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Palin Derangement Syndrome

Two lawyer-bloggers who I’ve followed for years are upset with me for buying into the “Sarah Palin was in over her head” meme. Xrlq accused me of drinking “the anti-Palin Kool-Aid” for buying into claims that Palin didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA while Bill Dyer is “genuinely concerned for [my] mental health.”

As to the more “outlandish” claims, such as that Palin thought Africa was a country, I tend to share my colleague Alex Knapp‘s view:

Look, I think it’s clear that Sarah Palin didn’t evince much interest in foreign affairs or have a deep knowledge base regarding it. Which was one of my problems with her selection as a VP nominee. But c’mon. Do you really expect me to believe that she didn’t know fifth grade geography? I’m pretty sure you’d have to actually play me a clip of her making that mistake before I actually believed it.

As I noted in the comments to his post, though, having taught plenty of undergraduates who thought Africa was a country or didn’t know where Canada and Mexico were located on a map, it doesn’t strike me as absolutely implausible.   Regardless, the point of the post where I mentioned the charges — and noted that even “if true,” they “seem petty at this juncture” — was that conservatives ought to take the criticisms of more centrist Republicans to heart rather than making support for Palin some sort of litmus test.

The post that has Xrlq and Beldar so up in arms was simply to dismiss Andrew Sullivan‘s claim that the press somehow covered up concerns about Palin’s preparedness were absurd on their face.  Rather obviously, the idea that she didn’t know much about foreign policy or the broader swath of national issues grew steadily starting from Team McCain’s decision to shelter her from the press and then blossomed into full force with horrible performances in the Katie Couric and Charles Gibson interviews.

Bill’s criticism of me is much more extensive here. He believes that I am suffering from Palin Derangement Syndrome.

I was tickled to be invited to participate by telephone in his podcast immediately after the Palin announcement in late August, and I agreed with him and the other participants that Gov. Palin was an exciting choice. Some time shortly after that, however, something changed Dr. Joyner’s mind about Gov. Palin.

I invited Bill on the show (which you can listen to here) because he is and was the blogosphere’s most knowledgable Palin observer, having touted her as a VP choice long before she was on most of our radar screens.  What we agreed on was that 1) Palin was definitely causing a major buzz and seemed to have the base genuinely excited and 2) that Palin was at least nominally qualified by résumé for the job.   I stressed, though — drawing comparison with Harriet Miers (another issue where the couselor and I differed) — that her résumé was thin for the office by recent standards.  He agreed, as I recall, but argued that her personal qualities overcame any experience deficit.    We also agreed that Palin’s resume stacked up just fine with Barack Obama’s.

But, no, I was never a huge fan of the pick, as my reaction the moment I heard about the Palin selection makes clear:

Aside from being young and hot-for-a-politician, though, Palin undercuts McCain’s entire campaign theme. She’s got less political experience and less foreign policy experience than Obama.

[...]

I’d never heard of Palin before the VP buzz started on the blogs a while back. She’s supposedly an excellent campaigner. And, obviously, her youth and gender make her a bold pick. Ultimately, though, I think she doesn’t make sense. If you’re running on “the country’s security is too important to be run by neophytes,” you can’t have one as next in line.

While Joe Biden was, twice, an awful presidential candidate, he’s a plausible president. Sarah Palin is not.

[...]

She’s going to make us pine for the days of Dan Quayle, methinks.

[...]

We’ll see what the reaction turns out to be. I’m certainly not the target audience. But McCain’s first big decision is, in my mind, a truly awful one. Obama went traditional but steady in Biden. It wasn’t a bold pick but it was one that butressed his claim that he has judgment even though he lacks experience. McCain has done the opposite here.

He’s incredulous that I “now seriously purport to believe, for example, that Gov. Palin ‘couldn’t even name a newspaper she read.'”  I came to that conclusion only because Palin was unable to name a newspaper that she read in the Palin interview.

Ms Couric asks: “When it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?”

Mrs Palin replies: “I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.”

Ms Couric: What, specifically?

Mrs Palin: “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.”

Ms Couric: “Can you name a few?”

Mrs Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, ‘wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?’ Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.”

As with the Miers pick, Bill and I simply have a different idea of the criteria for high office should be.  He’s much more of a populist and I’m much more of an elitist in terms of credentialing and expertise.  Miers was nominally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court — and might have done a good job, for all I know — but she wasn’t a distinguished choice.  Ditto Palin as VP.

Palin must be a reasonably bright woman.  Bill’s right that it’s inconceivable that she got elected and re-elected to so many offices over the years, culminating with a state governorship, by being an airhead.  She’s obviously quite charismatic and a strong campaigner.  And I’m sure she knows Alaska issues backwards and forwards.   I saw little evidence, though, that she’s very interested in foreign policy or most issues of American domestic policy.   That doesn’t make her a bad person — she’s in the same boat as most Americans on that score — but it made her a bad choice for the vice presidency.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    People discerning that Palin was low in experience and not suitable to immediately to step into the presidency didn’t bother me as much as their ignoring the same valid claims about Obama.

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  2. Boyd says:

    “Did not name” does not equal “unable to name.” We have proof of the former. That latter is made-up to fit your belief. That’s an example of what Bill was talking about (although, as I commented there, I think he took an accurate impression too far).

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  3. odograph says:

    If I had to I could pull comments I made in that big long crazy Marginal Revolution thread about Palin: That I knew people who knew her. That she sounded like a nice person. That I didn’t think she was ready for the national spotlight. And then to say no, that didn’t mean she had more appropriate experience than Obama.

    I think I took a reasonable middle course.

    That said, I do have fears about what “Palinization” of the Republican Party might look like. Those fears might not even about her, but about who shows up to see her, who becomes enthused.

    I’ve been watching bloggingheads.tv lately, and I think I’ve seen a number of conservatives or libertarians (Cato folk) picking up on my old theme of anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party. I think some Cato folk even jumped ship for Obama.

