Last week, Sarah Palin made an appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show ‘The O’Reilly Factor‘ as part of her Going Rogue promotional tour. Although I didn’t catch it live – fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) I don’t get Fox News – I did have a chance to read a ‘rush’ transcript of the interview.
Surprisingly, Palin wasn’t completely terrible. She demonstrated a modest grasp of a variety of topical issues, from health care reform to Russia’s involvement in suppressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. I don’t necessarily agree with her views, but at least she sounded as though she holds some. Her ability to communicate them, however, was less impressive, and I’m starting to think that her limited vocabulary and inability to form coherent sentences is really what’s holding her back. Have a look at this particularly interesting response:
O’REILLY: Do you think that [Obama] wants to change the country into an entitlement society?
PALIN: We’re going to see, depending on his cap and tax bill that he will no doubt support coming out of Congress, that the health care bill, whatever that’s going to cost us and whatever the answers are there to all of our questions about the health care, we’re going to see, if he decides that he can kind of shift gears, change course, and move us back to more of a free enterprise, free market principles that built up this country, then my answer to you is going to be no, he’s not hell-bent on changing the capitalist society that we are. But if he is stubborn about this, then my answer to you is going to be well, his actions speak louder than our words, and yes, he’s going to change our capitalistic society.
You get a rough idea of what she’s trying to say, despite her stunningly poor grammar and syntax. If she learned to speak in short, declarative sentences, rather than meandering, scattered ones, Palin’s appeal would surely broaden. To be fair, though, her recent extended Iran/Iraq flub suggests that perhaps her grasp of policy is indeed as weak as her opponents suggests.
Interestingly, O’Reilly was also less generous with Palin than I would have expected. At a couple of points, he seems to question her responses, and presses her (if ever so gently) for clarification. It’s hardly hard-hitting investigative journalism, but at least it’s not the obvious fawning Fox New seems to have a reputation for. Here’s one such exchange:
O’REILLY: Honest, do you think he’s honest?
PALIN: I think that he has told us some things in the campaign. I think that he’s told us some things early on in his presidency that have not come to fruition. He was all about positive change, and I think a lot of Americans are believing that the change that he’s ushering in isn’t necessarily positive.
O’REILLY: Well, he says it is. I’m — you’re a conservative, so you don’t like it, but…
PALIN: How — positive in terms of creating debt for our children?
O’REILLY: No, but he says, you know what the arguments are. I mean, he says that, look, a lot of Americans can’t afford health insurance, the insurance companies are out of control, I’ve got to get them under control. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. You know, that’s his point of view.
PALIN: Let’s get the health care problems under control then. But let’s use free market, results-oriented, patient-centered solutions to do that. Tort reform, he’s not embracing any of those ideas. Getting rid of the waste and fraud that he insists today, if we would just get a handle on that, we could pay for this one point.
O’REILLY: Well, he says he’s going to get rid of the waste.
PALIN: Let’s do it right now then.