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