How to Attack Palin

Steve Benen gets it, if unintentionally:

I don’t doubt for a moment that Sarah Palin is a nice person and probably a competent Alaskan governor. But she also has the thinnest background of any candidate for national office since 1908. Is McCain willing, with a straight face, to argue that Palin is the single “most prepared” person in the entire United States to assume the presidency should tragedy strike? Is anyone, anywhere, prepared to argue that McCain has put “country first”? Of course not; these ideas are literally laughable.

Palin’s qualifications are, to a very real degree, secondary to the issue at hand. What matters most right now is John McCain’s comically dangerous sense of judgment. He picked a running mate he met once for 15 minutes, who’s been the governor of a small state for a year and a half, and who is in the midst of an abuse-of-power investigation in which she appears to have lied rather blatantly. She has no obvious expertise in any area, and no record of any kind of federal issues. McCain doesn’t care.

Sensible people of sound mind and character simply don’t things like this. Leaders don’t do things like this. It’s the height of arrogance. It’s manifestly unserious. It’s reckless and irresponsible. It mocks the political process. Faced with a major presidential test, McCain thought it wise to tell an imprudent joke of lasting consequence.

And that’s really probably the way Obama’s team should handle it. It’s not necessarily a good thing to start savaging Palin, if for no other reason than you might lower expectations for her and shoot yourself for it. It’s best value is in reminding people how much emphasis McCain has, ostensibly, put on national security experience, reminding people that he’s the oldest non-incumbent to ever run for President, and drive home how unserious McCain is. It’d even make a great counter to the celebrity ad, or any other silly attack ads McCain’s camp may be planning to roll out.

On the other hand, I’m sort of leery of Democrats inviting a pissing match about experience, as the Republican retort, “well at least she’s not the top of our ticket,” is kind of pre-made. In that mold, I think Democrats need a line that dismisses Palin while also defending Obama, something to the effect of “if John McCain thinks Sarah Palin is qualified to be commander in chief, how does he possibly think Barack Obama isn’t?”

But that’s just me.