Friday, September 12, 2008

Back To Earth

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Well, actually, a LOT of Republicans said the election was over after Sarah Palin was picked to be John McCain's running mate. But at some point or other, Palin had to get off the campaign trail and say something in public that strayed from her well-crafted acceptance speech, which she had been repeating for over a week. And that point came on September 11th in Fairbanks.

Palin's performance in her first interview with Charlie Gibson should not be compared with the 9-11 disaster, although I'm sure some NY Times or columnist will not be able to resist that allusion. This was not, however, Palin's finest moment. Gibson, rightly so, launched right into questions about foreign policy - the area that most people in America suspect would be Palin's weakest link. And she did prove to be pretty weak. Her answers concerning Israel and the Russian invasion of Georgia were clearly crafted by someone else and grafted onto Palin's brain. And she clearly had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was when Charlie asked her about it.

Red meat Republicans will be tempted to attack Charlie Gibson for his questions, or for the borderline-condescending manner in which he asked them. But they should stop right there. Charlie Gibson was hand-picked by the McCain camp, and can you really name anyone else of stature who would have treated Palin any more fairly? I will say I was not very comfortable with Gibson's grilling about God. Religion is a very personal thing, and what makes sense to one person vis a vis God may make no sense at all to someone else.

Palin supporters will give her a pass on much of the interview. Let's face it... the vast majority of Americans don't know anything about foreign policy - that's what we elect other people to worry about. And I, for one, had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was, either! I have never had any delusion that Sarah Palin knows squat about foreign policy, and I could frankly care less about her bona fides in that area. Most Governors who have ever run for President have the same weakness entering the White House, and they simply learn on the job.

However, Palin's struggles with Gibson DO mark an important point in the election. It will give Democrats (and the media - especially MSNBC) some traction for the first time since Palin was introduced to the public before the GOP Convention. And it should erase a good portion of the bump that McCain enjoyed after St. Paul.

In other words, it's game on!

P.S. - Watch this clip - and remember - we only tease because we love.

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