Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Misunderstimatin'

Several disastrous interviews and Saturday Night Live skits later, the Republicans are beginning to wonder if Sen. McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was such a good idea after all. While their "base" (conservative religionists) have been "energized," apparently the rest of the country isn't quite so sure that Ms. Palin should be the Vice President, only a heartbeat away from the presidency. The "rah-rah" boys are being crowded out by the "whatever was he thinking?!?" cadre, at least according to Adam Nagourney's column in today's NY Times

A month after Gov. Sarah Palin joined Senator John McCain’s ticket to a burst of excitement and anticipation among Republicans, she heads into a critical debate facing challenges from conservatives about her credentials, signs that her popularity is slipping and evidence that Republicans are worried about how much help she will be for Mr. McCain in November. ...

“I think she has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a conservative columnist, said in an interview. “If she doesn’t perform well, then people see it.

“And this is a moment of real high anxiety, a little bit like 9/11, when people look to Washington for comfort and leadership and want to know that people in charge know what they are doing.”

And it's not just David Frum who's worried, some of the other conservative pundits have questioned the selection, especially after the very short lived 'Palin Bounce."

Polling suggests that the number of Americans who think she is not fit to be president has increased since her introduction to the country last month. A number of conservative columnists and thinkers have publicly turned against her, or criticized Mr. McCain for choosing her, including George Will, David Brooks and Kathleen Parker, who wrote a column entitled “She’s Out of Her League” for the National Review Online.

So much for Sen. McCain's complaints that the "liberal" media is responsible for the hard times Gov. Palin seems to have fallen into. I mean, George Will, David Brooks, and Kathleen Parker?

All of that said, however, Gov. Palin shouldn't merely be written off as just one of those gag gifts that keep on giving. The lady isn't entirely stupid, and apparently she knows enough about campaigning to get herself elected governor and to help John McCain raise a lot of cash at fund-raisers. All she needs (besides her co-religionists) is some sympathy votes, garnered by being seen as a victim of the meanies on the left, and the Democrats just might very well have a problem. I hope Joe Biden keeps that in mind on Thursday night.

And, as Adam Nagourney has pointed out in his column, the bar is set so low for her right now in terms of Thursday's vice presidential debate, that if she doesn't embarrass herself and the campaign too badly by committing some unbelievable gaffe (like forgetting that Spain is a NATO ally and its president is a man named Zapatero), she may very well be considered to have redeemed herself.

I still am planning on having a big bucket of popcorn for that debate.

(Note: I overslept this morning. I apologize for the lateness of the post. Hopefully Ruth is so busy with Habitat For Humanity in Chile that won't have noticed.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biden is too experienced and too smart to be mean or overbearing in Thursday debate. I don't believe that media expectations have any role to play. Palin appears ignorant, shrill, mean and Bush-like most of the time. People saw and will see that. I doubt debate training will help her appear differently. After all, she made a career being mean and shrill.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're going to wire her up, the way they did with Bush in 2004. It didn't work then because Bush wouldn't practice with it, but you know she's practicing her heart out this very minute.

Meanwhile the right either lowers the bar some more, or goes on TV claiming the idiocies of the past few weeks weren't "the real" Palin.

Thursday she's a font of artless wisdom. The press doesn't know because a) the little origami jacket hides the box and b) they never copped to the '04 thing and they're not gonna deal with it now.

And voila! Sarah Palin, miracle girl. All she had to do was be herself.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon. that they'll wire her up and she'll do better than Bush. Remember she was a sportscaster on the teevee and her major in college was broadcast journalism. She knows her way around the hardware tools and is comfortable with them. We have to hope her arrogance and pride lead to to say things she really shouldn't say so publicly.

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