Palin's Fox News Debut: Critics Beware

A foreign policy stumble aside, dis her at your peril.

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By John A. Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The announcement that former Gov. Sarah Palin was taking work as a political analyst for Fox News was met with disdain by rivals at MSNBC and CNN, and with ridicule by liberals.

Having watched her debut on Fox last night, I offer this advice to the Left's Palin-haters: you dis her at your peril.

Palin stumbled on the only foreign policy question that host Bill O'Reilly asked her: about Tehran's nuclear program and the prospect of an American and Israeli war upon Iran.

Like most U.S. politicians, who all want to sound like macho protectors of weak little (nuclear-armed) Israel, Palin indulged in some obvious pandering. Barack Obama isn't being tough enough, she declared. It was time to crack down on Iran.

But when O'Reilly pressed her for a declaration of war, like most U.S. politicians, Palin cut and ran.

You don't stay the darling of the heartland, and atop the best-seller list, by telling American families they must invest their sons and daughters and their hard-earned pay, at Israel's behest, in a third major war in the Middle East.

That was Obama's job, Palin said, seizing on the opportunity to pass the buck. And he wasn't doing it well, she added.

But that was the only significant blip in an otherwise chirpy, plucky, and competent performance. The camera loves Palin--she comes across as genuine--and she seems to love the camera. She addressed the economic woes of average Americans; sounded eminently reasonable, and deftly dismissed the criticism she has received from some of John McCain's campaign aides in the last year, for which beltway gossip-mongers seem to have an insatiable appetite.

"The rest of America doesn't care about that kind of crap," Palin declared, and it was impossible to disagree.

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