By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Take a look at Sarah Palin's hand here, on which she apparently wrote notes on in anticipation of being asked at the Tea Party convention what the priorities of a Republican congress should be. Her hand read: "Energy ... Tax cuts ... Lift American spirit." A few thoughts:
If she had written "bread ... milk ... eggs" on her hand, or even a phone number, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. And if, say, a congressman had written "pay the electric bill," we would have thought it was charming, like Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life tying strings on his fingers to remember to make the bank deposit. We're all forgetful, we all have a million things to do, and sometimes we write reminders on our hands. I understand that.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Palin didn't write down a reminder for an everyday errand. Instead she felt she had to write down basic political priorities, core issues for the GOP. That's the problem. Imagine if President Obama were at a similar Q&A session and the camera caught the words "Hope ... Change" on his hand.
At a certain age and at a certain professional level, it's really not cool to write the big stuff down on your hand. Yellow stickies, maybe. BlackBerry, maybe. But if you were sitting in your doctor's office after an exam, and saw that he'd written on his hand: "Diagnose Illness ... Write Prescription," you'd be more than alarmed.
If Sarah Palin was nervous about taking questions, she had a lot of options: She could have sat at a table with notes in front of her, stood at a podium with an outline, or even sat on the couch like she did, but with index cards in her hand. People do that all the time in panel discussions and ask-the-candidate forums. Like the Tea Party keynote speech she gave and her book before that, this incident shows that she doesn't care to take the time to be prepared, to engage in serious policy discussions, or even to rely on issue briefing materials before speaking. She booked this appearance months ago and knew that both her speech and Q&A would be highly anticipated by the media and voters. I'm not sure how many more times she can get away with it. But in the mean time it's embarrassing.