John, I too just got finished with my viewing and what struck me most was the oozing condescension and the annoying habit of Gibson in asserting things were “facts” or “beyond dispute”– virtually daring Palin to dispute him, the authority on these topics. ( He virtually accused the Republicans of lying about Barack Obama’s tax plans since of course Obama wasn’t going to raise them on anyone making less than $250,000. She replied that he voted to raise taxes 94 times and that this gave you insight into what he’d do in the future.)
The beginning of the interview was priceless, as Gibson expresssed incredulity about her candidacy. Could believe she was going from a “sparsely populated state” to the big leagues? She calmly replied that there were “the same people, same issues” everywhere in America but he was not to be dissuaded. Wasn’t she asking herself “I can’t believe this?” And so it went: what the heck gave her the idea she could be up for this task? Gibson’s skepticism, bordering on contempt was palpable.
Much of the interview has already been shown in the prior airings but woven in and out was new material. She firmly corrected GIbson here and there — for example, on tax reduction and allowing the people in her area to vote on a sales tax measure to pay for a sports arena. (Not exactly ”hiking” taxes on them, as Gibson characterized.) I thought her best moment came when he rolled the George W. Bush tape and asked why she would be any more successful in changing Washington than Bush. Gesturing to the great outdoors behind her she reminded him that she’s not ”a Washington outsider. . . I don’t have allegiances to lobbyists, to the power brokers.”
On the scandal front, she debunked the book banning myth, which seemed to convince even Gibson. Her answer on Troopergate was the most illuminating: the guy threatened the Governor and her family. How many Americans knew that?
ABC certainly made the most of the time, stretching the interview over multiple shows and teasing/hyping it all the way. We who follow politics moment by moment and hang on the content of each answer sometimes forget the bigger picture, literally. She is an exceptionally likable and attractive person. For many, many voters, that counts for a lot.
UPDATE: I am not alone in my assessment. Washington Post media critic Tom Shales finds that Gibson was ”uncharacteristically pompous” and “pretentious and imperial.” Strangely, however, Shales doesn’t seem to be aware of his own paper’s assessment that the Bush Doctrine has no single meaning.