Archive for October, 2008

You’ve Jumped The Shark When…

Friday, October 31st, 2008

…even Marty Peretz won’t hate on some Arabs with you.

It would be nice if this particularly nasty episode could follow Andy McCarthy and Sean Hannity around for the rest of their lives.

Football Blogging

Friday, October 31st, 2008

There’s a couple of things I’m really getting annoyed with on ESPN, and so I;m going to take a minute to address them here.

First of all, Josh Elliot keeps saying that “an arbitrary title system demeans the regular season.” So he’s a playoff fanatic, which is understandable, but seriously, don’t say the same thing every damn day. Please.

On the merits though, it’s worth pointing out, again, how little playoof proponents seem to have thought this thing through, and because of which I really doubt many of them are particularly avid college football fans. On the one hand, the system is completely unworkable as a scheduling matter. The current bowl schedule runs from, basically, Christmas to New Year’s Day with a handful of bowls scatterd in the weeks prior and after. Which means that most of the travel is confined to a period when every university in the country is on their holiday breaks. An 8 team (or especially a 16 team) playoff would require that the NCAA either expand their schedule into January, which would put them in competition with the NFL playoffs and the conference play period of the college basketball season, or play through the entirety of December, which would conflict with everyone’s final exam schedule. The academic implication of that is bad enough (this is still college football, no matter how much it would help ESPN’s bottom line), but that scenario would also require scaling back the “lesser” bowl schedule, which would never be approved by the mid major conferences, nor the 2nd tier teams in the major conferences. Obviously neither of these scenarios are workable.

But even if you’re too stubborn to accept that it just can’t be feasibly done, there are other problems attached. First of all, there are too many teams, and too many scheduling quirks, for a playoff to be determined by records, so you’re still going to require polls to determine who gets into the playoffs. Now maybe that doesn’t sound terrible, but what happens when we have a couple of teams with 2 losses n the bubble for the 8th spot, and the team who gets left out winds up being a team that’s beaten the eventual national champion? Josh Elliot is going to be screaming about the unfairness of it all over again, and we’ll have to endure the further annoyance of the people who agitated for the damn thing bitching like it’s someone else’s fault.

But in a much more consequential change to the college football landscape, if you instituted an 8 (or 16) team playoff system, you can forget about seeing any marquee, non-conference, match ups through the year, outside of rivalry games. Sure you’ll still Florida-Florida State, but you can forget Ohio State-USC, or Ohio-State Texas, Virginia Tech-LSU, Michigan-Oregon, and so on. And the reasoning is simple; if the strategy becomes one of being one of the top 8 teams in the country, instead of one of the top 2, the best teams at the outset are going to be more concerned with having few losses instead of having “signature wins” at the end of the year. Ohio State and USC won’t play each other, and then have to go play their conference schedule, because the risk won’t be worth the reward. If Ohio State had played UNLV instead of USC, they’d probably only have 1 loss right now, have a good shot at running the table the rest of the way, and be ina very good position to make the playoffs. As it stands though, they have two losses and probably won’t crack the top 8 at the end of the season. And on the flip side, even though they won that game USC is currently sitting at only 6th and 7th in the Coaches’ and AP polls, after losing to Oregon State.

The second issue is Mike Singletary. You’ve seen the video right? And you’ve probably seen lots of talking heads on ESPN applauding Singeltary for “reigning these players in,” as Steve Young put it. You know what you haven’t seen? Anyone pointing out the irony of Singletary complaining people weren’t focused on “the team” as he’s drawing attention to himself and publicly humiliating one of his players. Anyone think we might be hearing about how incredibly disrespectful this was if it was a player criticizing the team’s coach?

Bill Kristol in 30 Seconds

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Brilliant:

A lot of people are taken with post-mortems of the right at the moment, but for my money probably the single most devastating blow for the conservative infrastructure on the whole was when Bill Kristol carved out a place for himself as, arguably, the leading conservative intellectual. Up to that point, the right had actually done a pretty good job of keeping their intellectual class seperated from the base rousers on the radio, but Kristol was the end of that. Remember that Kristol got his start as Dan Quayle’s chief of staff (thanks to his daddy of course), and everything he’s done since then has served a partisan end…as is brilliantly summed up in that devastating sentence from Jon Stewart. Yeah the guy may write books, he may have started a magazine, he may write for The New York Times, but at the end of the day none of that is actually serious work, and at every turn Kristol is merely disseminating spin. And he’s gotten so automated in that that he doesn’t even realize it’s not exactly credible for him to be using the Times, as a slur.

