After the debates last Friday, Joe Biden went into bulldog mode, hitting up news outlets to spin for Obama. McCain’s camp drafted the consistently reprehensible Rudy Giuliani to do the same, a clear indication of how much of a media liability Sarah Palin has become in their eyes.
Where was Palin? As far away from the action as possible, hanging out in bars and hitting up overrated cheesesteak joints in South Philly.* (And even doing this, she managed to put her foot in her mouth.) Steve Schmidt and Co. can’t figure out what to do with her, so they’ve tried to make her into some sort of quasi-First Lady: pleasant, smiley, completely banal. Better that than a drag on the ticket.
But she’s obviously still a drag on the ticket. And I think they’re playing this wrong, both politically and in terms of governance. Hiding Palin from the press only makes her more fascinating, which ensures that millions of extra eyeballs will be checking for her interviews than would otherwise be watching 20/20 or CBS Evening News. And so every time she launches into one of her nonsensical, graceless, anti-grammatical answers, the damage is exacerbated and magnified. We are getting that pure uncut. Were she doled out more liberally, a lot of her negatives would be nullified. (See Biden, Joe.)
If they had her out there all the time fucking up, she would get better, or at least, more comfortable. Watching her interview with Katie Couric, it was sort of amazing to see her not be able to handle the kind of pesky, tough questions that a more capable politician like HRC or Obama would easily bat away or reframe. She can’t bullshit, and I mean that in the worst possible way. As much schadenfreude as her travails may give us, there’s still a really, really good chance that this untested, incoherent, incurious woman could be the President of the United States. And right now, she says ill-considered, even dangerous things. If there’s a chance that regular press attention makes her a more deliberate, less reckless politician — a stretch, granted — than maybe she should be exposed to it as much as possible.
*I know they’re more photogenic, but if you’re gonna get a cheesesteak in Philly, for God’s sakes people, don’t holler at the tourist-y spots. Tony Luke’s is okay, but the famous Geno’s and Pats are pathetic. Go to some tiny local corner store. Your tastebuds will thank you, even as your arteries curse you under their breath.
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