Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Palin's Shocking Admission: Not Tough Enough to Be President

3 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
Sarah Palin can't expect anyone to take her seriously as a presidential candidate -- not after what she said this week.

In recent days, the former Alaska governor and Tea Party fave has been on a tear against Journolist, a list-serv for nearly 500 journalists, policy wonks and academics, most of whom are self-identified liberals working for self-identified liberal outfits. The participants on this off-the-record e-mail chain promoted their work, debated politics and policy (occasionally quite sharply), and traded and tested ideas for articles and columns. Last month, The Daily Caller, a conservative website, began running articles based on Journolist archives it somehow obtained. Some conservatives immediately denounced Journolist as a secret cabal that established a party line for the dreaded liberal media.

Palin was one such right-winger. On Tuesday, citing a Daily Caller article that focused on how several liberal opinion journalists in 2008 were pondering how to respond to stories about Jeremiah Wright (Barack Obama's controversial reverend), she contended that Journolist was proof that the mainstream media -- or, as she calls it, the "lamestream" media -- is biased, characterizing Journolist members as " 'prominent' mainstream media personalities." That was a misrepresentation: writers and bloggers for The Nation, The American Prospect, Mother Jones (my home base), the Center for American Progress, the New American Foundation, and other liberal media organizations and think tanks are not usually considered mainstream media leaders. (The founder of Journolist, Ezra Klein, did move from The American Prospect to The Washington Post, but he was knowingly hired by the newspaper as a liberal blogger.) It's hardly surprising that out-of-the-closet progressives would share progressive ideas with colleagues. Journolist was no conspiracy; it was a community -- a virtual bar, without booze. I explain all that here. (Membership declared: I was a mostly nonactive member of Journolist; I haven't used it in years.)

Palin's blast revealed deep ignorance. Journolistas were generally not prominent MSMers. And the few prominent journalists who were part of Journolist were mostly already known as commentators of a liberal bent. Yet Palin was pretending that Journolist was evidence of an MSM cabal. Worst, she tweeted, "forget freedom of speech and freedom of the press if these yahoos ever get their way in America."

During an interview with The Daily Caller, she went further, calling Journolisters "sick puppies" -- as she reacted to another article on the now-defunct list-serv revealing e-mail messages sent the day John McCain surprisingly picked Palin to be his running mate. In these e-mails, several participants -- including two Mother Jones reporters who worked for me at the time -- pondered why McCain had picked Palin and what would be an effective critique of her. That liberal reporters would privately discuss how best to criticize a conservative politician whose policies they oppose does not strike me as shocking. In fact, I am certain that during the 2008 campaign journalists at conservative media outfits talked among themselves about how best to puncture Obama.

But Palin was offended. In responding to The Daily Caller piece, though, she conceded a major point about herself: She does not possess a hardy enough constitution to be president. In that interview, The Daily Caller reports, Palin
said the media became a key reason she decided not to finish out her term as governor.
Consider that for a moment. Eight months after the grueling 2008 campaign was over, Palin, by her own admission, was not tough enough to handle the media and had to quit her job as Alaska governor. After confessing that, how can she possibly present herself as presidential timber? If she allowed herself to be hounded out of office in Juneau by the big bad press, could she withstand the slings and arrows of the media while under pressure in the White House?

This part of her reaction to The Daily Caller article is a tell. Looking to scapegoat the media for her decision to quit -- a decision widely described at the time on the left and right as bizarre -- she displays her own weakness. Does a true commander in chief turn tail when "sick puppies" bark?

I wonder if Palin meant to reveal this much. Possibly, she was lazily exploiting the latest Journolist revelation. Bashing the liberal media is good for Sarah Inc. It sells books and six-figure speeches. And it's good politics, for this theme is an oldie-but-goody relished by the GOP base and Tea Partiers -- the sort of voters who will dominate the Republican Party's 2012 presidential primaries. Still, saying that she could not do her job in Alaska because of pesky reporters is a true admission of weakness. If you can't stand the heat from reporters (including the ferocious liberals of Journolist), how can you be strong enough to deal with the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Taliban, and, oh yes, the terrorists? They're a bit more fierce than Katie Couric.

