My take? Less than a 50% chance that she will debate Senator Biden this week. She will either drop out for personal reasons or there will need to be another suspension of the campaign for another “crisis.” She’s simply incapable of talking about the national and international issues that will be addressed.
Someone remarked earlier in the week that McCain has time for three more elaborate stunts before the campaign ends, and I for one, certainly hope removing Governor Palin is one of them. While public opinion is moving slowly towards Obama/Biden, and Sarah Palin is probably a big part of the McCain slide, I’d much rather have McCain running with a VP candidate who can actually govern, even if it means a boost in the polls.
(Is talk of Palin dropping out just wasted now? Is it too late to change ballots? Some places are even voting.)
Hendrink Hertzberg, on the Couric interview:
Those what? We send what? My hunch is that this alarming jumble must have something to do with the path that Russian intercontinental missiles would take on their way to the lower Forty-eight and/or the air-defense installations that NORAD maintains in the state Palin is executive of. But who knows? The whole thing reads like something rendered from the Finnish by Google Translate.
It was surreal, the kind of performance that would generate a hearty laugh if it were part of a Monty Python sketch. But this is real life, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. As Ms. Palin was fumbling her way through the Couric interview, the largest bank failure in the history of the United States, the collapse of Washington Mutual, was occurring.
Wondrously, though, Palin has yet to face any questions about her weird anti-witch inoculation at the hands of one Pastor Thomas Muthee in 2005. It’s sort of creepy to watch, but who knows — maybe this stuff really works for future vice presidents. Maybe Spiro Agnew should have tried it. Once upon a time, any person who sought the second-highest office in the land could expect to be grilled almost as unsparingly as a presidential candidate. Biden himself has been slammed during campaign interviews, not always unfairly.
Yet the Sarah Rules allow everyone to explain Palin’s words and past actions except Palin herself. If she were a man, they wouldn’t be praising her for being a hockey dad. They’d be calling her a lightweight who shouldn’t be a hundred heartbeats from the Oval Office, much less one.
A number of commentators, including The Atlantic’s James Fallows and Slate’s Christopher Beam, have said that Palin resembled, in Beam’s words, "a high-schooler trying to BS her way through a book report," which is an insult to both high-schoolers and B.S. Palin’s answers were hesitant, convoluted and at times — like when she appeared to suggest that Vladimir Putin might be preparing a one-man airborne invasion of Alaska — downright loony.
Daniel Larison, in the American Conservative:
Palin’s political style is the logical extreme of the Bushian folksiness-trumps-expertise and McCainesque “authenticity”-trumps-policy approaches. She is a natural product of mass democracy’s ongoing pursuit of charismatic mediocrity, in which voters not only seek someone with whom they can identify but also actively discourage politicians’ cultivation of expertise. Expertise grates against their egalitarianism, and so they try to avoid it in their political leaders.
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.