    Anyway, I’d like a broader discussion of Republican Reinvention, and not one focussed on Palin. She is a factor, perhaps an indicator, but not the main thing.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    “Did not name” does not equal “unable to name.”

    That strikes me as a distinction without meaning. If I’d been asked, for example, I’d have said that I’ve long stopped reading any particular newspaper but that I keep up with WaPo, NYT, and dozens of other papers via various news aggregators. That’s far different than saying, “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.”

    And she was pressed on the issue and declined to indicate that she was aware of any single newspaper. It was just a horrible sequence.

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  5. odograph says:

    I found this (link) by way of your Friendlies tab, so I’m sure you’ve seen it.

    It is more personally abusive of Palin that it needs to be, but otherwise, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

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  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    And I’m sure she knows Alaska issues backwards and forwards.

    I would have to say, that I agree with you.

    I saw little evidence, though, that she’s very interested in foreign policy or most issues of American domestic policy.

    I would have to say, that I agree with you.

    Please, then, tell me how you think BHO gained experience in foreign and nation-wide domestic policy hanging out and being influenced by the likes of Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Flagler, Acorn, Rezco(sp?), a Chicago-based political machine noted for its corruption, and his lack of management experience.

    Oh, he was a community Organizer. That management experience sure as hell trumps being a mayor and Governor
    Please….

    I am glad, I often ignore the narrative put out by the Democrat party, adopted and nurtured by the MSM, and often spouted by even Republican pundits.

    I don’t get it….

    I learned, early on, many election ago, that the MSM, Washington pundits, and democrat politicians should be IGNORED.

    Ignorance is bliss, that’s why I still smile.

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  7. Anon says:

    For me, the newspaper question was quite striking. If she were really unwilling to name one, then I’d like to hear a reasonable explanation from her on that.

    Also, I think there is a false distinction being made here between being a populist and being smart, informed, and competent (Reagan). I also realize that some people think better on their feet than others.

    Nonetheless, we are not discussing whether or not to hire someone for some run-of-the-mill management position. We are discussing the vice-presidency of the US. As leadership positions go, you can’t go much higher than that. Surely we can expect the best of the best, without excluding populists?

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  8. odograph says:

    I think a smart person might freeze on the newspaper question if they’d never had to think through which newspapers were appropriate to name in such circumstance (Is the WSJ too business? Is the Financial Times too European? Should I mention blogs when half the people will think they are teen diaries? Etc.)

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  9. Anon says:

    I think a smart person might freeze on the newspaper question if they’d never had to think through which newspapers were appropriate to name in such circumstance (Is the WSJ too business? Is the Financial Times too European? Should I mention blogs when half the people will think they are teen diaries? Etc.)

    Maybe. But it’s hard to imagine how saying that she reads the WSJ would hurt a Republican candidate. At any rate, by now, surely she has learned how to hedge on her feet? For example, here would have been one possible imaginary exchange:

    Palin: “I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say, but I read the WSJ, Washington Times, NYT, Weekly Standard, National Review. I often find the NYT biased, but I believe it is important to be aware of their worldview.”

    Couric: “WSJ? So you believe that America’s future lies in big business?”

    Palin: “Large corporations are an important part of our economy, but so are small businesses, farmers, workers, secretaries, waiters, plumbers, taxi drivers. We are all in this together.”

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  10. Boyd says:
    “Did not name” does not equal “unable to name.”

    That strikes me as a distinction without meaning.

    Not at all. “Did not name” is pretty non-specific, and contains a variety of more specific phrases, such as “unable to name” and “refused to name.”

    I forget now where I read it, so it may have been some blogger’s speculation, or it may have been sourced from the Palin team, but I recall reading at the time that Palin declined to answer the question because she evaluated it as an attempt at a “gotcha,” and refused to answer.

    But if you think there’s no difference between “did not” and “unable,” James, then you’re just substantiating Bill’s point: you’ve made up your mind, and you’re twisting your normally objective reasoning to fit your decision.

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  11. Eneils Bailey says:

    For me, the newspaper question was quite striking. If she were really unwilling to name one, then I’d like to hear a reasonable explanation from her on that.

    Sure, that was a question that had further implications. If she did not read the NYT or Wapo, she would have been classified by the Nationwide MSM and socialist intelligentsia as a backwoods rube.
    I am sure she does not settle and read the “Communist Business Daily” every day.

    I also realize that some people think better on their feet than others.

    Have you ever heard BHO face tough questions without a teleprompter to read from.
    UMM…Ahhh…Ummm

    Surely we can expect the best of the best,

    We sure do, and promising unrealistic programs, that would further wreck the economy, pit one group against another, and promise everybody everything just won’t work.

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  12. John Burgess says:

    I agree with Odograph’s last point. I’m sure she had a brain lock in trying to figure out which newspapers could be mentioned with what level of damage or profit.

    Admittedly, that does not speak well for her ability to think on her feet–though that is offset by her clear ability to speak at impromptu events.

    I think she was blindsided by the question. It was something she never actually considered until she was asked the question. It was not an unfair question, but it was one for which she was unprepared.

    I do see a bit of PDS in James’ reaction to the Palin nomination. The shock and horror were so apparent and so quick on the heels of the nomination, before most had much idea at all of who in the world she was, that my first (and abiding) reaction was, ‘Whoa!’

    I also believe that Palin is a blank screen upon whom many project their longings and fears. Is she the next Reagan? Is she the next Torquemada?

    She is obviously a skilled politician, at least on the state level. On the international record, obviously there’s a shortfall.

    Expertise in foreign affairs, however, does not seem to be a heavily weighted factor for the American voter, for better or worse. Jimmy Carter’s foreign experience prior to his election was confined to whatever portion the Navy’s motto of ‘See the World’ he enjoyed. Ronald Reagan’s experience (excepting possible foreign location shoots for film) was nil.

