IN WHICH I ACTUALLY DEFEND SARAH PALIN
I put up a post last night about Sarah Palin's interview with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, but I was apparently completely oblivious to the big story:
...In an interview with ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas, the Republican vice-presidential nominee was asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by the daily attacks on the campaign trail, and would instead pack it in and return to her home state of Alaska.
"I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that would bring this whole ... I'm not doing this for naught," Palin said....
I have to cut her a break here, much as it kills me to do so.
Let's go back to the transcript for the relevant portion of the interview:
ELIZABETH VARGAS: If it doesn't go your way on Tuesday ... 2012?
GOV SARAH PALIN: I'm just ... thinkin' that it's gonna go our way on Tuesday, November 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of ... of the people will be revealed on that day. As they enter that voting booth, they will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets. ...
VARGAS: But the point being that you haven't been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, "I've had it. I'm going back to Alaska."
PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that ... that would ... bring this whole ... I'm not doin' this for naught.
Atrios quotes CNN's Wolf Blitzer saying,
...It is one of those "wow, she is talking about 2012 if we lose," that is not supposed to be something that you say. You are supposed to say, "well, I'm not looking ahead, I'm not looking ahead only to Tuesday," and those are the talking points she's supposed to be saying, but she is obviously blunt and she is looking ahead if something were to happen on Tuesday that she wouldn't be happy with.
But she does give a version of the I'm-thinking-about-Tuesday line.
And I'm not really clear what she's saying (I'm not sure she's really clear what she's saying) in that second answer. She doesn't seem as goal-directed, as 2012-directed, as she could be -- and I don't doubt for a second that, if she thought it was the thing to do for herself right now, she'd unabashedly express that kind of ambition. It just seems as if, in the second question, she's thinking about a generalized sense of being victimized and wanting to say she's tough, you betcha, and won't back down. And she does throw a "we" in there.
I believe she doesn't have a strong bond with John McCain, to say the least (see the previous post). But I also think she has a strong emotional investment in their shared narrative of grievance.
And my guess is that she doesn't have a real plan for the future. She may really think a win is possible (I think so, too). In the event of a loss, I think she's just going to weigh a lot of offers, some of which move her toward a 2012 run, some of which could move her into competition with Oprah or The Hills.
So I'm not going to read too much into this -- though I'm not shedding any tears at the fact that the rest of the political commentariat wants to make it an issue.