Sarah Palin’s latest Katie Couric interview and certainly the Hugh Hewitt interview from Tuesday show some improvement over her prior outings. She is more confident and less halting than she was in her first Couric outing. There is promise there — that she can relate the current crisis to ordinary voters (e.g. she and Todd and their 401K plight) and that she can explain her social policy positions in disarming and positive ways. And she very sincerely explained to Hewitt her emotional devotion to Israel. (One wishes Barack Obama would express the same sense of moral clarity on the topic).
But to be successful, not just survive, on Thursday night she will need to do a few things. For starters, she needs specific answers when asked very basic questions ( e.g. what newspapers does she read, name three things McCain will do to fix the financial mess). She needs to be sharper about Joe Biden. Why is his insiderness is a problem? Because he never rocked the boat when his fellow Democrats were protecting the gross malfeasance of Fannie and Freddie and he has $51.5M in earmarks in latest spending bill, for example. She has to clean up her syntax — e.g. “feel the impacts.” She also should be talking more about what executive experience she had ( e.g. this is how I cut the budget, this is how you get rid of people in your own party who are corrupt).
We don’t know whether she is capable of doing this or whether she has been under some weird mandate (“Keep expectations low!” “Don’t reveal any factual support for our arguments!”). We’ll see Thursday night if the improved Palin is a sign of how quickly she can ascend the learning curve.