******

One of my Twitter followers, Greytdog, sent me this tweet on Thursday: "perhaps the question should be why is the media obsessed w/Sarah Palin who hasn't done anything except quit & twit." Good point. But given that there is a chance she will run for president in 2012 -- and be a credible candidate with a base of supporters and fundraising potential -- that means there is a chance she will become president. (I'm not handicapping the odds of either possibility.) Consequently, she deserves to remain under close scrutiny from journalists. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Ronald Reagan was regarded by some as a joke: a Grade B movie actor pitching for GE and then Barry Goldwater. He certainly warranted watching.

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter.

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

52 Comments

Filter by:
kaykells

Palin will definitely try to run for WH in 2012 so she can keep the war chest when she does not get the Republican nomination. It is wise that she do so because after trying twice, she will certainly become passe and while you may find her on Fox, her days as tea party darling will be done. I predict that while Jindal thinks the new black is brown, he too, will get nowhere because no matter what, the powers that be want the WH to be white, if you get my drift.

July 29 2010 at 8:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Sharon

oh come on, George Bush was president for 8 years....Palin could certainly pull it off!

July 29 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
cclawnj

You've got an argument, but your headline is impermissibly misleading.

July 28 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
brian5896

You people are clearly scared to death of Sarah Palin! Quite funny for those of us who know her.

July 28 2010 at 3:11 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Roger

Imagine her as president giving a speech and refering to her hand for notes on what is supposedly her views, then making up words and butchering the english language all the while comparing herself to Shakespere and then when the media asks her questions about herself or becomes critical she up and quits.
I for one hope this never happens.

July 28 2010 at 2:44 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
bbarr01

"That liberal reporters would privately discuss how best to criticize a conservative politician whose policies they oppose does not strike me as shocking." - of course it doesn't which is why you are so incompetent at your job! The problem with all the liberals in the media is exactly that comment. We Americans want reporters to "REPORT", it we were looking for your political opinions, we would ask you.

July 28 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply
SandhillsRider

Anyone notice that none of Obama's appointees ever had a real job? All came from the academic profession. How about at least running a popcicle stand before running a government agency!

July 27 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse +23 rate up rate down Reply
bharrison777

Hate to point out to you Mr. Corn but if Ms. Palin is being quoted then it should be in quotes. Since it is not, I guess this is what you understood she said. There is a difference.

July 27 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse +21 rate up rate down Reply
Howard O'Dell

well i think sara is more than tough enough to be our president

July 26 2010 at 6:56 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
ddan8719

Come on.. if a door to door community activist can be elected to the seat...Why not a former govenor..

July 26 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to ddan8719's comment
newmomforty

I know you are deliberately being insulting to the POTUS, but I'll bite. By the way, you can't be taken seriously by comparing an early job of the POTUS with the last job Palin QUIT.

President Obama was Senator Obama in his last job and a Constitutional Law Professor before that. He also was the President of the Harvard Law Review. All no easy tasks. And yeah, his experience as a community organizer led to the most brilliant, and successful, campaign in US history. One which Palin, I might add, is busy studying. Jesus was a community organizer too, if you remember, so don't knock it. Moreover, he has now had nearly 2 years as POTUS.

Palin on the other hand was the sometime sports-girl, PTA member, part-time mayor who hired a city manager to do the actual work (for a town of fewer than 5,000! and yes, the actual job was a part-time position as described by the current mayor of Wasilla), and finally, governor for 18 months until she was nominated. During those 18 months her biggest accomplishments were increasing the tax on the oil business and giving it to the people (unfettered socialism) and supporting/taking credit for ethics reform and gas line legislation passed by the Democrats! During those 18 months the legislature wore Where's Sarah? buttons because she was never around. (Later we discover she was charging the taxpayers per diems for siting in her bedroom watching TV and eating Taco Bell crunchwrap tacos!). She was gone 2 months campaigning and during the 8 months after the election until she quit she didn't do anything but mope.

Yeah, I'll take the community organizer any day.

July 28 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Woods

A former governor who quit her job for money!

July 29 2010 at 4:51 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
robert-and-donna-trussell
CHAOS THEORY
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>