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Bob Gladstein

I think you're right. I think the president absolutely has to be the smartest person in the room, but the fact that GWB was president for 8 years demonstrates that that view is far from universal.

I hear my fellow lefties saying all the time that it would be a dream come true for Palin to run for president in 2012, because they have no doubt that the campaign will show her to be none-too-swift, uninformed, and uninterested. I think they're right about that, but what they don't seem to get is that, under the right circumstances, she might just win anyway.

muddy

I think that Sarah is sneaky enough to keep that side of her hand out of view of the cameras if she wanted to. She could go palm down or pull her fingers in. She *always* knows where the camera is. Probably she is deliberately letting it be seen just for some "just plain folks" cred.

Jeff

Fundamentalist 'Murkistanical Sarah never fails to validate our forefather's prescient warnings:

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise". James Madison

paradoctor

If Palin _deliberately_shows_off_ her hand-notes next speech, then that would prove Mannion right. I suspect that this, as usual, merely made her partisans love her more, and all others less. Endearing incompetence works in the movies, but not so well in real life.

Sarah Palin is more interested in being Sarah Palin than she was in being, say, Governor of Alaska. She finally figured out that she didn't need to be Governor to be Palin. I suppose that she already knows, or will soon figure out, that she doesn't need to be President either.

But perhaps she'd like to be Candidate, hand-notes and all.

Walter Biggins

Muddy, thank you for clarifying exactly what I thought when I heard about The Hand this morning--that she did it on purpose. It's a continuation of Bush the Younger's verbal "flubs" and malapropisms, many of which I think were either intentional or that W didn't try to curtail, knowing that they would appeal to the base as "jus' folks" gestures and make the base (and struggling moderates) resent the media even more when the "mistakes" were played up. I don't think Palin is an idiot at all. Rather, she knows what makes her persona work, and is quite savvy as a media manipulator. That, in fact, is what makes her all the more dangerous to me; she's such a smooth and attractive media manipulator that it's easy to overlook the poison underneath. And it works--our news outlets have spent most of a day examining her hand, and not enough on what she actually said.

Brad

So I guess the optimum is to be smart, but not make other people feel dumb.

That accounts for Bill Clinton.

KLG

Spot on, Lance.

She absolutely intended this; her base loves her for it and millions of others understand it.

For those youngsters out there, a lot of us old folks never thought a manifest airhead (and senile, to boot) like Ronald Reagan could be elected President of the United States. Well, we have been descending as a country, as a society, and as a nation for 30 years since that happened. Ignore or make fun of Sarah Palin at your (and our) peril. I work with college educated scientific workers in a Red State. They think she is great. They are not stupid either.

Cleveland Bob

I'm afraid you've nailed it, Lance.

The other thing that I'm afraid of is that those among us who are cheering her run for 2012 because of its potential epic fail are dangerously wrong.

I truly believe that with the proper conditions at play, she and Glenn Beck stand a decent chance of being the next POTUS and Veep.

Rapture...take me away.

Ken Muldrew

Huh, It would have never occurred to me that this might be done on purpose to send a signal to her followers. If true, it would be the most appalling indictment of America that I've heard in some time (and I've heard some whoppers). Could anyone really be foolish enough to see this as a sign of leadership?

While we're on the subject, I wonder if anyone has any insight into Sarah Palin's complete avoidance of ever using "Jesus" in her rhetoric. She talks about God a lot, but has never once mentioned Jesus. All the evangelicals that I know have a kind of personal relationship with Jesus, and seem to bring him into the most unlikely conversations. Palin seems to have a studious aversion to ever mentioning the name. Do you suppose that she thinks it to be in poor taste to talk eponymously?

Zach

I think they mean that she is too wrapped up in her own self. It’s obviously all about her.


As well as this precise trait has worked for Mr. Obama thus far, I'd say she's located what is pretty clearly the Platonic Ideal of a winning electoral strategy.

Well.. self-enrapturement being so ugly in a girl and so good, right and estimable in a man. But other than that.

Scott de B.

