Wednesday was a planned day of mourning and, to a certain degree, celebration of the lives of those who died in the Arizona tragedy. It was a time, most involved seemed to agree, when politics would be left behind, and the words and deeds would reflect solely on what had transpired. And, perhaps, on how we can better ourselves.

Yet whether we like it or not, politics is politics, and at times like these that reality cannot be avoided.

Early in the day, well before the president spoke at a University of Arizona memorial service, Sarah Palin released her first at-length statement since the shooting spree. Her words, to be incredibly kind, were ridiculous. In much of the world, leadership involves stepping forward and offering people a shining light. It involves bringing folks together; finding common bonds; seeking out solutions and cutting off problems before they arrive.

What leadership does not include is self-preservation at all costs.

Which is why Sarah Palin, aspiring president, failed so miserably with this address:

Mrs. Palin, we all get it—you didn’t shoot anyone; you didn’t inspire the shooting of anyone; words are just words, and come day’s end they render people blameless. Again, we get it. What strikes me as, ahem, awkward is Palin’s need to defend herself on a day 100 percent not about her. Angry at the press? Fine. Upset over perceptions? OK. But you issue this—today? Really?

Hours later, Barack Obama took the stage. And while I have been down on him lately, his words and message—perfect. Perfectly stated, perfectly delivered, perfectly said. Wanna know what it means to lead and inspire? Just watch.

Ever since she emerged on the national stage during the 2008 election, Palin has baffled me. Her knowledge is limited, her speech is terrible, her accomplishments are thin. Yet somehow, the more she screws up, the more her followers cling to her.

Will that continue after today?


5 thoughts on “Leadership”

  1. A pretty face makes all the difference in the world.
    As bad as Palin is Ann Coulter totally baffles me.
    Palin seems to be losing popularity as time exposes her more, but far too many think Coulter is some kind of expert.

    Totally baffles me.

  2. Wrote this earlier (not shilling, no link)thought it echoed Jeff’s sentiment.

    “What value comes from a statement that fails to move one inch toward healing? What good comes from a “leader” who can’t muster the courage to recognize the sad state of American politics and who can’t take some portion of ownership for our collective wrong turn? What is admirable about someone who can’t even mention the dead by name or offer anything more than tepid praise for Rep. Gabby Giffords?”

  3. Like many others who aren’t Jewish Scholars or Anti-Semites, I will admit to being unfamiliar with the term, “blood libel” before yesterday. I wonder why Sarah Palin was familiar with the expression.

  4. Steve, I seriously doubt that she had ever heard of the term prior to giving the speech that others had obviously written for her. If she read the speech prior to going on camera I suspect her reaction to the phrase was, “wow, that’s cool”, without any curiosity as to its origin. Now that we can be sure she is familiar with the expression, one can only wonder if she has any regrets using it. I doubt it.

  5. Thank you J McCain and the Republican leaders for bringing his DOLT into the spotlight. Only in our Jersey Shore/Housewives of Frasier/Tea Party/Guns do not kill people/God loves football world can someone like Palin exist. Please go away.

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