One thing most successful presidential candidates demonstrate is a sunny disposition. Americans may want candidates who feel their pain, but they also like them to be hopeful and optimistic. Nobody wants to vote for Debbie Downer. It's one of those axioms (along with "the taller candidate always wins") that the more optimistic presidential candidate always seems to prevail.
Which is what makes Sarah Palin's latest outburst so curious. Palin seems to be moving closer and closer to a presidential run, yet as she does, she seems to grow angrier and angrier. Not that it's anything particularly new -- her political identity was always built on resentment -- of elites, and urbanites, and liberals, and the media. I'm sure that every time she uses the term "lame-stream media" her supporters cheer, even if to the rest of us it just sounds juvenile and mean.
This time, it concerns a recording of some local news folks in Alaska, either joking around about what will happen at an event for Senate candidate and Palin-approved Tea Partier Joe Miller (one seemingly logical interpretation), planning for capitalizing on whatever crazy things might happen at that event (the station's interpretation, also reasonable), or...engaged in a nefarious conspiracy to spread lies about Miller. Here's Palin talking about it to Chris Wallace:
What's remarkable here is the venom and the language she uses. When her eyes narrow and she says, "Those are corrupt bastards, Chris," it's, well, not very presidential. Even if she were absolutely right about the conspiracy (which I doubt), politicians with national ambitions just don't go around calling people "bastards." Even Nixon kept that stuff for when the cameras were off.
-- Paul Waldman