Learning the wrong lessons

LEARNING THE WRONG LESSONS…. Last week, about four days after the tragedy in Tucson, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) released a video statement about what had transpired. By all accounts, it was a disaster — Palin, looking smaller than life, was defensive, caustic, and accusatory. Palin had seen a tragedy, and concluded she was the important part of the story.

Jonathan Martin said Palin “demonstrated that she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics.” John Dickerson added that the recorded remarks were “defensive, illogical, and distracting,” which “confused or alienated anyone she was trying to convince.”

Common sense suggests there were clear lessons for Palin to be learned from the reactions and criticisms from across the spectrum. Stop being so defensive. Stop trying to use a tragedy to pit people against one another. Stop making the story all about her.

But as of last night, she still hadn’t learned anything. Palin’s first interview since the shooting was with Sean Hannity — again, no Profile in Courage Award for you, gov — and she insisted all over again how right she is about everything and how awful she considers everyone else.

In her first interview since the Arizona shootings, Sarah Palin Monday sharply beat back critics who have suggested her at-times charged political rhetoric and use of a graphic featuring crosshairs may have contributed to the shooter’s motivations. […]

“It isn’t about me personally, but it is about the message,” she said. “I know that a lot on the left hate my message, and they will do all that they can to stop me because they don’t like the message. They’ll do what they can to destroy the message and the messenger.”

Meanwhile, when asked about speculation the recent controversies have disrupted any future political ambitions, Palin vowed she will continue to speak her mind.

“I am not ready to make an announcement about what my political future is going to be. But I will tell you … I am not going to sit down. I am not going to shut up,” she said.

I strongly suspect Palin doesn’t understand this, but I get the sense Democrats don’t want to shut her up at all. On the contrary, Dems seem thrilled that she’s positioned herself as “the messenger” for the far-right. The last thing Dems want is to “stop” her from speaking out.

Why would they? Last night’s “interview” — I use the word loosely — made Palin look even worse. Her rambling message was a rehash of the identical sentiments expressed in her widely-panned video statement, only this time, without the benefit of a teleprompter, Palin’s language was clumsier. She went after those who attended the memorial service; she went after those who thought “blood libel” was a poor choice of words; she went after liberals who she thinks want to “destroy our republic.” Palin even tried to rehash the notion that the gunman in Tucson was “perhaps even left leaning.”

She proved last week that “she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics,” and then proved it again 12 hours ago.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll asked Americans if they approve or disapprove of the way various people responded to the shootings in Tucson. Asked about President Obama, 78% of respondents approved. Asked about Sarah Palin, 30% approved.

If only she could understand why.