The Trouble With Palin

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.