Lots of people are wondering what the Republican party needs to do to recover, and this that and the other, but the absolute first thing that must be done for them, in the long run, is to dump Bill Kristol, and everyone in his mold, and actually get yourself a serious intellectual class again. A cartoon character so easily made fun of (and so consistently wrong about, well, everything), is not someone you want as a prominent face of your party/movement.

(h/t) Greg Mitchell

Okay, So I Was Wrong

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Earlier in the year Brien and I were blogging back and forth on the issue of “turning points” in a presidential campaign.  I maintained that these “reasons Candidate X Lost” were always decided upon in hindsight, by historians who wanted to sound educated and intelligent, and that the events themselves did not really play that important a role in the outcome of the election.

Mike Dukakis in the tank, John Kerry wind surfing…  These kinds of things make there way into political lore and are cited as the “reasons” these candidates lost.  I still think they are being over emphasized, but I have to admit, I, myself, see one of those turning points this election.

The nomination of Sarah Palin WILL be the turning point for John McCain.  I think that the political historians will tell us that choosing Poison Palin, while it gave him a bit of a bump early on, ultimately cost him the support of enough moderate and independent voters to give the election to Obama.

None of this happened in a vacuum, and certainly the economic crisis didn’t do McCain any favors, but the sheer arrogance and lack of judgment shown in choosing this most unqualified woman apparently simply because she was a hard right woman politician made people realize that maybe they couldn’t trust old Uncle John.

As a Democrat, I am glad that he nominated her because it appears that she will be the “frontrunner” for the GOP nomination in 2012 (Sorry Mitt!)  and she will be an easy target.  She was someone who could have built a solid reputation, serving as governor for a few terms and then going to the Senate perhaps for a term, and THEN she would have had the chops to make a credible run at a national office.  She is damaged goods now, and no matter how well she rouinds out her experience and understanding of things, she will always be remembered for believing that sharing a water border with Russia gave her “foreign policy” experience.

So Sarah is the turning point on which this election has turned.

Let’s get it over with!

— writeside

Intangiables

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Ezra (who’s apparently some kind of famous now) writes:

Imagine, then, what would have happened if Barack Obama had ended up running against the senator who brought the first cap-and-trade bill before the Congress, passed one of the most important campaign finance reform bills in history, voted against Bush’s tax cuts, championed the Patient’s Bill of Rights, fought for comprehensive immigration reform, and was the Senate’s most effective opponent of torture. Catastrophe, right?

Luckily, Obama didn’t run against that guy. John McCain, who did all that, spent this election refusing to mention any of his accomplishments. He argued the virtues of experience without pointing to its fruits. He bragged of being a maverick without explaining how his independence had resulted in tangible achievements. The reality of his record is that he was an ineffective Senator until the aftermath of the 2000 election, when his anger with the Republican Party led him to construct odd-bedfellows coalitions with Democrats and his national celebrity — yes, celebrity — helped him pass the legislation, or at least get press for breaking with his party. The resulting achievements proved deeply unpopular with the conservative base. So when he ran as the Republican nominee, he clammed up about global warming and flip-flopped on immigration. He stopped talking about campaign finance reform and started supporting tax cuts. His resulting criticisms of Obama fell flat: Unable to detail his own record, he couldn’t connect with his critique of Obama’s history. Unable to explain why it was good to be a maverick, he came off like a pro-wrestler trying to promote his new nickname.

I’m not all that sure I buy this. On the one hand it’s certainly tempting to imagine a world in which McCain had embraced his (recent) record, and really given some meaning to the “maverick,” but on the other hand I don’t know that that really would have changed very much. At the end of the day 80%+ of the country thinks we’re on the wrong track, the Republicans control the White House, and John McCain is still a Republican.

On the other hand, I think this drastically misunderstands the way a lot of voters make their decisions. While I think we’d certainly like to think that voters consider, you know, issues in making their choice, in reality the matter comes down to, for a large number of voters (and an even larger share of “Swing” voters), a gut level decision about who they “like,” and that kind of decision involves a certain amount of emotional appeal that is hard to quantify.

