Here’s another notion with regard to Sarah Palin:
Maybe it isn’t fair to focus on her mean-spirited and ridiculously partisan statements.
Maybe it isn’t right to harp about her wildly irresponsible assessments of political foes – and even of former political allies.
Maybe it isn’t wise to note all of her missteps and misstatements as if they are evidence of a cavalier approach to politics and governing.
Maybe, just maybe, Palin is doing the best she can.
Maybe the woman who has just signed on as a Fox News contributor is not quite the bright star her supporters imagine and her critics fear. Maybe she is just a little bit dimmer than we thought.
That’s the clear implication of the passages in the new book of the 2008 presidential election, Game Change, by veteran political reporters John Heilemann (New York magazine) and Mark Halperin (Time magazine).
In the book, and in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview, 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s senior adviser, Steve Schmidt, describes Palin as a stunningly inept and ill-prepared contender for the vice presidency.
Schmidt portrays a rushed process that saw the selection of a political neophyte who was essentially ignorant regarding U.S. history and “a broad spectrum of national-security issues.”
“Her foreign policy tutors are literally taking her through, ‘This is World War I, this is World War II, this is the Korean War,'” Heilemann explained on “60 Minutes.” “This is the — how the Cold War worked. Steve Schmidt had gone to them and said, ‘She knows nothing.'”
Palin either did not know truth from fiction, or did not care to distinguish the two, according to Schmidt.
“There were numerous instances that she said things that were — that were not accurate that ultimately, the campaign had to deal with,” the McCain aide recalls. “And that opened the door to criticism that she was being untruthful and inaccurate. And I think that that is something that continues to this day.”
As an example, Schmidt reflected on Palin’s response to an official inquiry that detailed her ethical lapses as governor of Alaska: “She went out and said that, you know, ‘This report completely exonerates me.’ And in fact, it didn’t. You know, it’s the equivalent of saying down is up and up is down. It was provably, demonstrably untrue.”