Earlier this year, Advance Indiana churned the notion floating among conservatorati that Barack Obama would ditch Joe Biden after he exhibited too much "crazy Uncle Joe" at consecutive campaign stops while "Palin syndrome" infected America. Now it appears Palin is under assault.
("Palin Syndrome," which has a Republican strand called "Obama-mania," refers to the public's irrational, fevered pitch enthusiasm for a completely unknown political candidate because (s)he "looks and feels the part" for a demographically diverse ticket).
CNN's world affairs expert, Fareed Zakaria, captures my sentiments about Palin, and even my general admiration for Senator McCain, better than I ever could in the following interview with CNN:
CNN: What did you initially think when Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican vice presidential nominee?
Zakaria: I was a bit surprised -- as I think most people were. But I was willing to give her a chance. And I thought her speech at the convention was clever and funny. But once she began answering questions about economics and foreign policy, it became clear that she has simply never thought about these subjects before and is dangerously ignorant and unprepared for the job of vice president, let alone president.
CNN: You don't think she is qualified?
Zakaria: No. Gov. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly --nonsense. Just listen to her response to Katie Couric's question about the bailout. It's gibberish -- an emptying out of catchphrases about economics that have nothing to do with the question or the topic. It's scary to think that this person could be running the country.
CNN: Does it make you concerned about Sen. McCain as a president?
Zakaria: Yes, and I say this with sadness because I greatly admire John McCain, a man of intelligence, honor and enormous personal and political courage. However, for him to choose Sara Palin to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. He did not put the country first with this decision. Whether it is appropriate or not, considering Sen. McCain's age most people expected to have a vice presidential candidate who would be ready to step in at a moment's notice. The actuarial odds of that happening are significant, something like a one-in-five chance.
Every time I hear Palin's answer to Katie Couric's bailout question, I'm reminded of the scene in Billy Madison where Adam Sandler gives an infantile answer to a question during an academic competition, and the moderator/principal replies:
"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
But Palin will never get bounced, and my party is the reason. If McCain kicks Palin to the curb now, the Democrats will make him eat it for dinner. We'll put up ads about how he made a horrific call for political expediency.
So here's what I propose: bi-partisanship for the national interest, just like when Senator McCain championed campaign finance reform. Barack Obama agrees to SAY NOTHING about the change if John McCain will just do it. It would be like Obama giving McCain a political mulligan. Maybe if he did that, McCain would at least look at him in the next debate.