    As Palin was only the candidate for VP, I believe her lack of experience in foreign affairs, while not wonderful, was hardly a limiting factor. She was not going to be Sec State or Sec Def, though potentially she would have to supervise those departments in the event of McCain’s dying in office. She would have more or less time for OJT and presumably capable officials in those roles.

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  13. odograph says:

    FWIW, in the aftermath of the campaign, and the McCain staff’s “circular firing squad” I think it’s impossible to say who Palin really is. Whoever she really is, I’m sure she consciously played a role in the campaign. Perhaps she was told to be bad cop to McCain’s good. The real her is beneath that.

    It will all come out in the wash.

    I think the more interesting and more important question is what you want from the Party going forward, and especially in 2012.

    From my (second) link above:

    Writing recently in the New York Times, David Brooks noted correctly (if belatedly) that conservatives’ “disdain for liberal intellectuals” had slipped into “disdain for the educated class as a whole,” and worried that the Republican Party was alienating educated voters.

    Some people see that in the Palin cycle. The way to refute it is to say you do want rational and well-read candidates.

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  14. Eneils Bailey says:

    As Palin was only the candidate for VP, I believe her lack of experience in foreign affairs, while not wonderful, was hardly a limiting factor. She was not going to be Sec State or Sec Def, though potentially she would have to supervise those departments in the event of McCain’s dying in office. She would have more or less time for OJT and presumably capable officials in those roles

    .

    I will play the fiddle, while you people dance..

    She was infinitely more qualified to be President, than BHO.

    This woman ran a STATE, while BHO was walking the streets and SLUMS of Chicago celebrating the virtues of Communism and Socialism.

    And associating with people that hated and took violent action against this country.

    Is this a great country or what?..preaching and advocating Socialism in one decade and then professing to be the great American Democrat Savior a few years later.

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  15. Bithead says:

    People discerning that Palin was low in experience and not suitable to immediately to step into the presidency didn’t bother me as much as their ignoring the same valid claims about Obama.

    And therein lies the center of this thing, Rodney… and it shows that their real objections were other than stated.

    I saw little evidence, though, that she’s very interested in foreign policy or most issues of American domestic policy.

    Funny thing; I can recall Liberals touting this as a virtue in 92.

    Admittedly, that does not speak well for her ability to think on her feet–though that is offset by her clear ability to speak at impromptu events.

    I suppose that such choices would be far easier for her to make sans the complications of what McCain’s campaign wanted, vs what SHE wanted. Campaigning for one’s self is far more complex that way than is campaigning for someone else, which is the definition of Stumping as a VP candidate.

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  16. [...] one claim in particular, while unlikely, isn’t implausible: The one about Africa. You would be surprised (and disturbed) to learn just how many people aren’t aware that [...]

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  17. steve says:

    Being asked what you read is the biggest softball ever thrown. It allows the politician to take over the interview and go wherever they want. The WSJ and NYT are safe sources since people from both sides. Pick one, cite an author and then go to a favorite topic. Running for dogcatcher you should be able to answer this one. Of course, the rest of her answers inicated she reads little.

    BTW, remember Bush Derangement Syndrome? People were right on that one. Palin is exceptionally good in front of a camera, an important skill. However, she is governor of an incredibly atypical state. V.P.’s are usually picked with foreign policy in mind.

    steve

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  18. Jim Henley says:

    Please, then, tell me how you think BHO gained experience in foreign and nation-wide domestic policy hanging out and being influenced by the likes of Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Flagler, Acorn, Rezco(sp?), a Chicago-based political machine noted for its corruption, and his lack of management experience.

    Someone needs to by Eneils a new calendar.

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  19. [...] Joyner responds, noting that he doesn’t actually believe the outlandish notion that a college graduate and a [...]

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  20. anjin-san says:

    Steve pretty much nailed it. That question is a softball set up on a tee. Her answer was pretty much gibberish. To try an parse such a basic question into a “gotcha” is beyond laughable.

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  21. Jamie says:

    As I recall, Bush did not strike anyone as being terribly aware of the world around him even though i am certain he actually did read at least read the NYT on a regular basis. He fumbled over his over words, had trouble naming world leaders, and was at a loss when asked certain foreign policy questions. He could not articulate his own policy towards Taiwan at a debate in 1999 after I am certain some of his father’s associates had been diligently briefing him. for that matter, does anyone seriously believe he came up with the Bush Doctrine himself?

    The point is, the uninformed get elected to office all the time. I suspect that is why Sarah Palin is still big news while John McCain, the actual candidate for president, barely gets a mention in comparison.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    The point is, the uninformed get elected to office all the time.

    True. And. as we have learned so painfully over the last 8 years, it is a bad thing.

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  23. Janis Gore says:

    Populism is all okay, but pregnant seventeen-year-old daughters in the vice presidency is a little much.

    Hell, I didn’t like the way the Bush daughters were dressed at the Republican convention in 2004.

    Are you elitist, Dr. Joyner, or formal?

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  24. Mandy says:

    Sarah Palin was a goddamned dunce, her selection as candidate for the Vice Prtesidency was a direct insult to the American electorate, and the partisans who keep pushing her have a death wish for the Republican party. Case closed. Turn the page.

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  25. tom p says:

    The point is, the uninformed get elected to office all the time. I suspect that is why Sarah Palin is still big news while John McCain, the actual candidate for president, barely gets a mention in comparison.

    That’s because Americans are rather unforgiving of losers. McCain is now officially the “past” of the GOP, where as Palin is seen by some to be the “future” of the GOP, which is why some seem to get upset at any criticism of her. Admittidly some of the stuff now being said about her is pure character assaaination, but to say that she was not very well informed is just a simple observation. To attack someone making such a statement as they being afflicted with “PDS” is just character assasination in reverse.