At the end of the day, experience or not, John McCain is a very discomforting person. He’s one of the most seemingly uncomfortable politicians in public I’ve ever seen, his movements and expression are very awkward, his speaking style is hurried and staccato, and he has a tendency to string sound bytes and attack buzzes together in ways that don’t always come out in complete sentences or leave the viewer feeling awkward, and of course he’s extremely susceptible to certain tics. Obama, on the other hand, always manages to tie a point together, even when it’s peppered with “uh’s,” and generally manages to remain smooth verbally.

I think this also downplays the extent to which people see the President as something extra-political. Yes, he’s the chief executive of the government, yes issues are going to matter at the end of the day, but at the same time the President, as the only truly national office in the government, means more to us than just that. They’re a symbol of the country, they’re someone we instinctively respect on some level (the holiday is “Presidents’ Day), and they’re someone we look to for something we can’t always understand, something reassuring, especially when times get hard. Ronald Reagan understood that, and his “Morning in America” campaign cliched it. And this is, I think, the essence of Obama. Yes he’s electrifying, he’s certainly inspiring in multiple ways, but he’s also unflappable. He never seems rattled, even by the enormity of the moment. And at the end of the day, there’s something downright comforting about seeing him, especially at this moment. I mean, at the brink of what could potentially be an historic economic downturn, after an historically bad Presidency and a low point of sorts in our history, we’re about to elect a biracial black man who was raised by his white, single, mother and whose father was a Kenyan. If we can do that, now, less than 50 years after Congress actually had to take federal action to protect blacks’ right to vote, then what’s a little thing like a financial crisis?

And that’s a factor that no one could compete with.

Um, Ok

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Here’s Rich Lowry trying to buck up the troops over at The Corner:

The McCain campaign says their internal polling still shows tightening, and their track shows them down three in the swing states.

“Down threee in the swing states?” What the hell does that even mean? Which swing states? Are they “down by three” in all of them, or were they lumping them together for some strange reason? Or maybe more importantly, did Lowry make this up all by himself or did he actually buy this nonsense from someone in the campaign?

More Blowback From McCain

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Aside from being reminiscint of something out of the Soviet Union, John McCain wants you toknow that Barack Obama’s 30 minute ad is going to delay the start of tonight’s 3 inning finish to game 5 of the World Series. Except that, according to Fox, it’s not: 

“Our first pitch for the world series is usually around 8:30 anyway – so we didn’t push back the game, it was really just about suspending the pre-game — you know, Joe Buck,” said the account executive, Joe Coppola. “That’s all we did.”

So you mean that Barack Obama has managed to decrease the amount of time I have to put up with Tim McCarver tonight? Obama for President!

On a slightly more serious note though, for all the tearing of garmets and what not going on about this, there’s nothing all that unusual about what Obama’s doing. In fact, it used to be something like standard operating procedure before the coming of 24/7 news outlets. And I suspect few people are really going to watch it, it won’t have a terrible effect one way or another, except to drive the right-wing of the GOP further into their own coffins.

The World Series

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Boy, was last night a mess or what?

I’ve given Bud Selig a lot of grief over the years, and I think it would probably be in the best interests of baseball to turn the page on that, but I want to go on record as saying he most certainly did the right thing here. I just don’t think you can end the World Series and crown the World Champion in fewer than 9 innings. I think that’s something that would be very bad for baseball, in the short and long terms. I think the problem was that they wanted to wait until the game was tied, rather than risk a nightmare scenario in which the game is postponed with Philly ahead, and Tampa Bay then comes back to win the Series. It was an impossible situation to be in, and I think Selig ultimately made the decision in the best interest of baseball.

Sorry Philly fans.

Good Questions

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Atrios asks something that ought to be on everyone’s mind:

I’ve long been aware that you can be a sitting US Senator and be a bit of an idiot. But even the idiots seem to have some basic grasp of the contours of the debate over various policies. I really don’t know how you can be in the Senate for as long as McCain has, subjected to repeated exposure to this stuff, and be so completely clueless about everything.

This has long been something in the background of everything that no one has really connected to anything, probably because McCain is supposed to be the experienced, “substantive,” candidate. And I’m not even talking about the ins and out of multitudes of complex policies. McCain regularly mistakes basic processes and terminology anyone in the Senate would be familiar with, and does so with such ease that it’s hard to come away with any conclusion other than that he actually thinks what he’s saying is correct. And that says some rather scary things about his desire to pay attention, and his overall seriousness in matters of policy.

