When Sarah Palin wrote a cheat sheet for an interview on her hand, liberal pundits gleefully bashed her. But only Calbuzz* will tell you that the ex-Republican veep candidate in doing so was simply following in the, uh, footsteps of California senior Senator Dianne Feinstein.
From Arianna Huffington to Andrea Mitchell, lefty pundits pounced on Palin, after photos showed that she’d scribbled brief talking points on her palm – “energy, budget tax cuts, lift American spirits” – before sitting for questions during last weekend’s big Tea Party convention. It’s notable, of course, that the words are among her most important, fundamental principles and so, presumably, might not need to be written on her palm. If she had fundamental principles.
But DiFi pulled exactly the same stunt two decades earlier, during a crucial debate when she unsuccessfully ran for governor against Pete Wilson in 1990. Your Calbuzzers, armed with Trash 80s and cell phones the size of sneakers, were on hand in Studio City to cover the big event, the rivals’ one-and-only face-to-face meeting of the campaign.
Wilson stole the headlines that night, by endorsing the Prop. 140 term limits initiative during the debate, but DiFi won the News of the Weird contest hands-down. Nervous before the statewide televised event, she had scrawled three words – “growth, education, choice” – on her palm in blue marker, to remind her of the basic policy themes she wanted to sound.
Since she’d been bloviating about these exact issues for months, her action raised questions about her memory, if not the depth of her commitment to her own agenda.
The goofy move also technically violated a debate ground rule, on which the campaigns had agreed, against bringing notes to the podium. When a reporter challenged her about it after the debate –- fuzzy memory tells us it was Gerry Braun of the San Diego UT — Feinstein immediately hid her hand behind her back, said, “I’m not going to show you” and quickly walked away.
Her bizarre reaction only fed the story for several days; an L.A. TV station showed blow-up pictures of her scrawled hand, while the Wilson campaign even paid for a computer-enhanced picture that they circulated to the press corps. Although not quite a Demon Sheep, it was a downright silly issue, yet it helped Team Wilson fuel the notion among voters that DiFi -– the first woman in state history to win a major party nomination for governor –- was at the time too much of an unknown to trust in the job.
In Palin’s case, the revelation about the handwriting on her hand simply adds to her well-earned reputation as a ditzy flake, not to mention something of a hypocrite: in her address preceding the interview, Palin criticized President Obama for using a teleprompter in his speeches.
* We did find that a reader named Jeff Boulier wrote into Althouse.com with a citation from the Washington Times, Oct. 15, 1990, re: DiFi’s palm reading.
Afterthought 8:30 am: The “excuse” that Obama and others use a teleprompter is bogus. This was an interview, not a speech. Had Palin come out with notes, nobody would have cared. But she wanted to have her talking points and looks like she didn’t need them. The issue is deception. Nobody likes a phony.
PS: For a great take on the whole hand-job debacle, see Colbert:
What does Boss eMeg have to hide? In the best tradition of Thomas Nast skewering Boss Tweed Tom Meyer today offers his unique take on the behind-the-scenes effort by Meg Whitman’s campaign to use the size of her wallet to force Steve Poizner out of the Republican race for governor.
Which reminds us: eMeg’s refusal to debate The Commish at the upcoming Republican state convention is beyond outrage.
We understand that Whitman has major control freak issues that make DiFi look like Wavy Gravy, but re-writing the playbook for campaigning is one thing, trying to re-write the rule book for presenting your credentials to voters is quite another.
Whitman’s shoddy press conference performance in her one and only in her last major press conference, at the last Republican convention, is certainly cause for concern among her handlers and supporters. But what the hell is she going to do if she gets elected – show up before the press dressed as Amaterasu Omikami and demand the reporters all bow down before her? She’s running for governor of California, not Dear Leader of North Korea, fercrineoutloud, and it’s long past time for her to come out of the bubble and let the hoi polloi find out who the hell she is.
Before someone starts raising the question: What does Meg Whitman have to hide?
Must read: Edward Luce, writing in the Financial Times, offers a smart perceptual scoop that suggests one big reason for Obama’s shaky performance in his first year: his inner circle doesn’t extend beyond a quartet of political hacks from Chicago…For the record: The Alameda County district attorney has concluded that AG Jerry Brown’s office broke no laws in its secret taping of interviews with reporters. As a political matter, it still was felony stupid…Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Do you want ammunition with that vente blended half-caf caramel macchiato?