    That said, I will find it interesting to watch her over the next few years. She is obviously intelligent, and ambitous, so how will she proceed from here? If TS gets kicked out of the Senate, will she run for his seat? Or will she stay in the Gov. office? Personally, I think she is better off staying in the Gov mansion for 2 full terms. #1, as you note Jamie, Americans like Govs as president, and it gives her time to polish up her fiscal conservative/competent administrator credentials. #2, looking at the state of todays GOP, I don’t see them beating BO in 2012. #3, it gives her 2 unencumbered years to make her run for the Pres in 2016.

    One can do a lot of learnin’ in 6 yrs.

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  26. Janis Gore says:

    I agree tom p.

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  27. Ottovbvs says:

    James, you hit the nail on the head. I dismiss all this “derangement” claptrap it’s standard practice as a device to attack people who have a low regard for a politician. People are constantly accused of suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome when they just think he’s been a lousy president as was Carter. No requirement for men in white coats to take them away. Palin is a very typical, half educated, but attractive woman with a reasonable supply of native cunning. Certainly enough to get by in a backwater like Alaska where voting for convicted felons seems to quite normal behavior. I find it hard to believe she would have made it beyond state represtative or maybe senator in a state like Illinois or Connecticut. Her selection as vice presidential candidate was a complete farce and along with Bush and his own erratic performance during the bailout bill was one of the three things that sank McCain’s candidacy. The fact that three quarters of the GOP seem to be in love with her speaks of either a complete suspension of belief or a death wish. The dems are literally licking their chops at the prospect of Republicans making her their “it” girl. I really think the GOP in a general sense have no idea of just how effective Obama is going to be. This guy is a major political talent that one finds only every one or two generations. He has all the intelligence and political savvy of FDR and Clinton with a 100 times Clinton’s self discipline. To put it mildly he’s going to have McConnell and Cantor for breakfast. Anyone who thinks Palin is in the remotest sense a counterweight needs counselling. Sorry.

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  28. Janis Gore says:

    She’s not typical, Ottobvs. She’s one of the few female governors of a state. A frontier state.

    She’s ambitious. Watch her.

    I’ll never vote for her, but she can carry a fair number. Two of the three men in my house loved her, but one was gay.

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  29. One of the other recurring themes on OTB is the impending demise of newspapers. If you asked me what newspapers I read, I would reply, “none.” I assume that reading the occasional article or op-ed on the Internet from the NY Times does not qualify as reading the NY Times.

    Does that mean I am uninformed? Hardly. It does mean that newspapers are very limited sources of information, relying on the AP, Reuters, or syndicated columnists from the NY Times and Washington Post. Any worldview found in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (my local paper) is extremely limited. Want to talk about a limited worldview? If newspapers are all you read, may I suggest that you have a very limited world view, albeit one PE Obama would be very comfortable with.

    I have been reluctant to accuse you of PDS, but there are symptoms that look like it from time to time. You have been more anti-Palin than anti-Obama, even though she is just as qualified as he is, or perhaps more. In fact, I’d say that you have been more anti-Palin than anti-Biden, when IMHO, she is vastly more suited to be VP than he is. Joe Biden may have more knowledge but his temperament to be one heartbeat away form the presidency is kinda scary.

    But what really seals the deal more than anything else is that it is clear this election was about domestic politics more than foreign policy. In what way was Governor Palin less qualified to be VP when it comes to domestic politics than Senator Obama? Exactly what beyond platitudes of hope and change, or ridiculous spending promises has Senator Obama offered on the domestic policy front? Whereas, Governor Palin has actually managed a state budget and helped shepherd through a major pipeline.

    Ultimately, you are free to think what you want for whatever reasons you want. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But when many of your friends are questioning your actions, maybe you should check your assumptions.

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  30. Dan says:

    This deranged defense of Palin proves that the GOP just doesn’t get it. You’re still arguing about whether it’s true that she did not know whether Africa was a country or a continent. She did not say that it was not true. She says that it was out of context.” Two words for you wing nuts: Stop digging! The teleprompter reading community organizer (oh how that came in handy!) outclassed McCain/Palin in every way possible. While the media was digging up everything it coud get on a camera phone on BHO. Here’s what the media refused to report on “Sister Sarah:”

    Palin’s experience vs BHO’s experience was not an, “apples-to-apples” argument: BHO had the votes of 18 million people and had campaigned in practically every state. He knew the issues of every state in the union. Palin received only one vote that potentially placed her a heartbeat away from the presidency. This made it more important that she be ready from day one. That’s why it’s called a democracy.

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  31. tom p says:

    Any worldview found in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (my local paper) is extremely limited.

    Hey Charles, me and my friends call it the “St.Louis Post-Disgace”. It has become an absolute joke of a paper, and the only reason I ever read it is because some times I can’t get the Springfield News Leader on my way to work.

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  32. Dan says:

    The case against Palin:

    BHO could have done “Meet the Press” when he was in college. Palin could not even do softball interviews without McCain by her side at the end of this campaign.

    She could not function without a script.

    Stop it with the, “she’s got executive experience” BS. You or I could run Alaska at an 80% approval clip. Alaska is just one big welfare state. It has the highest rate of rape and incest in the country. It is also the crystal-meth capital of the U.S.

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  33. anjin-san says:

    I read, I would reply, “none.” I assume that reading the occasional article or op-ed on the Internet from the NY Times does not qualify as reading the NY Times.

    So how hard would it be to say, if this is the case, “I get my news from a news aggregator on my computer” or “there are several blogs I read that have a lot of news reporting on them”.

    Palin showed herself to be ignorant on many occasions. She strikes me as a person who has no intellectual curiosity, a (very) average intellect, a certain shrewdness, and good ability to work a room.

    If the right chooses to embrace this woman as their future, well I guess they have not hit bottom yet.

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  34. Derrick says:

    I saw little evidence, though, that she’s very interested in foreign policy or most issues of American domestic policy.

    Funny thing; I can recall Liberals touting this as a virtue in 92.