Discipline

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

I’ve seen lots of worrying lately about what a large Senate Democratic caucus would mean for party discipline, and the general consensus seems to be that Democrats will never “stay in line.” It’s certainly the case that Democrats have generaly had a harder time keeping their caucus whipped into line than the Republicans, and it’s definitely hard conventional wisdom now, but I think we may be overstating the case somewhat now. Here’s Digby:

This reminds me of something that’s been driving me nuts for the past few days. The gasbags are chattering excitedly about the potential filibuster-proof Democratic senate majority. On what planet does anyone think that’s actually going to be operative? It wouldn’t happen with people like Ben Nelson or Mary Landrieu, much less Holy Joe. In fact, this fantasy would put Lieberman right back where he was in the last congress — the deciding vote. Oy vey. They’d be better off just sticking with 59 votes than let that jackass run his game anymore.

I’m just not sure that’s likely to be the case. I think the problem is that we’re operating under the assumption that it takes 60 votes to pass a major package, because it has generally taken 60 votes to do so in the past. But it doesn’t take 60 votes to pass a bill, it takes 50 (assuming Joe Biden gets to cast the tiebreaking vote). It takes 60 votes merely to prevent a filibuster. So I suppose the question becomes whether or not Democratic Senators will be willing to filibuster Democratic bills, and I’m inclined to think the answer to that is no. I can certainly see Mary Landrieu and Jon Tester voting against, say, a universal healthcare bill, but I can’t really see them voting to filibuster it. To do so would be to basically prove your uselessness to the national party, and probably leave you hanging out on your own limb. And Democrats in red states really can’t afford that. They need DSCC and DNC money to be competitive in re-election years, and the party leadership would do well to remind them of that.

Also, it’s worth considering that not every Republican Senator left over is going to be a rock-ribbed right-wing ideologue. Susan Collins, for example, looks to be headed for re-election in Maine, and she’s indicated that she’ll support Obama’s healthcarepan in the Senate. So even if there were a few defectors from the Democratic ranks, it seems likely that at least a couple of Republicans could be found to make up the difference, as thereare plenty of them who need to burnish an image of being a moderate, if not an outright liberal, Republican.

The Limits To Truthiness

Monday, October 27th, 2008

So, apparently, someone dug up a long lost radio interview of an academic panel Obama took part in in which he basically stated a disagreement with the idea of affirmative economic rights. So how does Mark Levin react? By publishing multiple post at The Corner to the effect of “Barack Obama supports affirmative rights.”

Now, this is funny in its own right, but over the weekend Levin published a very long screed basically asking why the vast majority of the country just doesn’t see Obama the way the twits over at The Corner see him. And if Levin, a) weren’t paid to make shit up, and b) had any sense for introspection or successive thinking, he might realize that he basically just answered his own question; the vast majority of voters don’t see Obama the way The Corner does because the writers at The Corner have basically constructed a completely different reality from which they see things.

For instance, The Corner is still working under the assumption that Obama is “the most liberal Democrat ever.” Levin called him a true ideologue. But this is just abjectly stupid. Obama is probably the least liberal Democrat to run for President since Carter, with the possible exception of the 1996 version of Clinton. His tax plan has, at its core, a pretty substantial tax cut for the vast majority of workers. He’s proposing eliminating most capital gains taxes on small businesses. His healthcare plan was by far the least liberal of all of the plans put up in the Democratic primary, and even less liberal than the plan Clinton proposed in 1993. He’s voiced conceptual support for executing child rapists. His main economic advisers come from the University of Chicago, a University that has an entire school of right-of-center economic thought named after it! He’s not ruled out the possibility of retaining Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and has said he’ll be taking advice from Colin Powell. He’s also expressed an admiration for the foreign policy views and team of the George H.W. Bush admistration. In many ways, Obama is substantially less liberal than me.

All of which means nothing to people predisposed to vote against him of course, and that’s basically the target audience of talk radio and The Corner. They don’t really exist to persuade voters, they exist to preach to the choir, in large part because that’s where the money is. And there is a certain market for that to be sure. Most voters, or at least a very large plurality of them, don’t have any logical process involved with deciding their votes. They generically identify with one party or another, and will invariably cast their ballots for whomever their party nominates. And, on some level, that’s fine. It’s certainly to be expected at least. But what it does do is create a large number of voters, on both sides, who have no actual, substantive, reason for why they’re casting a vote for, o against, the particular candidates. And that’s where outlets like The Corner come in quite handy; to give a rationale to a large number of Republican partisans who otherwise don’t really have any reason beyond “I’m a Republican” for why they’re voting for Republican X.

