Prettier than a political figure ought to be, Sarah Palin all but took off her famous glasses in an interesting but hardly seminal interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Oddly, it was as much Winfrey's interview as Palin's. And Winfrey seemed as taken with Gov. Palin as Palin’s conservative followers are.
But don’t kid yourselves; just as Sarah Palin was on Oprah Winfrey’s stage trying to rehabilitate her image with the American public, Winfrey was there to do the same. In fact, she started off her interview asking Palin if she had felt snubbed by Winfrey during the elections and qualifying why Oprah had not interviewed Palin or Hillary Clinton during those contentious days.
Winfrey, of course, had not only endorsed then candidate Barack Obama for the post of president, but had actively campaigned for him. Winfrey stated her reason for not interviewing the other candidates saying that since she had gone public with her Obama endorsement, she didn’t feel she should interview the other candidates.
Winfrey, did, however, turn her celebrated talk show into a platform for Barack Obama. But her ratings following the election took a decided hit. Many women didn’t cotton to Winfrey forcing her political views on them and some were upset that Winfrey hadn't backed either of the women candidates.
So Winfrey and Palin chatted away on Winfrey's talk show, both seeking to rehabilitate themselves with their respective audiences, tackling an array of subjects from the aforementioned Oprah snub to whether Palin felt qualified for the job of vice-president – she never questioned her ability to do the job – to her teenage daughter’s pregnancy – Palin admits she wasn’t happy about the pregnancy as if any mother would be – to the now infamous Katie Couric interview that brought down Palin in the public’s eyes – Palin thought Couric was out to get her – to her learning that the child she was carrying was a Downe Syndrome child.
It was here Winfrey failed her audience. Palin was honest in saying what a trauma it had been to learn that she was carrying a special needs child. She admitted to experiencing a moment when she understood why a woman in that position would consider taking “the easy way out.” Winfrey didn’t press Palin, rabidly anti-abortion, any further.
Too bad, as the subject of abortion is very much on American’s minds these days with the Stupak Amendment to the health care bill, the most radical anti-abortion legislation in decades.
And didn’t the viewers want at least a taste of Palin’s intellect? In the spirit of the softball interview that it was – Winfrey suddenly the champion of women political candidates after the election that had two women running for the top political tickets without the talk show host’s endorsement – didn’t throw the curve.
Instead, Mary Hart Winfrey turned the conversation to Palin’s hunk of a husband, Todd. And then moved on to the must-ask question considering all the publicity he’s been getting, to the father of her grandchild, Levi Johnston, about to bare it all in Playgirl.
Although at first she said she wouldn’t talk about Johnston, who has been on a rampage against all things Palin since he and Bristol broke-up, she apparently couldn’t help herself and took Oprah’s bait, calling Johnston, first, “Ricky Hollywood,” and then “an aspiring Porn” star. I can just imagine Trip watching that footage in his teen years. Oy!
Of course, there was the proverbial footage of Palin being ‘just a mom,’ shuttling her daughter Piper trick-or-treating followed by footage of Palin working-out, then Palin making caramel apples with her kids. Yes, Sarah, we get it. You are not a bad mommy even though your teenage daughter was sexually active in high school and bore a child out-of-wedlock. By the way, the Palin’s two youngest daughters were in the audience – as props? – as the cameras recorded the adorable girls for all the world to see.
On the subject of losing the election, Palin admitted to disappointment, particularly since the McCain campaign wouldn’t give her a voice following McCain’s concession speech. Of course, who wouldn’t be disappointed? She said she so wanted to voice her hope that at the end of the day all American’s would come together in a bi-partisan love-fest, fat chance in these times, thanks, to Palin and the rest of our current cast of politicians.
Winfrey asked why Palin had quit her job as Alaska Governor. Palin suggested that it was impossible for her to do her job as she had prior to being named McCain’s running-mate, what with "Obama’s opposition researchers" up in Alaska looking for everything they could get on Palin. Of course, there are many governors who have lost national elections in America’s history and successfully fulfilled their obligation to their states.
Palin quoted her dad to help make her case for resigning from the governorship: “She’s not retreating, she’s reloading,” she quoted her father as having said.
And then, the question that everyone was waiting for, which, of course, Palin, would never answer honestly. “Have you given thought to running for president in 2012?"
Blessed with a gorgeous smile, Sarah used it to her best advantage, but for those glasses, we missed the twinkle in her eye.
“You don’t need a title to make a difference,” the future Oprah? said.
Sarah has yet to prove she's ready for political prime-time.
c. 2009. Reprints with permission.
Halli Casser-Jayne is the author of A YEAR IN MY PAJAMAS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA, The Politics of Strange Bedfellows. You can read more of her opinions at http://www.thecjpoliticalreport.com