I don't follow this argument. I agree it won't affect her standing with her base, but I have a problem with the following statement:

"Make fun of that about her and you are making fun of everybody whose knees shake, voice fails, lips go dry, foreheads sweat, and minds go blank when they’re put in front of an audience of any size. "

Except that public speaker is her _job_. That's what politicians do. When Jose Canseco had a baseball bounce off his head, we all laughed, even though most of us couldn't catch a high fly ball on the run. How is this different?

a1

Sorry guys....you really should start shaving with Occam's Razor at some point. The super-secret mysterious reason Sarah Palin had that writing on her hand was: Sarah Palin is a dummy and a chump.

And I completely disagree with the idea that this is going to end up having some positive effect for Palin. Many people (and all remaining Palin fans), don't bother to understand the world around them, so her idiotic answers usually don't register as stupid in their heads. They don't know what the "Bush Doctrine" or "Department of Law" is either, so they literally don't know how stupid her answers are. They can delude themselves into thinking those facts are just liberal trivia and she has some "Real American Wisdom" or some such.

However, they can recall a kid in their grammar or high school who tried that hand stunt to pass a test, and they can recall that the kid did that because he was a dummy. A chump. A loser-in-training. Know how they *didn't* think of such a kid? As cool. As older beyond their years. As a leader. Those are the associations even Palin fans will have problems ignoring, and why the only reason this isn't her "Dukakis in the tank" moment is I'm 100% sure she's going to do something even more stupid before 2012 comes around.

Lance

Scott, I'm glad you asked me that. Let's me pick on Jose Canseco.

Start with this. Canseco was far from beloved. And I don't think anybody regarded him as much of a fielder. But if you were to pick-on a truly popular player, a real gold glover, for losing a ball in the sun, you probably wouldn't get a lot of laughs.

Then there's this. Canseco was paid a lot of money not to make boneheaded errors on a regular basis. But few people would regard some hastily scrawled notes as an an error. The error happens---the errors happen---when Palin opens her mouth and starts trying to turn her notes into fleshed out ideas.

So, my point isn't that we can't make fun of Palin. It's that we shouldn't treat the notes as equivalent to what she actually says.

Then there's the difference between what people expect of a professional athlete and what they expect of a politician, and nobody expects professional athletes to be "regular folks." They are paid not to be regular folks. They are paid to be practically demi-gods.

But we do expect our political leaders to be regular folks, that it, like us, because we need them to represent us. We need them to understand, sympathize with, and care about us and our problems. Even I, elitist that I am, want me political leaders to be regular folks in that way. I just have a different definition of "regular folks" than most regular folks have and I think there are more requirements for being able to deliver than Palin posseses. Palin's lack of those requirements aren't as obvious to a lot of people as they ought to be. That she needs to make notes to herself isn't going to strike them as proof that she lacks them or as a sign of what it is she lacks. It's just going to strike them as one of the ways she is like regular folks.

Ron

Jesus, she should have just wrote "$100,000" on her hand. That should have been enough to keep her blabbing.

KLG

a1: What you say is true, but that doesn't mean that Bible Spice didn't do this on purpose. And as a scientist, I love Occam's Razor. But I have seen people cut their throat with it, too.

Anne D.

Lance,

Does Palin remind you of Andy Griffith's character in the movie, "A Face in the Crowd"? Maybe she studied his folksy manner.

nothstine

I agree with LM in general on this, but now that NYT agrees too, I'm nervous:

To Ace This Interview, Palin Keeps Close Notes

Michael Bartley

Lance, if you're right, and you may be, then we are stuck in scat with little hope of getting out. I have no doubt her supporters will love the notes and ignore the whole teleprompter hypocrisy and absurdity as well as all the other insane splooge that leaps from her folksy mouth. But, come on, she has to cheat sheet her talking points with energy, tax cuts, and lift America's spirits. Maybe some complex data or interesting factoid or numbers for heavens sake but lifting America's spirit. Wow, if that makers her just like us then we sure are...what's the word? Oh, yeah dumb as rocks. Is that right? Hmn, better check that. Oh, and no offense to the rocks.

Crystal

I think it's doubtful that she deliberately let it be seen just for some "just plain folks" cred since in that same speech the hypocrite mocked Obama for using a teleprompter.

libhomo

Sarah Palin certainly is not intelligent enough to be President. She also is not well enough informed on the issues of the day.

At least we know how she passed exams in school.

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