The problem, in the broader scale, is that your own blanket partisans aren’t enough to win elections, and are typically offset by the other sides blanket partisans. So what you need to do is attract the much smaller bloc of persuadable voters who will switch their partisan preferences year to year to support your “team.” At times, Republicans are very good at this and it’s certainly not impoossible to do this with negative branding. In 2004, for example, Republicans were able to brand Kerry as an untrustworthy flip flopper early, but this was helped in large part by the “for it before I was against it” video. There was visual evidence for everyone to see to reinforce the brand. This time around, however, Republicans have basically decided that they’re going to try the electoral equivalent of swearing the grass is purple. Which works fine for the swath of hypothetical people who don’t want to believe that the grass is green, but the vast majority of people are going to recognize that you’re trying to feed them something that just isn’t true. Of course, there’s a point to which this sort of thing can “work,” in the short term; if the sky happens to have a purple tint at dusk or something, you could probably convince people that the sky was “purple” and not blue, but of course there’s a certain point of disbelief to everything, and I think it’s safe to say the right-wing crossed it some time ago in regards to Obama.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Embrace The Fraud

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I don’t know how I missed this truly hilarious entry  by Chris Hayes, but I did and now I’m late to the game. Nevertheless:

Having moved to DC last year, I suddenly realized a week ago that I needed to register to vote at my new (disenfranchised) address by October 5th. So I dutifully printed out the form, filled it out and prepared to mail it. I happen to live in one of those pre-war apartment buildings that has a mail chute (side point: how great are mail chutes? why don’t all buildings have them?). As I went to the mail chute to deposit my registration I encounter a problem: the chute hole was too small for the large registration form. So, foolishly, I folded it in half and stuffed it in. Immediately, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. The form got about a foot down before getting stuck. I went and got a coat hanger, attempting to fish it out, but, of course, as always happens in these situations, only succeeded in pushing it further down. I resigned in despair and gaped: There was my precious franchise, tantalizingly close, and yet so far. What to do?

Since it was only a few days before the registration deadline I had no choice. The next day I printed out another form and mailed it in, from a mailbox on Capitol Hill. But here’s where the serious, class A fraud comes in. That very same day, my excellent and competent building super had managed to get the mail chute unstuck, meaning there were now – gasp! – two identical registration forms speeding their way towards DC Board of Elections Headquarters. That’s right, a fraudulent registration with my name on it. Oh noes!

Clearly Christopher Hayes is a domestic terrorist and his employer is possibly on the verge of perpetrating maybe the biggest fraud in the history of mankind (take that ACORN!). We should probably have him hanged, drawn, and quartered to set a good example to other would be voter-terrorists who are thinking about trying to subvert our democracy by, er, voting.

In all seriousness though, this is a pretty good illustration of why there is no looming “fraud” crisis threatening to tear apart our democractic state, namely, that most of these curious instances have perfectly logical reasons behind them with no sinister intent. And most of them tend to occur because of a lack of resources devoted to election administration. I mean, when you move, yoi have to change your address with the post office. You can go into any post office anywhere and do this. Do you have to call your old post office and specifically let them no, lest the USPS try to send your mail to two seperate addresses? Of course not, because the entire system is integrated and every post office can access administrative data from any other post offices. But this doesn’t hold true in elections, especially in bigger states. If you move from one county to another in Ohio, you have to register to vote all over again. But your new county won’t inform your old county that you’ve registered to vote there, and odds are that you’ll stay on the roles in your old county unless you specifically call them and ask to be taken off. But, of course, no one really thinks to do that (in large part because you’d think they’d be integrated in the 21st century), so you have a duplicate registrant. There’s nothing nefarious about it, and it’s not even the voter’s fault. It’s the logical outcome of a badly managed and unappreciated function of government.

