I hadn’t watched John Ziegler’s interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin about the mean mainstream media because one of the fringe benefits of the Obama-Biden victory was the right to not listen to Sarah Palin. Watching it now, though, is jarring.
The through-line of the Palin iconography that materialized on the campaign trail like some kind of Michael Crichton virus was that Sarah Palin was tough. She toted guns! She could field dress a moose! “I believe [McCain] will follow Bin Laden whether it’s to the caves of Afghanistan or to the gates of hell,” said Mike Huckabee, “and… Sarah Palin will be right behind him, carrying a couple hockey sticks.” What, indeed, was the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?
The Palin that shows up in the Ziegler interview, though, is … how to put this? A wimp.
Two months after losing the election, she’s still smarting and bitter and naming names. While I usually hate the “but what if X did this?” trope, imagine what the reaction would be if Sen. John Kerry, John Edwards or Al Gore sat for post-election interviews in which they griped about how mean and unfair the media was, and how it shouldn’t have gone after their personal lives. Heck, imagine if Sen. John McCain did that, calling Keith Olbermann “evil” (as Palin does). I’m not even getting to the hypocrisy of Palin kvetching post-facto about Saturday Night Live when she couldn’t sprint fast enough to New York to appear on the show.
Yes, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cried that one time in New Hampshire, but it’s equally hard to imagine her agreeing to do a name-calling interview about all the bad coverage she got. A decent politician would have grappled with the media on the spot, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher frequently did, or just let the issue rest.