speech over the weekend was disastrous, but I’m not sure it was that much worse than many of her other bizarre public appearances.
Perhaps the right was waiting for an excuse to part ways with a figure they find embarrassing? Maybe they heard about Palin’s interest in the presidential race and their criticism is a not-so-subtle way of saying, “For the love of all that is good in the world, please don’t do this”?
Whatever the rationale, the former half-term governor can apparently still count on one old ally.
How would Sarah Palin do if she decides to run for president? According to her former top-of-the-ticket running mate, quite well.“She’s very interesting. And I’m sure she’d do great,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told The Washington Post Wednesday in a brief interview.
Senator, at this point, I think it’s safe to say you’re the only one who’s sure she’d do great.
For more on this, our pals at “All In with Chris Hayes” had a good segment on this last night: