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Palin's Fox Debut on O'Reilly: Just Another Worn-Out Campaign Speech

Reported by Julie - January 13, 2010 -

Last night (1/12/09) was the debut of Sarah Palin's Fox News gig on The O'Reilly Factor – and . . . wait, what the hell happened to the cutesy Palin we saw on the campaign trail, the one with the winks, and the snappy (scripted) comebacks, and the ($35,000) make-up and flirty manner? All I saw last night was a woman with pursed lips, tense as a coiled wire, nervous as a cat, stumbling all over herself and, well, not any smarter, that's for sure. But O'Reilly wasn't about to treat her like a star – he's the king of Fox, and aims to stay that way. Her lack of confidence and uncertainty was glaring from get, but it didn't get any better when she figured out that O'Reilly was actually going to conduct a (gasp) interview, and, whatever his motives, hold her feet to the fire from time to time. Where, oh where, are Palin-love-festers Sean Hannity and Greta van Susteren when she needs 'em? With video.

O'Reilly came right out of the gate ripping on the left, showing clips of various talk show hosts and pundits, including Ed Schultz/The Ed Show (“Isn't Sarah Palin going to work for Fox News like just a Godsend to anybody who wants some comedy on the radio?), Chris Matthews (“How can she be a pundit, she doesn't know anything!”), and Paul Begala (“Unfortunately there's just gonna be one more ignorant right-winger at Fox News”), poking fun at Palin. (I mean, come on, isn't that the national pastime?) In a shocking move, O'Reilly took the opportunity to tout his own ratings.

Introduce Palin, plug the book, go.

There was no way O'Reilly was going to let Palin get the upper hand on The Factor. He led off with, “It's almost funny that these people feel that you're such a threat to them.”

Palin launched the start of what I will forever term Palinanities, and for the balance of the interview we were treated to a variety of campaign slogans that, as we've come to expect from Palin, lacked any substance whatsoever. O'Reilly, to his credit, seemed unimpressed.

If it's possible to gush in a monotone, Palin gushed, “I'm so appreciative of the opportunity to get to work with you and the other team members here at Fox News to provide the fair and the balanced reporting and analysis that voters in this country deserve.”

O'Reilly again queried why she represented such a “threat,” to which Palin replied, “. . . They don't like the message, they don't like the common-sense conservative solutions that I think I represent and I articulate as I explain what I believe are some solutions to the great challenges facing America.” O'Reilly failed to take that whole “articulate” thing further – her inability to be articulate is, in fact, legendary. All he had to do was ask her what she reads.

O'Reilly did challenge her, though, saying, “That's true . . . But there are a lot of conservative politicians giving that message . . . .” Smooth, Bill – diminish her, move on. Okay, can I be candid? I know O'Reilly's a sexist S.O.B. who often treats women in a patronizing manner, but is it terribly hypocritical that this one time I don't mind?

O'Reilly noted that President Obama's poll numbers are “sinking,” which he thinks is the President's “unemotional response to terrorists” and the “healthcare debacle.”

“Of course they're sinking,” Palin said somberly, from her point of infinite wisdom, then went on to do her (in)articulation thing, saying, “It was just a matter of time before more of that reflection of the people's uncomfortable-ness that they feel towards this administration is manifesting in these poll numbers. There is an obvious disconnect between President Obama and the White House what they are doing to our economy and what they are doing in terms of not allowing Americans to feel as safe as we had felt and people finally saying you know this is not the representative form of government that we thought that we had voted in . . . We want these common sense solutions with health care, with jobs, with the economy, with the war on terror, to be implemented so we can get back on the right track.” Since O'Reilly chose not to explore those “common sense solutions” she “articulated.” she chose not to offer any specifics.

O'Reilly once again showed her who was boss, saying skeptically, “Isn't it true that no human being could lower the unemployment rate at this point . . . If Sarah Palin and John McCain were in, could they bring unemployment down under 10% and I'm not sure you could.”

Palin, with a deer-in-the-headlights look, responded, “. . . Can any individual politician change the job forecast outlook no, but what government can do is get out of the way of the private sector being able to seize opportunities to grow and to thrive and prosper and hire more people . . . A policy does that by reducing taxes on the job creators, by getting government out of the way of the private sector.” For a second there I thought I was back in the fall of 2008, listening to a campaign speech. You know, the campaign speeches that may have lost them the election.

Palin elaborated, “The White House wants to take another 1/6th of our economy . . . from the private sector's hands . . . and put it in government hands, that's another step towards greater unemployment numbers, it's another step toward greater growth of government which is the wrong track . . . .” What about the flip side, those who have lost their jobs – and health insurance? And what about Palin's home state, the state she abandoned to flit around the country on a book tour and recite memorized talking points on Fox but still professes to care so much about? As reported by healthreform.gov, in Alaska, “120,000 residents who do not currently have insurance and 27,000 residents who have nongroup insurance could get affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange . . . 52,600 residents could qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health coverage . . . 59,400 seniors would receive free preventive services . . . 10,600 seniors would have their brand-name drug costs in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” halved.” And with regard to small businesses – that “private sector” the government should “get out of the way” of, “8,600 small businesses could be helped by a small business tax credit to make premiums more affordable . . . While small businesses make up 78 percent of Alaska’s businesses, only 32 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2008. 8,600 small businesses in Alaska could be helped by a small businesses tax credit proposal that makes premiums more affordable. And these small businesses would be exempt from any employer responsibility provisions.” Walk away from the State as Governor, then kick it in the teeth.

