Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is Palin Failin'?

I thought McCain won the debate last night. He came across poised, confident, in command of the debate, and more knowledgeable and (as he pointed out) more experienced than Obama. Which raises the question of his running mate -- Sarah Palin. When Palin was first announced as McCain's VP pick, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about her. I was somewhat offended by many of the criticisms and mockeries made by many Obama supporters about her. I thought her first speech was great and I wanted to like her and yet... her recent performances on interviews seems to be going from bad to worse.

I didn't like Charlie Gibson's interview with her -- I thought Gibson came across far too disrespectful and wasn't bothered by all the hubbub about the Bush Doctrine. Unfortunately, she was painfully incoherent in her interview with Katie Couric, who I thought gave a good interview. (See more of the interview here.)

Kathleen Parker has even deeper concerns:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.
I don't know if I quite agree with Parker -- yet. However, I am getting increasingly concerned about Palin's incomprehensible answers. Her lack of experience doesn't bother me so much, but she apparently either gets nervous in interviews or else just doesn't know what she's talking about. The former can be overcome. It's the latter that scares me.

McCain's performance last night highlighted his superior command of the facts and his much greater experience with foreign policy than Obama has. Unfortunately, this contrast is also highlighting how far Palin appears to be from either candidate and gives serious concern to her ability to become an effective president. If Palin doesn't redeem herself in her debate with Biden next week and start making more public appearances, it will be difficult to cast a vote in good conscience for John McCain.

P.S. -- Here is more from The New York Times Caucus Blog, David Brooks, Bob Herbert, and Harrison Scott Key.

P.P.S. -- Is Biden much better?


thinking said...

Palin is clearly unqualified for VP, and as such should disqualify McCain from the presidency.

This was a reckless pick, one where McCain clearly chose ambition over country. It indicates that McCain's judgement is seriously flawed, and too flawed for the presidency.

Not to mention this was a cynical pick..and yes, even a sexist one. This insults all women by suggesting that women will vote for someone based on gender moreso than issues and qualifications. Never mind that Palin is not qualified, and on issues women identify as most important, Palin stands on the opposite side of most women.

Does anyone think she would have been chosen if she had been a male?

As for Biden, he is eminently qualified; no one doubts that. Sure, he can talk too much and make some embarrassing gaffes. But that is nowhere near the level of sheer incompetency displayed by Palin.

We've had too many years of an incompetent administration; we cannot afford another one.

Eric Dondero said...

The elitist wing of the conservative movement has always been wary of us libertarians coming into the GOP. Sarah Palin is one of the top elected libertarian Republicans in the country, (along with Idaho's Gov. Butch Otter, and Cong. Jeff Flake of AZ).

Of course, she's going to make some conservatives nervous.

They are wary of her libertarian cultural views. This is the woman, after all, who famously fought back against social conservatives in Wasilla who wanted to run all of the bars and taverns out of town.

They even started a whisper campaign in Alaska during the 2006 primaries that Sarah wasn't really a Republican, but rather a "closet libertarian." She had attended a couple local Libertarian Party meetings seeking their support.

But what she loses from the social conservatives, she gains 10 times over in libertarian votes.

Figure, Libertarian Bob Barr was polling 6% nationwide in mid-summer. As high as 10% in New Hampshire. And post-Palin he's now down to 1%.

Ever since Goldwater the eastern establishment Republicans have distrusted Western cowboy individualists in the GOP.

With Sarah Palin, the libertarian wing of the GOP has finally arrived. Of course, that's going to make some other Republicans nervous.

Get over it Conservatives, THE LIBERTARIANS HAVE ARRIVED!!

thinking said...

It just keeps getting worse for Palin.

Saturday Night Live ran a spoof of her interview with Couric that actually used her own words...SNL could not even improve upon the comedy of Palin's own answers.

Now today in an interview, when McCain was asked about a Palin comment where she seemed to agree with Obama, McCain basically said that it's unfair to take Palin's words at face value.

As for the previous comment about Palin being a libertarian...she's anything but. Remember, James Dobson loves her. This is the same person who even asked about banning books in a library, supports all types of anti-gay legislation, wants to teach creationism in the schools, etc.

lewis said...

One certainly can't think she is a libertarian based on her interviews. She sounds like a populist to me.

Having said that, I am going to cut her some slack. It would be very difficult to articulate the positions of a presidential candidate that doesn't seem to have a consistent ideology or specific policy positions. She might be able to articulate her own positions, but is struggling to articulate McCain's.