    Bithead,

    I think that you are confusing experience and interest. Obviously, most governors run for President with little experience talking to foreign leaders and dealing with international issues, but Palin unlike Clinton has shown little understanding of any issue, outside of oil, that has a international component. Clinton came out of the box being able to speak on at least the surface issues of the Cold War, NAFTA issues, the Gulf War and Japan. Palin from all of accounts wasn’t even aware of what “the Surge” really was about. She just doesn’t seem to have thought of anything foreign except the fact that Russia is near Alaska, and even there she didn’t really participate in dialogue.

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  35. tom p says:

    It is also the crystal-meth capital of the U.S.

    Dan, A year ago Jefferson Co MO was the Meth capital of the world… Now I have to go to Alaska to get my fix? Man, this recession really sucks. The good drugs are all receding to the NW.

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  36. sam says:

    I think some folks are now suffering from PMS: Palin Melioration Syndrome.

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  37. tom p says:

    I agree tom p

    .

    Thankyou Janis… That does not happen often around here. Most people around here think I am a commie-pinko-gay-unionizing-idiot-fag. Or worse…. a liberal.

    But, unlike some others, I won’t hold it against you.

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  38. Janis Gore says:

    Doesn’t mean I agree with card-check, hon.

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  39. davod says:

    “She’s not typical, Ottobvs. She’s one of the few female governors of a state. A frontier state.”

    She is also one of the few politicians to fight graft and corruption in her own party. Unlike Obama, who never took a step out of line with the
    Chicago machine.

    The very idea that selecting Palin shows the party is anti-intellectual or that Palin herself is anti-intellectual is silly.

    It is the intellectuals, whatever this term means, and their sycophants in the media and blogosphere who really are out of step with both political parties.

    How many intellectuals are in each party?

    Is Obama an intellectual. What about Reid, and Pelosi.

    What about Roy Blunt and Mich McConnell.

    Let’s face it, you, and I include both parties and all the naysayers here, are just prejudiced.

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  40. Janis Gore says:

    Davod, I am prejudiced against a woman who lets her 17-year-old get pregnant.

    We have a good forty years of contraception going out there.

    Last I heard they weren’t high Catholic.

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  41. odograph says:

    “The very idea that selecting Palin shows the party is anti-intellectual or that Palin herself is anti-intellectual is silly.”

    It seems to be finding traction. I caught references to “anti-intellectualism” in two successive blogginheads with Cato folk:

    ROSS DOUTHAT and JONAH GOLDBERG

    MARK SCHMITT and BRINK LINDSEY

    And then Marion Maneker writing today:

    The success of talk radio and Fox News must have been contributing factors in this transformation of the conservative elite. The final spectacle being Christopher Buckley’s ex-communication for preferring Obama, the law professor, over Palin, the sportscaster. The only question that remains is whether the party of Lincoln will break free from this anti-intellectualism in time to save itself.

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  42. odograph says:

    “Davod, I am prejudiced against a woman who lets her 17-year-old get pregnant.”

    The weirdest thing was how the Religious Right treated the whole thing almost as if it was “cute” … and poor John McCain had to shake hands with Levi on the tarmac.

    Should we recall the Party of individual rights and individual responsibility?

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  43. [...] James Joyner expands that lead… Bill’s right that it’s inconceivable that she got elected and re-elected to so many offices over the years, culminating with a state governorship, by being an airhead….I saw little evidence, though, that she’s very interested in foreign policy or most issues of American domestic policy. That doesn’t make her a bad person — she’s in the same boat as most Americans on that score — but it made her a bad choice for the vice presidency. [...]

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  44. tom p says:

    She is also one of the few politicians to fight graft and corruption in her own party. Unlike Obama, who never took a step out of line with the
    Chicago machine.

    Davod: Just had this arguement with my girlfriend (trying to give credit where credit is due) although I would not want to equate Alaska politics too closely with the Chicago “machine” (which, by the by, Obama won his first elected office by beating the “machine”, the “Chicago Way”) A “machine” has a tendency to role over those who get in the way. Obviously enough Alaska politics has it’s own share of corruption, and don’t care that much, which only makes SPs rise all the more admirable.

    The very idea that selecting Palin shows the party is anti-intellectual or that Palin herself is anti-intellectual is silly.

    The fact that this conversation is happening, alone is the problem with conservatism. Over at Obsidian Wings there is presently a discussion about who the “intelligent conservatives” are… (don’t worry James, I put in a plug for you and OTB)(NRO does not make the cut)(not that anyone here cares)

    How many intellectuals are in each party?
    Is Obama an intellectual. What about Reid, and Pelosi.
    What about Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell.

    Obama, yes. Reid, Pelosi, doubt it. Blunt, definitely not (he actually tries to appeal to the lowest common denominator) McConnell, don’t know.

    Let’s face it, you, and I include both parties and all the naysayers here, are just prejudiced.

    DEFINITELY! But some of us are more prejudiced than others (NO, I am not talking about race here, I am talking about the conservative/liberal divide we have in this country) and here is the problem: For a conservative to deviate from the “acceptable” line is to invite excommunication.

    As a “blue dog democrat” it is real tempting to say that I don’t have a dog in this fight… But I do.

    I want a choice. And right now, I have precious little choice.

    Janis: too late. Soon, you too, will be sent to the “leper colony”. And that is the sad thing about the state of conservatism these days.

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  45. tom p says:

    Davod, I am prejudiced against a woman who lets her 17-year-old get pregnant.

    Janis, not to “nit-pick” but, when was the last time any parent controlled a raging hormonal 17 yr old?

    I preached to my 22 yr old son for years about keeping “a sock on it” and yet he still got his 24 yr old Med student girlfriend pregnant (what??? she didn’t know how these things worked?)

    Still, I now have a beautiful grand baby girl. The one I always wanted, the one to wrap me around her finger and say, “But Grandpa….”

    We take our joys where we find them.

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  46. Janis Gore says:

    Note, they were 22 and 24.

    Those are some serious years.

    I’ll agree that it’s hard. But we aren’t looking for the highest offices in the land, are we?

    Tweak that grandchild with a “happy,” can you?

