Sarah Palin's interview on Fox-TV's Hannity & Colmes show Wednesday was confusing to me - it sounded like Obama's original, early platform slogans, listed one by one: reform, change, fighting cronyism and decrying the influence of lobbyists.
Beginning with rule one from the playbook on media manipulation, straight from the tactics of Edward Bernays, author of Propaganda (the 1926 original book adopted by Joseph Goebbels), the sure-fire way to get low-information voters on your side fast is by establishing an emotional connection. So with AIG's $85 billion dollar bail-out sending the market plunging 450 points, Hannity's first question to Palin was: So tell us, how did you feel when you first got the call from Senator McCain?
Not what you'd expect from McNeil-Lehrer? No, not very professional television journalism, but Hannity admits his right-wing bias openly, apparently unaware that millions of viewers would thereby question the accuracy and authenticity of anything that comes out of his mouth.
Sean's "deferential" treatment of Palin began by "humanizing" her with a quaint heart-tugging moment as she found out she had won the Veepstakes. This turned Palin's rare TV face time into a personal narrative, just as outlined by top media manipulation analysts. Hannity viewers got to see his softer, breathier delivery as he set up the softballs. Palin then explained she took McCain's offer without consulting her son because he was to be shipping off to Iraq anyway. Huh?? He'd be the first one I'd ask.
Palin's answers were all about reform, though extremely vague as to exactly who is to be reformed and who isn't. Long-winded and repetitive, her replies were peppered with questionable grammatical moments highlighted by "the family checkbook is being decimated" and "oversight has been lack" (my next t-shirt). But novelty shop suppliers will be hard pressed to get 365 days worth of "Palinisms" unless she starts doing a bit more press.
Hannity also asked Palin whether Obama had been exploiting the current financial crisis for political advantage. Palin agreed - Obama was guilty of "excessive partisanship", a hard criticism to understand given her come-out-swinging convention speech, snobbishly demeaning Obama's work in the inner city. But her complaints about the runaway "cronyism" in Washington (repeated three times) sound hauntingly like Obama's primary campaign thrust. And again, her extra special emphasis on those darn lobbyists is especially curious based on her extensive use of them in Alaska. Maybe she has some first hand experience of just how bad they are?
Palin touts herself as an outsider, a reformer, a maverick, someone who was inspired to run for office because of "toxic waste" coming from our "good old boy" leadership in Washington. But Palin sits unwilling to speak openly about the participation of those in her party who have held iron-fisted control of the White House and who have had their way on all major issues in Congress for the last 8 years. How can we trust her to make good on lofty promises while shielding the names of these "toxic" culprits prior to the election?
Her electrifying convention appearance showed her effectiveness in attack politics, but she refuses to elaborate on the specifics of how she will "ruffle feathers" and "crush gridlock", promising but not explaining who she opposes. Remember, Bush 43 crushed gridlock in DC too - by crushing his opposition and crumpling the Constitution.
Democrats have gone through a long, painstaking and hard-fought primary process highlighting major differences between "good old boy" Democrats and Democratic reformers. Though Obama just edged out Clinton, everybody including Sarah Palin recognizes that Obama could have put the election away by adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket - but chose principles over politics, even over sure victory. Palin mocked this as "weakness" attempting to retro-align herself with Hillary, but not to address the needs of her supporters, just to steal their votes away.
After Palin's segment, Hannity invited on Karl Rove, "the Architect" of everything wrong with U.S. politics today including the last two elections. Between Rove and Hannity, it was a blinding display of ping-pong propaganda, expertly framing McCain's knee-jerk statement that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" as genius, because it was reassuring, encouraging and inspiring to Americans while Obama's craven accusation that McCain is out-of-touch amounted to surrender of our global competitiveness - in other words, Obama was supposed to lie so other countries wouldn't celebrate. Amazing - I'm learning volumes here in case I ever want to con old ladies out of real estate. Oh, then Rove barked down Allan Colmes like a limp rag when he raised the number of lobbyists working in McCains campaign.
As I described yesterday, Hannity has finally been calling for hearings. He asked Palin about the need for investigations into corruption between campaign donors and politicians who sign off on legislation that benefits GSEs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Palin replied she thought a worse problem was the collusion between lawmakers and lobbyists. Unfortunately, Hannity believes any probe should be limited to Democratic targets and apparently, that nothing done by Republicans or the Bush administration warrants any such inquiry, despite mounds of evidence.
Coming up tomorrow night on part two of Hannity's exclusive interview? The personal side of Sarah Palin...