Sarah Palin Makes Her Debut: ‘Strange and Illuminating’

PalinGibsong_9.11.jpgIt was the television we’ve all been waiting for &#151 at least for the last seven days. Parts one and two of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson aired last night, and as you might imagine a lot of people had a lot to say about the Alaskan governor’s introduction to the press, and, you know, the fact she needed to have the Bush Doctrine explained to her by a very professorial looking Gibson (did anyone else get a My Fair Lady flash during that segment?). After the jump we take a quick look at the early reactions, and Joan Walsh isn’t pulling any punches.

Jack Shafer says Palin recited “as if reading from a Teleprompter inside her head…At every point in the Q&A, Gibson had the right follow-up questions to elicit more from Palin, including after he asked the Bush Doctrine cringe-maker. He asks her to give thumbs up or down to the U.S. military’s recent forays into Pakistan from Afghanistan. He asks her several ways. But she can’t answer the question, and she won’t dismiss it. Instead she slows the interview to a crawl again, dribbling and dribbling the ball but refusing to take the shot.”

At the Times Alessandra Stanley says: “It was a strained and illuminating conversation…Ms. Palin, who kept inserting Mr. Gibson’s nickname, Charlie, into her answers, as if to convey an old hand’s conviviality, tried to project self-confidence, poise and even expertise: She let Mr. Gibson know that she had personally reassured the Georgian president and correctly pronounced his last name, Saakashvili. At times, her eyes looked uncertain and her voice hesitated, and she looked like a student trying to bend prepared answers to fit unexpected questions. Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair, impatiently wriggling his foot, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee but doesn’t believe she merits admission.

And over at Salon Joan Walsh says: “9/11/2008 could well be remembered as a low point in GOP history. It’s the day we learned beyond any doubt that John McCain put his manhood in a blind trust to win the presidency… The fact that Sarah Palin sat for her humiliating interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson on 9/11 is one of those strange serendipitous events that makes one believe there’s order in the universe. Remember how 9/11 changed everything, especially our new seriousness about the larger world and foreign policy? Never again would we risk a president, maybe not even a senate candidate, without global experience and sophistication. What a mockery Palin made of all that. I’ll get criticized as sexist for saying this, but I would say the same thing about a man who sounded this ignorant: Talking to Charles Gibson tonight, Palin sometimes reminded me of poor Miss South Carolina, who, asked why many Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map, famously said: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps.”