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  47. tom p says:

    I’ll agree that it’s hard. But we aren’t looking for the highest offices in the land, are we?

    No, I most definitely am not. I will see her this week, and will most definitely give her a “happy” for you.

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  48. steve says:

    I am more inclined to think of someone as a reformer if the results of their reformation do not provide them a personal benefit. Palin getting herself elected does not count as a reformer in my book. If she campaigns to get rid of Stevens or Young, sets down rules that decrease corruption in the party, does not hire friends and family for political appointments, then we can talk reformer.

    Steve

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  49. Steve J. says:

    He agreed, as I recall, but argued that her personal qualities overcame any experience deficit.

    Personal qualities?

    Palin repeatedly LIED about Troopergate. She initially said that neither she nor anyone in her family approached any state official about firing the trooper. We later learned that she sent e-mails using her personal e-mail account and that her husband was also involved in trying to get the trooper fired.

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  50. Anderson says:

    The fact that three quarters of the GOP seem to be in love with her speaks of either a complete suspension of belief or a death wish.

    You got that right.

    Picking a nominee where there’s even a DEBATE whether she’s a moron … well, why do I have to spell this out?

    See Mark Lilla’s WSJ op-ed on “populist chic” and its danger for the GOP.

    Smarter conservatives, please — America needs ‘em.

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  51. Bandit says:

    BHO could have done “Meet the Press” when he was in college.

    Then why is he a stammering idiot when he’s not in front of a teleprompter now?

    I am prejudiced against a woman who lets her 17-year-old get pregnant.

    How did she let her? I bet she didn’t ask. Too bad she forgot to lock the chastity belt.

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  52. Eneils Bailey says:

    Someone needs to by Eneils a new calendar.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    I picked one up today, “1984.”

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  53. PrestoPundit says:

    You haven’t followed this closely. Let me help.

    Palin was trying to stay “on message”.

    The McCain campaign people were hammering on this with her daily.

    In her effort to “stay on message” she was attempting to be non-responsive to every question that was “off message”. Palin indicated this several later interviews, and it’s obvious if you go re-watch the stuff.

    But do you care about the truth?

    I doubt it.

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  54. PrestoPundit says:

    Notice what morons the McCain people were.

    Their #1 priority was having a daily “message”, and staying on that message.

    Then they send Palin in for wide open, all day sand bag session with Katie the Democrat partisan witch, with ground rules that let CBS do a slow Chinese drip drip drip of trash on Palin for 3 DAYS.

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientists to see the idiocy of this situation, set up by the geniuses running the McCain campaign.

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  55. PrestoPundit says:

    I’m guessing I really need to spell it out for you.

    Palin addressed this in a later interview:

    You say, “I came to that conclusion only because Palin was unable to name a newspaper that she read in the Palin interview.”

    Palin in convincing when she later said she was insulted by Katie’s question, wanted to stay on her own issues, and didn’t want to answer the question.

    Watch it again. It’s clear this is what is going on here.

    But again, I doubt you have any interest in the truth.

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  56. Janis Gore says:

    Let’s go with this Mr. Anderson:

    “They saw elites as a fact of political life, even of democratic life. What matters in democracy is that those elites acquire their positions through talent and experience, and that they be educated to serve the public good.”

    And the Masters of the Universe blew it away.

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  57. anjin-san says:

    Palin in convincing when she later said she was insulted by Katie’s question, wanted to stay on her own issues, and didn’t want to answer the question.

    Hmmm. Ok. Why then did she proceed to babble incoherently about what papers she reads? Sorry, but your explanation of her answer, like the answer itself, makes no sense.

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  58. PrestoPundit says:

    James — ignorance on your part is no excuse for the idiocy you are showing when it comes to Palin, but it does help explain it.

    Palin was considered the “egg head” in her family — she was always reading non-fiction (public affairs, history, etc.) books as a kid. AS A KID. The kid of a SCHOOL TEACHER.

    You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to connect the dots here (but I guess it might help.) This is a person who’s had a life long interest in public affairs and the world.

    Is she Ken Adelman, or Doug Fife or Dick Cheney or Paul wolfowitz or Condi Rice or Colin Powell or some other State Department foreign policy genius? Thank god she’s not. The country is sick to death of the professional foreign policy class.

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  59. tom p says:

    I am more inclined to think of someone as a reformer if the results of their reformation do not provide them a personal benefit.

    Steve: Agreed, except that one can never say how these things are going to turn out before hand. She could have been left holding the short end of the stick… with an amputated hand.

    Palin repeatedly LIED about Troopergate. She initially said…

    Steve J: Agreed as well… But I have to say, that as a man who had to get his sons out of an abusive home (my oldest was sleeping with a loaded shotgun and my ex’s husband who is a violent drunk almost ran over him with a truck) I did a # of things which might not look so good on a campaign trail… That said, would I have lied about them? No, I had to admit several in a court of law (and others to my sons on a personal basis, which was MUCH harder) STILL… Sometimes one does things which are hard to explain with 20/20 hindsight.

    Look, I do not like defending her(there is much I dislike about her), but so much of what she is being attacked for has to do with her own ambition (name me a Pres candidate that is not ambitous?) and McCains penchant for gambling…

    The basic fact is, she was not ready for the job, and got put up for it anyway. The question now is, is she the future of the GOP? The answer is… maybe. SP 2008? NO WAY! SP 2016? That depends… upon her.

    I say this as a “left of center blue dog democrat” who sincerely hopes for a viable alternative on the right at some point in the forseeable future. Not because I might want to vote for her (I won’t) but because enuf of the center might.

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  60. Janis Gore says:

    What kind of a twit are you that you can’t find some effective contraceptive for a sexually active 16-year-old woman?

    Abstinence doesn’t work, hunh?

    And it’s all hunky-dory when she marries the jerk who helped make the child, maybe like her sister?

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  61. Janis Gore says:

    That was for Bandit.

