Published September 29, 2008
In the lead-up to a debate, the parties are supposed to build up expectations for the other side and lower expectations for their own. Fortunately for the McCain-Palin ticket, expectations can't get any lower than they are, given the interviews thus far, rare though they have been.
Sarah Palin is a disaster, and John McCain has to be embarrassed that he let himself get talked into selecting her. I'm sure he's glad to have the momentum her pick has provided and the dollars her campaigning and speeches have brought, but the PR of the past few days from the Katie Couric interview had to have played some part in the decision to take evasive measures with the campaign-suspension pretension.
The Palin-Couric interview was a mishmash of policy-speak from a deer-in-the-headlights candidate clearly out of her league. Palin threw every response she could recall at the questions in an attempt to get one of the darts close to the center:
COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?
PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
Is this someone you want extemporaneously addressing a crisis on the phone with a foreign leader? A friend pointed out to me that for all John McCain's efforts in the presidential debate Friday night to make Obama look unready for the Presidency, what he was really accomplishing was making the case against his own vice-presidential candidate. She's comes across as a freaking girl scout in these interviews. I'm sure she's done fine things for Alaska, but that's where she belongs. She's not ready for the big stage any more than .
But my favorite quote from the Couric interview is here:
COURIC: When President Bush ran for office, he opposed nation-building. But he has spent, as you know, much of his presidency promoting democracy around the world. What lessons have you learned from Iraq? And how specifically will you try to spread democracy throughout the world?
PALIN: Specifically, we will make every effort possible to help spread democracy for those who desire freedom, independence, tolerance, respect for equality. That is the whole goal here in fighting terrorism also. It’s not just to keep the people safe, but to be able to usher in democratic values and ideals around this, around the world.
Okay, that's not specific. You can't just say "specifically" and—presto—what you're saying magically becomes specific.
I'm not the first to suggest Palin step aside, so I'm not claiming any originality. In fact, the chorus is growing from conservatives. Palin should call a press conference, explain she needs to spend time with her newborn, and let her party pick someone more qualified. On the off-chance McCain ends up getting elected, our country deserves someone who can handle the duties. Don't get me wrong: I have no doubt women can do the job, just not Palin. And if McCain is serious about "Country First," he'll accept her resignation.
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