McCain Blinks. Palin Not Ready for Prime Time.

20 09 2008

So, how badly will Sarah Palin lose the Vice Presidential debate?  Because, lose she will…but to what degree?  Not one to relish in the misfortune of others, I’ve been having a mental battle with myself when thinking about the upcoming VP debate.

Good Me:  There’s no doubt she’s going to lose.  And she’ll probably embarrass herself.  People will see her for who she is, and they will note her lack of experience and wisdom, and Biden will demonstrate his superiority in every facet of the debate.  The rightful winner shall win, and that’s the end of it. I feel no joy that it had to come to this, but that’s the way it is. We will all learn and move on.

Evil Me:  Please, let them ask really tough questions about foreign policy.  I want Mbeki, and Mugabe, and Odinga…  May Gwen Ifill be a salivating bulldog.  Joe Biden is going to run mental circles around her and then drop her like a bag of dirt, and I am going to love it. (rubbing hands together like a fly) That scrappy terrier from Scranton will kick the pitbull’s behind all the way back to Juneau. She will be so humiliated and so exposed, she’ll slink out of public life forever after being Alaska’s most infamous one-term wonder. She wants “Stump the Candidate”, then give her “Stump the Candidate!”

Good Me:  Ahem…Are you listening to yourself?

Evil Me:  ….and maybe they’ll ask about the capitol of Uzbekistan…..what?   Oh. (sheepish grin)

As this battle rages on between me and myself, the following news comes out today:

At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates. McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.

McCain advisers said they were only somewhat concerned about Ms. Palin’s debating skills compared with those of Mr. Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, or about his chances of tripping her up. Instead, they say, they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her own experience or playing defense.

I had to read that a couple times.  Go ahead and read that again if you need to.  (pause)

So, when the McCain team decided upon the terms of the debate, a debate in which any future candidate worth his/her salt should be able to participate, it obviously never occurred to them that their actual pick would be completely and utterly unprepared and unqualified.  At this point, they are basically saying, “We know she’s going to lose, but we want her to lose less catastrophically.  And we don’t really care that the American people will never get to see the woman who we want to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land engage in actual conversation, or be called out for her lack of knowledge. Allowing the debate to continue as is, would be far worse for us than being called out for giving head starts to ignorant people, and grading the debate on a curve.”

They’d rather she have more time to spit out the talking points, then have to defend her own qualifications.  They just came right out and said it!  Our little hothouse flower will be protected.  Quick, add another circle of barbed wire, and dig a deeper level in that subterranean, undisclosed location…Sarah’s coming.  But is she Ready to Lead?

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Is Palin an Albatross?

20 09 2008

Is Sarah Palin becoming an albatross around the neck of John McCain? Two weeks ago, the thought that we would be asking this question seemed unlikely at best.  Alaska’s own ‘hockey mom/beauty queen’ governor had become the overnight darling of the political world.  She had everything – spunk, principles, smarts, beauty, ethics, and an attitude that was just plain “maverick”.  Right?

Never mind that the hearts of progressive Alaskans (and even some Republicans) were gripped with an icy fear that made breathing alone difficult, nevermind shouting, “Noooooooo!”  The rest of the world loved Sarah.  Lipstick became an iconic symbol of political girl power. Her recent stint as a small town mayor, and her journalism degree from the University of Idaho showed us that “anyone can be president”. Her eyeglass frames were sold out at retail outlets around the land almost instantly.  Pitbulls gained an unlikely place in our hearts. And all of a sudden John McCain didn’t have to grovel, and offer to bus people in from miles away to make his rallies look not so embarrasingly empty.  It was a Disney movie – Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, Cinderella and The Mighty Ducks all rolled into one.

But now, it’s the morning after, and America  is starting to have some regrets.  Sarah, it seems, has been our “rebound girl” after our escape from a disastrous and abusive long-term relationship with our soon-to-be ex, Dick Cheney.  Rebound relationships are normal, but no one expects them to last.

What was it?  Shooting wolves from airplanes? The pastor problem? Abuse of power? The embarrasing interview with Charlie Gibson? Charging victims for rape kits? Being for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it? Her far-right stance on reproductive rights? Todd’s membership in a secessionist political party? New Earth evangelism? Stonewalling an ethics investigation? Leaving her small town in debt? Her love of earmarks?  Her hatred of polar bears? Who knows?  It may be a little of all of these things, or for some people, one is enough.  But, we’re starting to realize, in the light of day,  that the beautiful shiny image of Sarah Palin that swept us off our political feet isn’t the whole story.  I wonder sometimes if there isn’t a portrait of a hideous, wrinkled old woman hidden away in a closet of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, and we’re all living some unexplainable Arctic version of Dorian Gray.

For the rest of America in the thralls of Sarah-Mania, Alaskans have been trying to be your sensible friend. “Are you crazy?  This will never work!”  “At the risk of our friendship, I have to tell you she is totally wrong for you!” “Do not, I repeat, do NOT move in with her!” 

During the last few weeks of this ‘discovery period,’ Palin’s positive ratings have steadily and rapidly eroded, and according to the most recent report from the Daily Kos (excellent visual below) she can now actually be considered a ‘drag’ on the ticket.  Not everyone is ‘there’ yet, but the trend is undeniable, and there are still weeks to go before election day.

 

America, on behalf of all Alaskans, and as your sensible friend, I want to thank you for hearing us out.