Palin Flops in India

March 19th, 2011 at 6:26 pm | 115 Comments |

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With due respect to aficionados of the emerging India-US alliance, it is difficult to see how New Delhi qualifies as an appropriate destination for a potential presidential candidate to enunciate her “vision of America.” That was the theme of Sarah Palin’s speech at the India Today Conclave, a major media talkfest, in Delhi earlier today. Palin’s rambling and incoherent performance suggested two possibilities. First, the generous reason: perhaps the theme was too restrictive, like those school exercises which require students to construct whole essays around a key theme, such as rain or forests or the railways. Students often try to overcome this challenge by resorting to an old technique: write lengthy, unconnected passages and sprinkle them with the keywords. So in a dense essay about nothing, you’ll find repeated references to rain or forests or the railways. Palin borrowed that technique, holding together a suffocatingly vacuous speech by invoking, from time to time, the theme. So she would interrupt herself from time to time, pause for a second, and say, “my vision for America.”

The second possibility: Palin was out of her depth.  It’s appalling enough that a contender for the American presidency, the putative leader of a popular anti-government movement, cannot conjure up a compelling vision for her country. But the speech also confirmed Palin’s illiteracy in foreign affairs. Talking about energy – the centerpiece, apparently, of her “vision” for America — Palin had no words to assuage Indian anxieties about nuclear energy in the wake of the tragedy at Fukushima in Japan. Energy-starved India is likely to be one of the world’s biggest markets for American nuclear technology, but Palin was content with empty platitudes: there was repeated praise of free-trade, condemnations of government spending, and even a mention of the moose her daughters had recently spotted outside their house in Alaska. Standing in the capital of the world’s largest democracy, she said nothing in her speech about the pro-democracy uprisings in India’s neighborhood. When prompted, she repudiated President Obama’s approach, but offered only a vague alternative of her own. What’s the biggest security challenge facing the world right now? The “evil dictator” of Iran (or, as she put it, “eye-ran”) and his nuclear program. Fair enough. How would she stop him? She seemed lost, suggesting economic sanctions and then military action. How will the pro-democracy movement in the Middle East affect Iran? Can India, which has strong relations with Iran, mediate? On China, she was refreshing, unafraid to sound the tocsin: India and the US should be partners in containing China, she suggested straightforwardly. And yet, for someone seeking the presidency, Palin seemed astonishingly unimaginative.

The world once marveled at Sarah Palin. In a very dull sport, the gun-tottin’, straight-speakin’ Alaskan was a refreshing star. But as we become acquainted with the dangers of reducing politics and policy to sport, how embarrassingly obsolete Sarah Palin looks.

Recent Posts by Kapil Komireddi

115 Comments so far ↓

  • cdorsen

    Palin on FF, again? And, the crush continues….

  • JasonH

    I think she felt restricted by having to focus on concrete proposals and examples AND was out of her depth.

  • Fortinbras Jones

    The best part was watching some of the faces of the people who had endure the ordeal. They looked a lot like this -

  • tardivezoar

    The next Sexatary of State?

  • dregstudios

    For the first time in her life, Palin will leave our continent in pursuit of spreading her insane and violent rhetoric to another part of the world. What impression will the most vane and vile political figure of our time leave on the people of other countries? You can see my portrait and commentary on the effects of her absurd ranting on my artist’s blog at

  • vitadMD

    Please, do continue using headlines like the one used here. It attracted mostly Obama partisans, and good for you, if that was the goal. After watching Gov. Palin’s speech and Q&A, the following comes to mind: Statesmanship. Conviction. Reason. Vision… Thanks to the author and analysts here for confirming that she did extremely well.

    • ibwilliamsi

      “Palin’s rambling and incoherent performance”

      “a suffocatingly vacuous speech”

      “Palin was out of her depth”

      “…appalling… that the putative leader of a popular anti-government movement, cannot conjure up a compelling vision for her country.”

      “She seemed lost”

      “astonishingly unimaginative.”

      Which article are your referring to as “confirming that she did extremely well”? Unless you meant she did extremely well at embarrassing herself and misrepresenting the interests of the US?

  • vitadMD

    ib: I was referring to my own analysis of Gov. Palin’s visit to India… something I’ve been doing since about six months prior to the last presidential election when she did an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC on energy. Evidently, you don’t trust your own judgment.

    • ibwilliamsi

      If you were referring to your own judgment, what do you mean by “Thanks to the author and analysts here for confirming that she did extremely well”?

  • vitadMD

    When “analysis” and “criticism” of the most vetted politician in history consists of petty name-calling, nasty words, and non-substantive insults, I’d say she’s doing well. The fact that Gov. Palin has any support, given the slander and libel she’s endured, is impressive. Consider the fact that she is still in the top two or three in contention for the GOP nomination. The arrogance and stupidity of the left and the right will only solidify support.

  • jpeditor

    Wow, you really missed these Palinisms:

    “The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.”

    “57 States….”


    and the latest, signing the datebook 3 years wrong during her recent “Roots” trip to the U.K….

    Oh wait, those were Obama’s gaffes…. He must a freaking moron, why can’t we see his college transcripts and who paid for HIS EDUMACATION (sic…)?

    No? we only get to pillory Palin?

    PS _ for those in India criticizing her visit there last March, keep it up; with any [bad] luck you will help re-elect Barack Hussein Obama, defender of POCKEESTAHN, and you will have Mumbai-style attacks all over India, perhaps on a weekly basis.