Re: Sarah Palin, revisited
We’ve all seen movies or TV shows in which the unlikely, different-from-the-norm character somehow acquires a position of influence. (For some reason the mid-’80s classics Brewster’s Millions and Protocol spring to mind.) And it always seems so utterly natural when they convey their charmingly naive selves with perfect ease when the plot puts them before microphones and reporters’ cameras.
Now, I’ve no reason to have even formed expectations for Sarah Palin, but the inaccuracy of Everyman’s eloquence in film came to mind when I watched her interview with Katie Couric (once, that is, I got over Couric’s crystal clear conveyance of scorn). Palin’s pauses followed by a repeat of what she’d just said are strongly suggestive of a mental Rolodex flipping: The question is asked, an answer thought, the answer compared against a lists of dos and don’ts, and a more compatible answer sought and spoken. Whether that’s habitual or evidence of overhandling, I don’t know, but I’m still inclined to give a successful woman (in politics, no less!) the benefit of the doubt on that count.
With that, I’ll confess a certain personal sympathy to her plight. There are a number of activities at which I’m reasonably competent, and sometimes, I find new ones that I’m able to learn with relative rapidity. The premier exception to that general proposition is sales, and I think the reason is that my strategy when faced with new challenges is to fit their components to my skills and personality, whereas sales require one to make a skill of mirroring personalities. When, for example, I’ve been tasked with managing people as part of my job, I’ve fallen back on my organizational abilities and willingness to fill any gaps personally (staying ahead of coworkers and leading by example, as it were). An extemporaneous motivator, I am not, so when I’ve been pressed to be more taskmaster than job-site adviser, I’ve found myself at a loss.
There’s something of that in Palin’s awkward pauses and garbled responses, I think. The loner struggling to hew to the team line for the greater cause. I could, of course, be projecting. Although perhaps it’s still possible (albeit a hair shy of fantastical) that the campaign is using the media’s predictable hostility to lull the other side into yet another rope-a-dope.