No one in the mainstream media had been harsher on Sarah Palin than Sally Quinn. In a blistering piece in the Washington Post earlier in the week she wrote, among other things:
Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job? She is the mother of five children, one of them a four-month-old with Down Syndrome. Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make? I’m the mother of only one child, a special needs child who is grown now. I know how much of my time and energy I devoted to his care. He always had to be my first priority. Of course women can be good mothers and have careers at the same time. I’ve done both. Yes, other women in public office have children. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has five children, but she didn’t get heavily involved in politics until they were older. A mother’s role is different from a father’s.
But now Quinn has seen Palin with her own eyes and is singing a different tune. On Fox today with Bill O’Reilly, Quinn had this to say:
I thought that she was amazing. in her speech. She was funny and smart and poised and confident. She gave a great speech, beautifully delivered. I think she is going to be a formidable opponent. all of that I think is — I was wrong about her. and I didn’t know anything about her. I probably didn’t know any more than John McCain did a few days before he picked her.
(Well, perhaps McCain knew plenty and chose her on this basis, but that’s a quibble.) O’Reilly went on to ask her if ”your column and other columns like yours rallied the folks to her side and actually helped the McCain-Palin ticket dramatically.” Quinn answered “I think you’re absolutely right.”
Oh my. A couple of thoughts come immediately to mind. First, kudos are in order. How often do mainstream media outlets and their columnists ever say “I blew it”? It is not easy to acknowledge error, let alone a gross and mean-spirited one. Quinn did. (My suggestion is that Palin’s first serious print interview should be with her. ) Second, could others follow? If the MSM beats a hasty retreat in the Palin Inquisition, the Obama camp will have no choice but to directly take her on or ignore Palin-mania and let it the McCain-Palin ticket ride the wave of popularity. Either would mark a sweet vindication for McCain personally and his team more generally.