In Part VI of our never-ending series on the stupidity that is Sarah Palin, we focus on last night’s debate. To be fair, Governor Palin made a hell of a showing last night, attempting to salvage any last drops of intellectual dignity while simultaneously attempting to stop the hemorrhaging of the GOP ticket. I suppose the bar was set quite low, but Palin did manage to step over the bar and show to the American people that she, at the very least, was able to memorize and regurgitate lines. Palin’s performance last night was akin to Amy Winehouse sober at a party thrown by Pete Doherty; Britney Spears coming out of a vehicle without showing her used goodies; and Naomi Campbell remembering Administrative Professionals Day. She didn’t have to beat Joe Biden. She just had to beat herself.
In watching the Katie Couric and Charles Gibson debacles, I think Palin’s handlers realized that the best response to a question that would otherwise generate gibberish and silence is not to attempt to answer the question, but to fall back on a different subject entirely. In the spirit of that unique debate style, Palin resorted to speaking about energy whenever given the opportunity, and creating her own opportunities as well.
Another theme in Palin’s debate style was to relate to “Joe Six-Packs” and “hockey moms” by essentially stating, “Hey. I’m just as dumb as you. Like you, I don’t understand issues, but I want solutions.” To be perfectly frank, I do not understand this tactic, which, of course, will lead to accusations that I am elitist. We (well, not me, that’s for sure) elected Dubya because he appealed to the “ordinary” American. He was someone you could have a beer with; watch a football game with. He choked on pretzels. He possessed little knowledge of world affairs and did not otherwise possess any curiousity of such affairs. Dubya was elected to represent the “ordinary” American. Many have said this before (myself included), but I ask — seriously people, when did it become prudent to choose an “ordinary” person to lead a country?
To make this more applicable to “ordinary” Americans, I have been playing fantasy sports for a few years. When I sit in front of my computer, drafting my team, do I draft the “ordinary” players? No. I draft the extraordinary. The ones who possess extraordinary skills because I want to be the best. I do not feel like I “relate” to Chase Utley (although he did go to UCLA – whoo whoot!). I do not feel like I “relate” to Brian Westbrook. But I choose the extraordinary — the ones with superior skills that I could never possess — so my team can succeed. When did it become palatable, in politics, to choose the “ordinary?”
And on to a more serious point. Other than repeated vapid uses of the word “Maverick,” Palin was unable to articulate, with any precision whatsoever, how McCain differs from Bush in terms of actual domestic and foreign policy. Instead, she resorted to a quip about how Obama/Biden are unable to let go of the past and need to look toward the future. This argument, however, fails in precisely the same fashion as her pathetic attempt at answering Ifill’s question regarding global warming. Palin’s position is that it does not matter what causes global warming — work just needs to be done on a solution. Similarly, her spoon-fed position on Iraq and other Bush-era disasters is that it does not matter what happened in the last 8 years — the focus should be on a solution. As Biden correctly pointed out (and I think he should have hammered her on this point), you must understand the cause of the problem in order to properly craft a solution. How the hell are you supposed to fight global warming if you don’t know what causes it? How the hell are you supposed to win a war in Iraq if you don’t understand all the blunders of the past? We all learned this quote in school:
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
The same applies here. Palin’s argument is, quite simply, stupid. When you’re bleeding profusely and visit the ER, the medical professionals will not only treat the bleed, but will find out what caused the injury. When the Pinto exploded during operation, car manufacturers did not just clean up the wreckage but learned from the mistakes of manufacturing to prevent the issue from arising again. When people, en masse, decided that the best course of action for the country would be to elect an “ordinary” Joe for eight years and then spiraled downward into war and recession, the past eight years are materially relevant. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with “ordinary” dominating our domestic and foreign policy.
Perhaps what was most frightening from last night’s debate was not Palin’s inability to answer questions, but the fact that she would seek to expand the powers of the Vice-Presidency — following in the footsteps of one of the most evil politicians ever, Dick Cheney.
And I can’t end this post without presenting a montage from last night’s debate. I have to say, all that winking just made me want to bitch slap her across the face so hard that the “yah knows” and “gosh darn its” would be beaten right out of her.