Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some of the People All of the Time

I'm going to watch the vice-presidential debate tonight, although G. wonders if it's a good idea since I tend to literally writhe around in physical pain listening to these things. Tonight will be heavy on defense, since Biden has much to lose and will prefer to let Palin hang herself, while Palin would doubtless like Biden to run on and burn up as much of the clock as possible. Palin will try to shake something out of Biden, he's the elitist liberal baddy in the mythical scenario she's surfing. Biden will try to leave Palin alone and go after Bush, McCain, and the republicans in general. But what makes this debate (five hours from now) interesting is the jaw-dropping performance of Palin in her interviews with Katie Couric this week, emphasized by the almost equally incredible performance by Tina Fey where she did an SNL skit using words that were very close to the actual transcript.
The trouble for Palin is this: she hasn't just measured up as a weak debater. She failed to come up with any discussion at all of the judiciary, for example, when asked. She did say things: she said that Roe v. Wade ought to be handled by the states, and she assured Couric that if elected she would enforce the law. But that was it. She also, even more astonishingly, failed to mention a single specific news or opinion source that she had read: not an Anchorage paper, not Fox, not a recent book, ningun. Joe Scarborough, who has been cracking a bit under the strain over at MSNBC, laid the blame on the "Bush handlers" and laid out what might have been fighting answers to many of the questions Palin simply failed to swing at. But Joe: you are already able to speak in an unguarded and informed manner about the judiciary, the media, Russia, a book you've read recently, and so forth. So is everybody at your table, and a good percentage of your viewers. Is it true that she is literally unable to discuss political questions?
It's remotely possible that she is a seasoned enough "stealth" candidate that she is simply on message which is to say nothing, like a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court, and hope that the general public doesn't ever really grasp the full extent of her radicalism. Or maybe she's just trying to lower expectations so that she has a shot at slaying Goliath. There was an old SNL skit where Reagan was a kindly old charmer in person, but an evil genius when everyone was gone. I want to see them do the scene where the Bush "fixers" realize that they've got a candidate who's never heard of Time Magazine (a good old liberal rag, by the way).

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