(NPF coming later, I promise)

So Mike and I were chatting today about some unfounded speculation on McCain's motives in attempting to postpone this week's debate. Lacking evidence to support this, here is my guess.

The McCain campaign is desperate – absolutely desperate – to buy time for next week's Vice-Presidential debate. McCain isn't afraid to debate tonight, but he and his team are in full crisis mode over Palin. You may have seen her recently getting destroyed by Katie Couric. Let me clarify: getting intellectually dismantled by Katie Couric is not a good sign. Treat yourself to exchanges like:

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with Canada. It- it's funny that a comment like that was- kind of made to cari- I don't know, you know? Reporters-

I bet it was the editing that made her look bad! Maybe the lighting.

They chose Palin with very little forethought because she fit the bill (female, young, pro-life) and they assumed that whatever skills she lacked as a candidate could be fixed. All employers do this – hire 'em and train 'em as you go. But now it is hitting them: she is far, far worse than they expected. Everything they're doing screams "buyer's remorse." The refusal to allow her near the media (except cameras! cameramen are ok!), the heavy scripting, the "attack the media" tactics….they realize what they have and they're panicking. As I stated when she was nominated, she's managed to excite some people who were already voting for McCain anyway; with any other voters she is a serious liability. She's no longer new, exciting, or a novelty. And like any other rush job, it only looks good from a distance. Up close things get ugly in a hurry.

I do not know a nicer way to say this, and the campaign is in full freak-out mode as it sinks in: the woman is almost comically stupid. She's probably a nice person and all that, good at hick politics in the boonies, but every time she opens her mouth she humiliates the campaign. They realize this. And they are desperately trying to buy time. If she can't handle a five-minute interview with Katie Couric, what are the odds of her debating Joe Biden for an hour and not saying something monumentally dumb?

Again we return to the Quayle precedent. Michael Dukakis did one thing right in his campaign. Yes, only one. The sole success he had, the sole instance of gaining momentum in a race he never led, was this commercial:

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. It was one of a trio of memorable ads from 1988, including Willie Horton and the devastatingly effective "Dukakis in Tank" ad. Dan Quayle very nearly cost George Bush an election he should have won overwhelmingly. In the end, though, the overall shittiness of Dukakis made the election about him and not his opponent. And now, 20 years later, the McCain camp is waking up with a morning-after hangover and asking "What have we done?"

I'll tell you what you've done: you nominated Dan Quayle with tits. Like the elder Bush, McCain is going to pay the price. Unlike the elder Bush, he doesn't have a big lead to work with.


  • I will still be laughing about the interview with Katie Couric for months. :D Sweet, glorious retribution for Palin being such a raving, lunatic bitch.

  • Yes, but I think the way in which they screw up is different. Biden has no brain-mouth filter. He is essentially an asshole and he comes off like it. Palin, on the other hand, can't have a brain-mouth filter because half of that equation doesn't exist.

  • For the most part, yeah, Biden is better. This quote, however, is as bad as anything Palin has said:

    "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.

    Herbert Hoover was in office in 1929 when the stock market crashed, and TV didn't exist. Oops…

  • Dustin, EVEN IF we accept that Biden truly, genuine did not know when FDR was president or when television was invented, the concern over Palin is that she is completely clueless about CURRENT economic and foreign policy issues. Not only clueless, she doesn't seem to have ever given any thought to these issues prior to a couple of weeks ago. So no, I'd have to disagree with you that Biden's historically innaccurate analogy is just as bad as Palin's blitheringly incoherent responses to any substantive questions that have been posed to her.

  • Come on-you all know that had Palin made that mistake about FDR and the stock market crash, the media and you all would have been all over this, claiming that it shows what a brain-dead bimbo she is. Biden gets the privilege of everyone overlooking his dumb comments and assuming that he is a smart leader because he is an older white man.

  • The previous comments in this thread (see, e.g., Rob's contention that Palin is a "raving, lunatic bitch" and Brandon who seems to not fully accept Biden's ignorance of history despite evidence to the contrary) illustrate this well. Sexism is indeed ugly.

  • Nice try, but I'm pretty sure Biden's benefit-of-doubt comes from his 30 years in the Senate and his ability to answer a question without drooling on himself.

    It's cute, though, when conservatives decide to be cheeky and play the racist/sexist card. Yes, the media make Sarah Palin sound like she's retarded because she's female. It is all a scam. Thanks for playing.

  • I'm all for making fun of our elected officials when they say something stupid. We should make fun of Joe Biden for not knowing who was president when the Great Depression or that TV was not yet invented in 1929. We should also make fun of Sarah Palin when she claims that because Alaska is close to (a largely uninhabited area of) Russia she has foreign policy experience or when she can't name one example of regulation that John McCain supported. The question that arises is, which one of these examples is an indicator of future leadership. While a (vice) president who doesn't know American history is foolish, a (vice) president who thinks that proximity = foreign policy is dangerous.

