Palin: Dumb or a victim of text anxiety?



I have no basis whatsoever for this assessment other than my own observations â?? I'm putting it out there now â?? but hear me out:

As VP candidate Sarah Palin bafflingly continues her cringe-worthy series of interviews with the suddenly fierce Katie Couric, the latest round was less outright painful, but provided more than enough time for Palin to freeze up on a pretty basic question.

Is it brain freeze? Join me after the jump for an open question:


When asked to name any of her personal news sources â?? Where do you get your news from? â?? Palin (a journalism major) couldn't come up with it. After pausing, she finally answered, "All of them!"

Adding insult to injury, Jonathan Martin reported that an outtake from the initial interview with Couric contained a bit in which Palin was unable to name any Supreme Court cases save for Roe vs. Wade, and instead sat in silence. I haven't seen this confirmed, however.

Equally embarrassing was that Palin brought Grandpa John along with her for the portion of the interview on foreign relations. To clarify her earlier gaffe in saying that she is in favor of doing "whatever it takes" to stop terrorism, including invading Pakistan without the country's approval. McCain stepped to her defense, saying Couric was playing "gotcha journalism," though Palin's initial claim was made at a Philly restaurant to a citizen, not a journalist. And it was on camera. And McCain, after calling it "gotcha journalism" proceeded to ask about a pizza place. Ouch.

All of this is a lot to process. In fact, if someone were to ask me right now, "What policies of Palin's do you disagree with?" I'm starting to wonder if I might also sit silently.

Don't get me wrong, I disagree with all of them (except that evolution should be taught as the academically accepted foundation of science â?? all of a sudden she's on board with that?!). But watching Palin completely freeze when asked about her news sources reminded me of a phenomenon I've experienced a lot, and I know plenty out there have.

For instance, I'm a music critic. I spend 8-12 hours a day, sometimes more, writing about, listening to and watching live shows of bands. Bands all day and night. But sometimes, if you catch me at the right time, if you were to ask me, "What's your favorite band?", not only would I not be able to come up with my favorite, I might not come up with any. Not a single band that ever existed. The overwhelming simplicity of the question makes me overload a bit. I run through my playlist, my CD and record covers at home, hell, my dry-erase board at work filled with bands I either just wrote about or have on the planner for the coming month. And the names are all blurred out. Like a bad dream.

It's text anxiety, I guess. If you're exhausted, or inundated, enough (as i'm sure Palin is about now), anyone's capable of losing entire portions of their memory. And not to cut her too much slack â?? I mean, I'm sorry running for Veep is hard, but it's the White House we're talking â?? but I'm beginning to suspect she knows plenty more than she's able to express. It's not that she's dumb (though I'd certainly give you "unqualified," as ultra-conservative George Will told Senate aides on Monday) but maybe she just plain freezes?

I dunno. I'm no psychologist, but I'm trying to be open here and not just shrug off the potential future President. What do you guys think? (Keep it civilized, shall we?) Is Palin a vacuous puppet, or can she not take a test very well and happens to be taking the biggest one in the nation, in public, right now?

Squalor back.

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