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  62. PrestoPundit says:

    Anjin — mmm, maybe because, let’s see. Oh, yah, she didn’t. Imagine that. You made this up.

    >>Hmmm. Ok. Why then did she proceed to babble incoherently about what papers she reads? Sorry, but your explanation of her answer, like the answer itself, makes no sense.<<

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  63. tom p says:

    Palin is convincing when she later said she was insulted by Katie’s question, wanted to stay on her own issues, and didn’t want to answer the question.
    Watch it again. It’s clear this is what is going on here.

    Presto: (thank god… I am no longer defending her) Yes it is indeed clear what is going on here….

    She has a certain amount of set points she is ready to answer. She is INSULTED by a question from the press?????????

    Give it a break. If she can not deal with it as a candidate… HOW IN THE HELL CAN SHE DEAL WITH IT AS PRESIDENT?

    And if the WORLD DOES NOT CONVENIENTLY STAY WITHIN HER SET POINTS? What… pray tell… does she do then?

    Here is what I see going on now within the GOP: It has been a long time since they had to deal with reality in a way that goes beyond “everything is just the fault of the MSM/liberals/turn-coat conservatives who don’t agree with us…. it is all their fault” so much so that you guys are no longer capable of coming up with a coherent arguement. Even WORSE!!! Anytime any one does come up with a coherent arguement from your side, you instantly turn upon them and canaballize them.

    Thank you, Bill O, Thanx Rush, thanx Sean, you have made conservatives no longer pertinent within my life or the larger American political life. Life is so much simpler now… If they don’t agree with you and your preconceived notions, they must be….

    Silenced.

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  64. Sylena says:

    Palin is already doing a better job then Obama. She has gotten back to the business of running her family and STATE, while Obama has:

    Mulled over what dog to put in the White House.
    Mulled over his NATIONAL HOLIDAY.
    Put together a government sponsored web-site to invade privacy and garnish further fraudulent abilities
    Worry about stem-cell research.
    Not worry about Russia’s missiles.

    Oh yeah.. Good pick. Obama over Palin? NOT!

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  65. Anon says:

    Charles Austin said,

    If you asked me what newspapers I read, I would reply, “none.” I assume that reading the occasional article or op-ed on the Internet from the NY Times does not qualify as reading the NY Times.

    Does that mean I am uninformed? Hardly. It does mean that newspapers are very limited sources of information, relying on the AP, Reuters, or syndicated columnists from the NY Times and Washington Post. Any worldview found in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (my local paper) is extremely limited. Want to talk about a limited worldview? If newspapers are all you read, may I suggest that you have a very limited world view, albeit one PE Obama would be very comfortable with.

    That would have been a great answer for Palin to give. So what does it mean when right-wing commenters on OTB sound more qualified than Palin?

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  66. tom p says:

    James, now you done it… 42 and counting. Gotta love it. Outta curiosity, what was the highest you ever got?

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  67. anjin-san says:

    Watching an old interview with Michelle Obama on Larry King. Now that’s a woman with a working brain…

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  68. Sylena says:

    What, Tom P, James? Can’t think of a good rejoinder to the facts? Who is actually doing what counts in their public lives? Who is actually helping rather then hurting? Truth lives in FACTS, not interpretations.

    Palin Rules, Obama Drools. (That’s an opinion, btw)

    And, I’ll laugh myself hysterical when you find yourself kneeling before the NEW Obama worship idol I’m sure that will be put on a coin or a stamp or something similar VERY soon. (Maybe National Holiday?)

    Let it happen… just sit there and rationalize Hope and Change. After all, Obama deserves it.

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  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    joyner:

    I invited Bill on the show … because he is and was the blogosphere’s most knowledgable Palin observer

    Really? His posts about Troopergate are packed with misinformation. I proved that here.

    And I reminded him, here, here and here. And what does he always do, over and over again? Run and hide.

    Anyway, Palin is a serial fabricator. One nice example is documented here. It’s hard to fathom how anyone still takes her seriously.

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  70. Bithead says:

    Should we recall the Party of individual rights and individual responsibility?

    Well, yes, let’s do that.
    The guy is marrying her, as I recall. Standing up and taking responsibility, as opposed to killing the kid, and walking away.

    Anything else we should recall?

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  71. Bithead says:

    That strikes me as a distinction without meaning. If I’d been asked, for example, I’d have said that I’ve long stopped reading any particular newspaper but that I keep up with WaPo, NYT, and dozens of other papers via various news aggregators. That’s far different than saying, “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.”

    James, what papers do you read?

    I ask because of my own experience. As a blogger, I tend to get my news from various papers and aggregators, online,(Including those of my own design) as well as the various broadcast outlets… radio, mostly, since I spend several hours a day in the truck. Certainly, I read from various newspapers, (Literally hundreds in the end) but only their online editions, and then only on a per-story basis as stuff percolates into view.

    By the standards submitted here by the usual suspects, that would constitute a very unintellectual method of news-gathering, and a very evasive non-answer…though I imagine when presented back to them this way, they’ll dissemble somewhat.

    What I’m wonder is, is that question even a valid one, anymore?

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  72. [...] many people realize that “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and it’s apparent mutation “Palin Derangement Syndrome” are not, in fact, actual mental health disorders. The term was coined by Charles Krauthammer as a [...]

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  73. TC says:

    It’s frustrating to see people comparing Obama’s lack of experience to Palin’s lack of interest.

    Obama’s experience is a problem. No doubt about it. But he just knows a lot. He shows that he cares about the problems that face the country by investing time and effort into learning about them in great detail.

    Palin’s lack of knowledge doesn’t indicate a lack of intelligence, but rather a lack of empathy. She does not care enough about the country to understand it’s problems and solutions. She does not care for the people in it, other than as tools for her advancements.

    That’s what gets to us.

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  74. davod says:

    “Palin’s lack of knowledge doesn’t indicate a lack of intelligence, but rather a lack of empathy. She does not care enough about the country to understand it’s problems and solutions. She does not care for the people in it, other than as tools for her advancements.

