Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It was in the news this morning that McCain campaign staff was writing Sarah Palin's speech. How, then, to evaluate Palin herself?

I'm taking a few minutes away from the serious newscasts on Comedy Central to watch Wolf Blitzer literally praise her for her skill in reading a teleprompter:

And if there was any doubt that she could deliver a speech like that, Campbell, she dispelled that because she certainly -- it's not easy reading that teleprompter and knowing how to pause and that delivery. It was a well written speech. And she not only hit a home run, it might have been even a grand slam.
She didn't write the "well-written speech", but she's good at reading it off a teleprompter. Mind you, you might have to go phonetic with some of the tougher words, like "nuclear", but if you do that, you'll get a very effective delivery. A delivery for which Blitzer's mixed panel of network staff, Republican operatives, and former Republican operatives now on network staff also lathered her with legitimate, high praise.

So if this veep thing doesn't work out, I'm sure she can make a ton of money in commercial voice-over work, where quick, accurate, effective reading off a teleprompter is pretty much the whole of the job.

And if she does make it, and folks like me object to what the new administration is doing with social programs, I'm sure at some point someone's going to dust off Pat Moynihan's old line about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

There's been some talk lately of unfair attacks on Sarah Palin from the liberal blogsphere, and I'm afraid to say I'd been considering joining that crowd. I was working on some kind of line about how McCain had taken the Chinese gymnastic approach to the Vice Presidential pick --- but that's unfair. He Kexin may not have met the formal age requirements, but she clearly has what it takes to do the job.

Otherwise, I'm watching an Alaskan separatist as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, flopping around like a trout in the bottom of the boat on one of her own fishing trips. But the news coverage feels like it's scripted by the Brotherhood of Dada. I mean, really.

I used to be offended by horse-race coverage of the race because it ignored substantive issues. Now, I'm offended because even taken on its own terms, it makes no sense at all. It was touted as an advantage of the pick that McCain's campaign had "won the news cycle" on the day it was announced. There are layers of nonsense here. The most obvious being that the domination has nothing to do with the particular choice at all --- any pick would have given the talking heads something to chatter about. But go deeper. They did indeed dominate the news cycle. One news cycle. They had absolute command of that evening's newscasts. On the Friday before Labor Day Weekend. When exactly did that become a prize worth winning?

At any rate, this choice is something the Obama team knows how to handle: tempting as it might be to run against her slim resume and, well... family matters, you don't. It just invites Republican attacks on Obama's resume, deserved or not. (Which ain't speculation; only political junkies and fools may have been watching CNN's Friday evening political gossip shows, but I was one of them. I need to get a life.) She's got a record, thin as it may be: take it seriously, and run against it. Of course, it helps that she introduced herself to the country by lying about it. Running for governor in 2006, she was in favor of the infamous "bridge to nowhere." It's part of her mandate, whatever she tries to say about it now.

But it's worth considering that if McCain does somehow make it to the White House, and Palin turns out to be his worst decision, that'll have to count as good luck: