Alex Massie

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is Susan Alexander...

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Amusing comment left on this post that dared to observe that Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric was less than wholly impressive:

what do you know. english marxist hates palin. she did better than biden.

Well, it's a point of view. What's more interesting is the question why Palin has been so poor. The easy answer, of course, is that she's just not up to it and certainly that's the obvious, immediate impression one gets from her Couric interview. So much so, in fact, that one can't help but feel rather sorry for her. Yet my sense is that, while she's clearly no foreign policy maven, she's dramatically under-performed the (quite low) expectations even folk predisposed to give her a chance were prepared to grant. She isn't usually - or, if you prefer, necessarily - a babbling, incoherent wreck. See this Charlie Rose interview for example. So, again, why? Nerves, clearly. Also the sense, one imagines she may feel, that she may be out of her depth. The vastness of the stage too.

In fact, her performance is akin to that of an actor who, suffering from stage fright, forgets her first line and then, trying to get back on track, finds herself jumbling lines from this scene with ones from the rest of the play, creating an entirely new, but alas nonsensical, text that loses the audience and, before long, the actor too. Soon you have no idea where you are or what comes next even though you do - or did half an hour ago - actually know the lines. Of course, on stage you might have other actors who could help you out. But TV interviews are a one-player show in which there's no hiding place.

Alternatively and, it must be said, less charitably, she's Susan Alexander and all the training in the world can't turn her into Maria Callas. Of course, that would leave John McCain to play Charles Foster Kane...

UPDATE: Ezra Klein has more. As does Chris Orr.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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