O'Reilly was dismissive: “They won on that . . . he was a big government liberal.”

Palin weakly argued, “There were promises made, though . . . that he is not keeping obviously . . . .”

“There are always promises, you know that,” O'Reilly said, again dismissively.

Palin, rattled, blathered, “I think, there more, it's a more glaring situation today, though, than we have seen in past administrations. There were such, um, such, such clear promises, such blatant promises . . . like a bipartisan approach.” A more “glaring situation” of broken campaign promises than “past administrations?” Really? There is a long list of campaign promises broken by George W. - despite his campaign promises otherwise, he gutted Americorps, gutted AIDS funding, cut funding for the environment, his budget in 2002 included the first federal deficit since 1997, failed to pay down the national debt, failed to increase funding for energy assistance for low-income people . . . well, you get the drift. And as for blaming President Obama for lack of bipartisanship – there is, after all, a reason the Republicans have been labeled by many as the “Party of No.”

O'Reilly, perhaps giving up on deciphering her gibberish, moved on.

Playing a clip of Nancy Pelosi, Palin told O'Reilly that she met Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol Building, as Pelosi was giving schoolkids a tour.

Palin, unable to keep her mean-spirited soul in check for long, sniped, “I thought, well, that's nice that she has that time on her hands that she can do that.”

O'Reilly gave a little patronizing laugh, and with a tinge of disgust that appeared to be directed at Palin, said, “Yeah, but the school children need to be led.”

Palin quickly backed off the sniping, saying, “That's what I'm saying, it was nice.”

When asked her opinion on Harry Reid's comments, she was a bit careful, saying, “You can't defend those comments . . . That way of thinking is quite foreign to I think most Americans today . . . A lot of us don't think along those lines that somebody's skin tone would be criteria, qualification for the presidency . . . I don't believe that he's a racist, but I don't believe that Trent Lott was a racist either and that double standard . . . and that hypocrisy is another reason why so many Americans are quite disgusted with the political games that are played . . . in this case on the left wing what they are playing with this game of racism and . . . letting Harry Reid's comments slide but having crucified Trent Lott for essentially along the same lines.” The left and the game of racism . . . hmmm, and Trent Lott's not a racist? It wasn't just the way he allied himself with Strom Thurmond. Since the 70's, Lott has on multiple occasions been on the wrong side of racial issues, not the least of which are his ties since the 90's with the Council of Conservative Citizens. As reported by the Nation, CCC is “a successor organization to the old white Citizens Councils, segregation-era groups the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as 'the white-collar Ku Klux Klan.' The C of CC may have changed its name, but it remains a passionate 'white racialist' group that condemns intermarriage, integration and immigration by non-whites.”

With regard to Harry Reid, on the other hand, as noted by Newsweek, “Turnabout is fair play, right? Well, only if you don't understand the difference between endorsing a pro civil rights African-American's presidential campaign and anti-civil rights white man's one. Reid's comments, though he used archaic language, were simply a frank political assessment of how America could best achieve the goal of an African-American president. If it were up to the likes Trent Lott, that day would never have come.” (Take it and run, Fox Nation.)

O'Reilly decided to get tricky, noting that in the next few weeks President Obama is going to have to do something about Iran, and asked her opinion. You could almost hear her thinking, Iran, Iran, now which one is that? I always get that confused with Iraq . . . or is it Pakistan? Shit, time to pull out the campaign speech bites.

“The time for talking about sanctions, I think we've past that.”

“We need to follow through on those financial terms that are favoring some Iranian businesses.”

O'Reilly interjected, “But you figure that they're doing that, right?” then asked bluntly, “Would you attack them, would you let Israel attack them?”

Palin repeated her Biden debate performance, choosing not to answer the tough questions, and basically answering different questions than those asked, and returning to her campaign sound bites.

"I think that we can still head in that direction of the financial sanctions . . . .”

“ . . . We've talked about it enough.”

“There has been no change except for change for the worse.”

“The time for talking, that's enough.”

“We want to make sure that we and our allies are following through now on those threats . . . .”

O'Reilly interrupted her practice of her 2012 campaign speech, asking directly, “If the Iranians don't stop their nuclear program should we attack?”

You can actually see Palin slump, realizing she was caught, but still not willing to give up her agenda.

“I think that obviously we need to adhere to those sanctions, those threats. . . .”

O'Reilly interrupted her, appeared disgusted, and stated flatly, “So you're not ready to say, we gotta get 'em if they don't.”

Palin – most likely because she had not idea what she was talking about – resorted to more platitudes and a few more campaign speech tidbits.

"A military attack needs to be our very very last option.”

“What I would like to see the Obama Administration do though is convince Americans that they would be willing to do anything, anything that needs to be done to protect America and its allies . . . .”

As Priscilla from News Hounds recently reported, Fox is the place for washed-up, has-been politicians and yesterday's Republican operatives (and by the way, Priscilla, I'm sorry to tell you, but Palin didn't bring even a teensy bit more to the table than in her non-Fox campaign interviews). It's my firm belief – given this debut performance – that if she's not a washed-up, has-been yet, a couple more segments like this one will seal the deal.

Oh, and by the way, if there is a God – Palin 2012.