John Schwenkler has been resisting the strange trend among conservative bloggers to identify some new, affected folksiness in Sarah Palin’s public appearances, and I find his arguments entirely persuasive. Then again, it didn’t take much persuading. Assuming an increase in aggregate folksiness, there are two realistic explanations: Palin has reverted to old habits of speech as crutches to cope with the additional pressure of being in the national spotlight (we can call this the SNL Theory of Increasing Adorability), or she has simply emphasized existing habits of speech that she has always had.
There seems to be a connection between perceiving affected folksiness and believing that Palin was somehow more effective in debates and conversant with policy two years ago than she is now, as both Conor and Peter see something significantly different in her ’06 performances. This is related to the claim that her previous nationally televised interviews are supposed to be quite impressive. Having reviewed the interviews, I was not impressed, and I think if we look more closely at her gubernatorial debate performances and the testimony of her rivals we will find the same flaws we have seen in recent weeks. These have been magnified as she has moved to a larger stage and been forced to address issues far outside her normal experience.