We don't blame Sarah Palin for underwhelming us tonight. If anything, it was our own fault for hoping she'd use the opportunity of her first day as a Fox News analyst to roll out the 2010 version of "Death Panels."
Here's a tip: If you've only got five minutes to spare, skip the first half of Palin's appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight. In it, Palin was given every opportunity to cast Obama as the Black Hitler. But she didn't even call him the Black Himmler. Or any famous Nazi! In her discussion of Obama's policies, the most vitriol she could muster was saying his falling poll numbers were a "reflection of the people's uncomfortableness that they feel towards this administration." Palin's highly-developed ability to garble words on TV actually left her sounding less critical of Obama, like he was some misshapen loveseat 'the people' had picked up on Craigslist. As such, the first half of her "O'Reilly" appearance—where she mostly trotted out conservative economic cliches wrapped in the bacon of faux-populism—was booooooorrrrrriiiiing. (She did say that Liberals were "threatened" by her because of what she "stood for." Which is true, though not in the same way she meant it. But that's a whole other blog post!)
Then we got to the second part, where Palin said mean stuff about the Media. This was much more fun. Her responses to O'Reilly's questions about "Game Change," the new book which makes her look like an idiot, were especially full of breezy Palinesque quips that and straight-up fighting words. She called "Game Change" co-author John Heilemann a liar! Also:
I think that these are the political establishment reporters who love to drum up controversy and gin up gossip. The rest of America doesn't care about that kind of crap. The rest of America—we are concerned about a 10 percent unemployment rate... maybe these are the same guys, though, that are saying the, uh, other tin foil hat and conspiracy theories.
We learned tonight that it was too much to hope that Sarah Palin would bring the same gloriously demented policy analysis to Fox News that she did to her Twitter account and Facebook page. On Fox, her talk about Obama is indistinguishable from every other pundit the network smears on the screen. The real show will be the Palin vs. the Media fireworks. Criticizing the president in stupid ways might prove a liability in a future campaign. ("Death panels," certainly will.) But there's no similar political risk in attacking the Media with folksy cliches delivered in the self-righteous screech of a bald eagle scraping its talons across a chalkboard on which has been scrawled: BLAME THE MEDIA. Everyone hates the Media.
The "O'Reilly" interview ended with this telling exchange:
O'REILLY: It's a pleasure having you. We're all very very happy that you're on board with us. And again, anytime you want to set the record straight, we're here.
PALIN: Oh, we'll be doing a lot of that.
Palin to The Media: "This Means War"