Friday, October 03, 2008

The Palin Scare

I've gotta say, I'm simultaneously a bit surprised by the amount of press and attention Sarah Palin's getting, and surprised she's not getting more. On the one hand, she's just the vice-presidential nomination; the election is between the candidates, not their sidekicks. On the other hand, I'm just assuming here that John McCain (the three-time cancer survivor) won't be alive in four years, whether or not he wins the election. We've never had a candidate in my memory who was less likely to survive his term in office. Palin's probably going to be president if the Republicans win the White House. So why aren't people more scared about her? I suspect, whatever your political leanings, the index cards at last night's debate might be a cause for alarm. It wasn't a debate on Palin's part; it was a talking-points-and-anecdotes speech, broken into 90-second chunks.

I've heard commentators today pointing (proudly or begrudgingly, depending on the commentor's leanings) to the fact that she sounded much more polished than they expected. This is surprising? She wasn't spontaneously responding to questions. She essentially started the "debate" by proclaiming that she wasn't planning on answering questions, as much as telling people what she thought they needed to hear. This translates directly as "sticking to well-rehearsed talking points, regardless of the question asked". And it's hard to not sound polished when you're using notes to stick to a rehearsed script; it's a mark of minimal competency, not mastery or expertise. I'm also noticing that the mental performance-review check-box people are marking for her performance is the "exceeds expectations" box. And the expectations were universally low, even among Republicans. This should be a cause for alarm, too: the fact that even her supporters were somewhat expecting a face-plant on her part....

1 comment:

Jeff Mountjoy said...

And, related: just found the Sarah Palin Debate Flowchart, from Andrew Sullivan. Funny!