09.03.08 The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s not about Sarah Palin. It’s not about her ties to a Steve Abramoff lobbyist.  It’s not about her sucking tens of millions of dollars of pork that John McCain was simultaneously trying to kill.  It’s not about her support for the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.  It’s not about her inappropriate firings and threats against public employees.  It’s not about the fact that she just hired a high-priced lawyer, partly on state expense, to stonewall the investigation into her public behavior.  It’s not about her association with a secessionist party or her attendance at an evidently anti-Semitic church within the past couple of weeks.  It’s not about her declarations that certain oil pipelines and the Iraq War are “god’s will.” It’s not about her desire to ban books and teach creationism.  It’s not about her lack of relevant experience.  It’s certainly not about behavior of her family members or even her utter hypocrisy about “family values” that makes her family fair game.  It’s not about her fitness for the job.

Nope.  It’s about John McCain’s judgment.  And his basic competence.  And his fitness for the job.

At this point, it matters little what the particular details are, as new — usually damaging — information comes to light about Palin day-in, day-out.  The very fact that this is happening costs McCain & Co. dearly:

Direct Cost: The nonstop surprises reinforce a rapidly building perception of a poorly run, desperate campaign headed by a man who is dangerously impulsive (John McCain is becoming the risky choice this election year)

Opportunity Cost: Every column inch and every broadcast minute that is spent on the process and personalities of this VP pick is a column inch or broadcast minute not spent on getting the GOPs message out.

As if this weren’t all bad enough for McCain, his team has decided to turn on its erstwhile friends in the media, launching a campaign of whining and agressive attacks.  This stuff may play to the same fundamentalist masses that love Palin, but it certainly won’t help McCain get favorable coverage.   Which he might be needing right about now.

One wonders if there are any adults at all in the GOP operation.

So, where are we headed?  No doubt, it looks awfully good for Our Heroes at this point  But we have to get well past the conventions and immediate reaction to “Palingate” to discern enduring trends. Only after two or three weeks will we see whether the media’s meme of the moment is still Palin or whether they’re back to their tradional role of broadcasting right-wing talking points.  Only then will we see (in polling data) whether the American people are also breaking the mold for a change, by giving a shit about truth and standing firm against right-wing manipulation.

So I won’t make any November predictions now.  But I do believe that if Obama is around 50% by the end of September and McCain is still in the low 40s, the die will have been cast.

I count on all of you, Dear Readers, to continue following every gruesome detail of the unfolding drama these next two weeks, while I am on vacation in Mexico, sipping tequila and learning Spanish!

Hasta la vista!

©2008 Keith Berner

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4 Comments on “09.03.08 The Gift That Keeps on Giving”

  1. tgibson24 Says:

    I hate tequila. Bad experience when I was young. I watched her speech at the convention today and obviously it plays well to evangelicals and conservatives. To me the biggest question is do people really want a VP pick who “is more like them” just like people seemed to like that aspect of George Bush in 2000 and 2004. If so I think she does get some ind voters to her ticket.

    I think more and more will come out about her (her religious beliefs would be nice…her thinking Iraq is “a task given by God” would be nice) and I hope to see more and more articles about McCain’s judgment choosing her.


  2. kenf Says:

    Check this out:


    One of the POWs McCain served with doesn’t want him as president.


  3. Leon Morse Says:

    You know, I was just reading a missive from the Obama campaign specifically decrying something that pissed me off about last night (both Giuliani and Palin): mocking Obama for his community organizing work. It really pissed me off because of the robotic, frat-boy response from the Texas Republicans near the front. What a bunch of assholes. (As an aside, I can’t help but wonder if they want the kind of reforms against the “good ol’ boys” that Palin was referring to; I’m sure they’ll quickly marginalize her on that front).

    My ranting digression aside, the thing that I find interesting is that Palin got into public service the same exact way Obama did: community organizing. If the PTA is not community organizing, I don’t know what is. It would appear that the community organizing that is bad–to the Republicans–is when you try to enfranchise the urban disenfranchised: that’s derision-worthy communism! When you do it because you want to shape a school district–and I’d be curious to find out what her priorities in the PTA were–well that’s small town America at its best.


  4. Keith Berner Says:

    The following is from my brother, Seth, who tried to post it here, but couldn’t for some reason:

    “While McCain’s VP pick will certainly do more harm to his campaign than Obama’s will to his (I do not share in the widespread support for Biden) it is naive to say that polling data will tell us anything conclusive about the national viability of an African American candidate in a general election. The racists do not poll honestly, but they do vote. And they will take Palin or even green Shrek before they support a Black person. 10% may be enough of a margin to offset that, but we won’t really know until the polls have closed and the Republican-controlled voting machines have spewed out numbers. Cockiness is particularly inappropriate in this election.”


    And here’s my response:

    You are right about the polls and racists, of course.  We shouldn’t feel sanguine until/unless the polls are consistently showing 10-point leads for Obama in enough states to equal 271.
    And I’m hearing liberals rave this morning about how great Palin’s speech was last night.  (I can’t watch that shit, so I have to rely on others’ reports).  So, you’re right that cockiness is certainly not in order.  Thanks for helping to bring me back to earth.


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