    We've lived with dangerous and foolish for too long. I'm much more willing to try simply foolish for a little while and see how that feels.

  • Melissa, I agree. In fact, I think Palin would actually have been forced off the ticket. Biden does have 30 years of experience so this wasn't such a big issue.

  • This is not a case of media/liberal sexism. Palin said herself that women should encourage extra scrutiny of their comments and behavior and not whine about it when Hilary was getting criticized, now that she is the target she wants to pull out the sex card. I am also distrubingly surprised at the number of times I have heard the criticism of Palin referred to as elitist fears that someone common with only a BA could rise to the top…bologna. The primary difference between Palin and Biden is that no one knows who the hell Palin is, Biden whether you like him or hate him, you at least know him by now, including the fact that his mouth gets away from him just as we forgave McCain, an acclaimed foreign policy expert, his several slip ups regarding which countries still exist. We don't know Palin at all, so when she says something monumentally stupid we sort of have to assume she is monumentally stupid because we have no evidence to support the contrary.

  • #1-I am not a conservative; in fact, I have never voted for the Republican Party. Simply dismissing my comments because you believe I am a conservative and that my concerns of gender bias are "cute" further illustrates my point that many of you are misogynistic and should think about this and become more self-aware.

    #2-Just because Palin believes that women "should encourage extra scrutiny of their comments" (as a commenter reports) does not make it true or correct. Gov. Palin is not the "official spokeswoman" for all women in the U.S. or the world.

    Let me be clear that I am not a political supporter of Governor Palin. I am not a member of the Christian Right–but I do believe that women suffer from misogyny in our culture and not just that coming from men but also women. To me, it's not about a "sex card" to be played–it's not a game–women should not be referred to as "bitches" (as Rob did) and until we stand up against these types of characterizations, I believe women will not attain equality. To me, referring to Palin as a "bitch" is no better than referring to Obama as a "N-", which I hope everyone agrees is deplorable.

  • I use "bitch" to describe anyone I find deplorable.

    McCain, for choosing someone as inept and dangerously ignorant as Palin to be his running mate, is a bitch.

    Palin, for arrogantly accepting his nomination for a job she's grotesquely unqualified to hold, is also a bitch.

  • Melissa, first, many thanks for equating my post with the one proclaiming Palin to be a "raving, lunatic bitch." Your eye for nuance is impeccable. I think Ed put it well in pointing out that Biden gets some benefit of the doubt because of his thirty years of serving in the Senate, including in some of the chamber's most important committees, and a long record of engaging seriously with national and economic issues. And discussing those issues in thousands of interviews and press conferences over those years. So, no, my contention that Biden is not ignorant of history is NOT contrary to the evidence, it is quite consistent with the evidence of a long and distinguished career of dealing with these issues.

    Let me be clear, while I think Palin is relatively ignorant of national and international issues, I don't think she is stupid. She is simply a product of her environment and her career up to this point. She has spent her entire political career in Alaska. Dealing with Alaskan issues. Alaska is so far remote from mainstream American politics and economics, it is such an economic, social, demographic, geographic outlier, that I'm not surprised she hasn't had to deal with international issues or concern herself with problems affecting the rest of the country. I don't fault her for that, but I am entitled to criticize and vote against her for that reason. Now, if you genuinely feel that she demonstrated a firm grasp of these issues in her interviews, you are entitled to your opinion. But don't deride my and others' legitimate criticisms as sexist just because you are upset somebody called her a bad name.

  • Frankly, I don't see a substantive difference if he had called her a raving lunatic asshole as opposed to a raving lunatic bitch, and I think the two mean approximately the same thing.

    That said, I agree with your follow-up point. But your original comment was not about the word "bitch" but about how Joe Biden gets the benefit of the doubt because he's a man while Sarah Palin suffers ridicule on account of her penislessness. That, as the French say, is ridiculous.

    Joe Biden botching his historical facts while making an off-the-cuff analogy is embarrassing. Sarah Palin being utterly unable to answer a single substantive policy question – nay, any question that is not about her kids – is not the same thing. The reason they are treated differently in these two examples is because said examples are not the same thing. False Equivalency. -1.

    To anyone who feels that Biden's mangling of the New Deal-era timeline is grave, let's play a game. Let's arrange a game of Jeopardy between Palin and Biden covering US Presidents and US History. I will call Vegas and bet every single penny I own and the life of my dear pet rats on Biden. You do the same – your money and your life – on Palin. Deal?

    What, no takers? Shocking.

    My spidey sense tells me that Melissa may not be old enough to remember Dan Quayle, but I can assure you that this is EXACTLY how the media treated his billionaire, white, male, retarded ass. The difference isn't between man and woman, it's between saying something stupid and saying nothing BUT stupid things.

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