So here’s my proposal; “fully funding” local boards of elections. Let’s get every state on line together, fully integrated at the state level and across state databases, so records can be more accurately maintained in an efficient manner. If I can simply file a change of address with the post office to move anywhere in the country, there’s no reason I can’t do it with the Board of Elections if I’m staying in the same state, and there’s no reason they can’t keep clean records. There’s also no reason why problems arising from clericals errors such as typos need to be handled in the hectic period a month prior to a major election. If we did these sorts of things inthe summer or, God forbid, off years, we could notify people that there was a problem with their information, they could get it cleared up, and we could do all of this with more time and fewer things going on at once. And there’s really no need for draconian registration deadlines that bottleneck the process either. Certainly you don’t want a situation wherein partisans from “safe” states flood into swing states at the last minute in order to vote there and tip the election, but it seems to me that it wouldn’t be all that hard to show proof of residency going back at least 30 days and that, if you can do that, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have an extra month in which to spread out the paper wrk and prevent these chaotic situations.

But something tells me that we’re not going to get a lot of support for these sorts of fixes from the “concerned” conservatives all a flutter about ACORN. Anyone tink otherwise?

One Week Out

Monday, October 27th, 2008

We are one week away from picking the next President.  While I am relatively confident that it will be Barack Obama (I am still a Democrat, after all and I KNOW something could still get fucked up), I am relieved that we are going to pick a successor to George Bush.

I will wait and hold my breath until the new Vice President is sworn in and the Bush Presidency is officially ended, but just to have a successor named will be enough for me!

This has been the worst administration in American history.  They have done more to ruin the country and to make the world a more dangerous place than any administration – ever.

There is no area of the country, no facet of our commwealth that has not been harmed by these people.  With the financial meltdown even the people the administration tried hardest to help are taking it in the ass…

Whatever else happens next Tuesday, George W. Bush starts the long walk off that short pier into oblivion as soon as we have a President-Elect.

It cannot come fast enough for me!

– writeside

It’s Over

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Anyone still fretting over the “close” Presidential election should head over to The Corner and notice that K-Lo is incessantly whining that the race, “isn’t over yet.” You should then go check out her past track record with such assurances, and line up your election night plans early.

The Trouble With Palin

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I’m watching with great fascination the infighting already going on in the McCain/Palin campaign and, the self serving Kristol and Rove blame on the staff aside, am really finding that everything we assumed about Sarah Palin was true and then some. Now, I’m not going to let the McCain campaign off the hook by any means, they’ve never had a long term general election strategy, they haven’t put together any serious policy proposals outside of their laughable plans for taxes and healthcare, and, of course, they made the choice to bring in Palin. But it’s also pretty obvious that Palin is somewhat unique in her lack of self-awareness and her misplaced “confidence.”

This particular accusation hits home:

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

“Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

They insisted that she needed time to be briefed on national and international issues and on McCain’s record.

“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”

It’s one thing (although no a good thing) for a Presidential candidateto nominate a Vice-President with no knowlege or understanding of national issues, it’s another thing entirely for that potential VP to refuse to acknowledge that they aren’t well versed in those issues. And having watched Palin’s media performances, I think it’s pretty clear that that’s the problem. I mean, when you look at it, some of her most genuinely embarrassing answers were about “big issues.” Foreign policy (Bush Doctrine), the bailout (what the bailout reform will do is help the people who are concerned about the healthcare…), the courts (name a decision you disagree with), and so on. These aren’t things the McCain campaign would have spent little time on in her briefings, these are the things that would have been covered over and over. These are questions that would have been expected by any experienced campaign worker or politician, and I find it hard to believe that answers hadn’t been crafted, rehearsed, and recovered multiple times.

The problem is that Palin is the political equivalent of the B student who gets a 1500 on their SAT. Yes it’s a great accomplishment, but it doesn’t hand you a 4.0 GPA once you get to college and, at the end of the day, you’re still a B student. And what’s dangerous is when that 1500 makes you forget you’re merely a mediocre student, and instead think that you’re going to get better grades with minimal effort. And that’s what we’re seeing with Palin. A mayor and commissioner who pulled off a legitimately improbable win in her Gubernatorial race. But that’s basically it. It doesn’t mean she’s a uniquely talented politician who can make up for a total lack of knowledge in national issues. But, it appears, Palin either forgot that or was completely unwilling to accept that she wasn’t knowledgeable in the first place. My bet is on the latter, which means that it’s going to be hard for her to correct it anytime soon. So here’s hoping she does run in 2012, because 14 months of Palin ought to be downright hilarious. And then she can lose and we canbe rid of her once and for all.