New Page 1

 Wednesday, October 01, 2008

As the lipstick fades, Sarah Palin’s true colors show


Margery Eagan

Read here

So the V.P. debate is just two nail-biting days away.

If I were Sarah Palin, I’d have jumped off the Bridge to Nowhere by now. Assuming there was a bridge. She was for it before she was against it, just to be clear.

Put yourself in Palin’s place.

We’re talking 19th nervous breakdown. Hand me a big bowl of Prozac. Make that two!

One hundred million Americans may tune in Thursday, half of them hoping she’ll blow it. Even conservatives now call her out of her league, and the dim-bulb brunette jokes continue apace.

During the debate, John McCain kept saying Barack Obama didn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy,” says local jokeman Ben Alper. “Sarah Palin later emphasized the point by saying a tactic is a tiny mint.”

But happily for the “Barracuda,” as they called Sarah at Wasilla High, the other half of America calls critics like me elitist, anti-frontier, pseudo-intellectual snobs. “She threatens you!” “You’re scared of her!”You hate women, you jealous, self-loathing sexist dog!”

Such is a sampling of my post-Palin-critique, hysterical voicemail.

The “sexist” part is no doubt right.

Here’s the thing: the first woman president - or vice-president - must be not twice, but three times as good as any man around. That’s the lesson of Hillary’s loss, no? (And isn’t Hillary looking better and better every day?)

Sarah’s problem:

She’s no Hillary. She’s not three times as good. Or twice as good. Or even, sadly, as good.
At the risk of inspiring even more voicemail screeds, let me agree completely with conservatives Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Jean Lopez, and even CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He played Palin’s “disastrous” interview with Katie Couric last week, called it “one of the most pathetic pieces of tape I have ever seen from someone aspiring to one of the highest offices in the country . . . And if that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it should.”

It scared me plenty.

If you missed it, here’s the part right before Palin seemed to confuse the Wall Street bailout with health-care reform. Asked how living close to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, Palin said, “
It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia,
as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where - where do they go? It’s Alaska - right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are . . . right next to, to our state.”
Several political analysts now suspect McCain’s suspending his campaign last week had as much to do with damage control over the Couric disaster as it had to do with the Wall Street mess.

Who can blame him? And it worked: His dramatic move totally eclipsed Couric coverage. But then, Tina Fey, on “Saturday Night Live,” brought it all back to YouTube.

Amy Poehler as Couric asked Fey about facilitating democracy abroad. Fey hesitated, looked flummoxed, then said, a la “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” “Katie, I’d like to use one of my lifelines.”

Oh my God.

None of this means Palin will bomb Thursday. I’ve watched her Alaska gubernatorial debates.

She was great. Joe Bloviator Biden could be condescending. That may have worked with McCain toward Obama Friday, but it won’t with Biden toward Palin.

Plus, she’s been in debate camp all week boning up on her Kazakhstans, her Uzbekistans, her Turkmenistans and all those other pesky ’stans.

But let’s get real. Sarah Palin is a smart, charismatic, political natural who’s done good things in Alaska, which she knows is where she belongs, where all of us should hope, very earnestly, she stays.

  Go to Latest Posting

Comments 0