    That’s what gets to us.”

    Stop dribbling.

    Palin did well representing the people of Alaska and there is nothing to suggest she would not transfer her skills to the national scene.

    You Palin haters are projecting all your inner fears about Obama onto Palin. Obama did nothing outstanding in all his years as a community organizer, money spreader, or politician. Sorry, I take that back. He succeeded in sending $50 million marked to improve education not to the schools but, to outside groups for no appreciable change in the quality of education.

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  75. davod says:

    TC. Why do you think Palin was not empathetic to the American people (Before doing so, take the time to review the definition and the synonyms:

    Empathy – Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.

    Synonyms:
    Sympathetic, sad concern for someone in misfortune: commiseration, compassion, condolence, pity, sympathy. See pity
    A very close understanding between persons: sympathy. See connect, love, understand)

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  76. Andrew P says:

    I think Palin was too hasty a pick. She clearly wasn’t McCain’s first choice or even his second choice. I suspect that other picks declined, thus McCain had no good options, and either had to pick an exciting candidate who was not well prepared to be VP, or an unexciting candidate who was more prepared. He went with the former, and I doubt that he would have done better on Nov 4 with the latter given the credit panic.

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  77. Andrew P says:

    Anyone who thinks Palin is stupid or some such nonsense is confusing lack of knowledge or interest with lack of preparation. Obama became prepared to be on the national stage by running for president the moment he was elected to the Senate. Sarah Palin had no expectation to do anything other than govern Alaska until McCain called her and asked her to do it. And the way McCain’s campaign kept her away from the press is understandable, but gave a false impression that she wasn’t up to the job of VP. The intent was to prevent gaffes since even one can be fatal, but the whole thing backfired. In the interviews with Democratic press, she had to keep on message to avoid gaffes, and when the interview is edited, you know that only the worst parts will be broadcast. I think Team McCain made a fatal error in allowing her to do edited interviews at all. Instead, she should have done a lot more live interviews. At least in a live interview, context is clear.

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  78. G.A.Phillips says:

    That would have been a great answer for Palin to give. So what does it mean when right-wing commenters on OTB sound more qualified than Palin?

    lol what does it mean when left-wing commenters on OTB all sound the same, and then a few of the right-left wing commentators join them.

    Pragmatic realism? lol.PRDS lol.

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  79. [...] Palin Derangement Syndrome post got a number of thoughtful responses, especially for a weekend [...]

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  80. G.A.Phillips says:

    That would have been a great answer for Palin to give. So what does it mean when right-wing commenters on OTB sound more qualified than Palin?

    I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
    Thomas Jefferson.

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  81. FED UP says:

    Can we please put the Palin newspapers question to rest, she treated Couric with the same respect and disdain that Couric treated her. Here is her follow up interview with Carl Cameron at FOX addressing the issue. People still using the Couric newspaper gotcha Q&A against Palin are just continuing to twist the bias to suit their own anti-Palin bias. For whatever reason, the great and the good have decided that we are to believe the distorted image of her, and any more realistic image is to be denied. Right, she lost the election as desired, can we please stop with the nonsense about her? Even the WaPo is admitting it fed us mushrooms horseshit and kept us in the dark. When are we gonna spit it out and see the light? I’m so fed up with the misinformed trashing of Palin. Even Newsweek doesn’t bother to check its facts anymore, I guess, why should it? Pile on Palin, it’s easy, a lazy hack’s dream assignment. Please be better than that.

    CAMERON: This morning — last night, when you were in the Spin Room and people came flowing in there. And one of the questions that a lot of folks said was, OK, where was the Governor Palin and Katie Couric interview that just debated and arguably defeated Joe Biden in a vice presidential debate.
    There’s (INAUDIBLE), I know you know. What happened? Go ahead –

    PALIN: Well, OK. I’ll tell you. Honestly. The Sarah Palin in those interviews is a little bit annoyed. Because it’s like, no matter what you say, you’re going to get clobbered. If you cease to answer a question, you’re going to get clobbered on the answer. If you choose to try to pivot and go on to another subject that you believe that Americans want to hear about, you get clobbered for that, too.

    But, in the Katie Couric interviews, I did feel that there were a lot of things that she was missing, in terms of an opportunity to ask what a V.P. candidate stands for. What the values are represented in our ticket.

    I wanted to talk about Barack Obama increasing taxes, which would lead to filling jobs. I wanted to talk about his proposal to increase government spending by another trillion dollars. (AUDIO GAP) that he’s made about the war that I think make my world — disqualify someone from consideration as the next commander in chief. Some of the comments that he’s made about Afghanistan, what we’re doing there, supposably, just air raiding villages and killing civilians. That’s reckless and I want to talk about things like that.

    So, I guess I have to apologize for being a bit annoyed. But, that’s also an indication of being outside of that Washington elite, outside of the media elite, also. And just getting to talk to Americans without the filters and let them know what we stand for.

    CAMERON: OK. So, at the risk of annoying you, when you are asked, what do you read? Which papers and magazines? You didn’t answer it.
    Or, you said, I have all kinds of resources.

    PALIN: Right, right, right.

    CAMERON: Well, what do you read?

    PALIN: I read the same things that other people across the country read, including the “New York Times” and the “Wall Street Journal” and the “Economist” and some of these publications that we’ve recently even been interviewed through up there in Alaska.

    Because, of everything that we’re doing with oil and gas, a lot of the investment publications especially are interviewing us, asking us how are being so successful up there in contributing to our nation’s step towards energy independence.

    CAMERON: Sure.

    PALIN: So, my response to her. I guess it was kind of filtered.
    But, I was sort of taken aback, like, the suggestion was, you’re way up there in a far away place in Alaska. You know, that there are publications in the rest of the world that are read by many. And I was taken aback by that because I don’t know, the suggestion that this was a little bit of perhaps we’re not in tune with the rest of the world.

    TRANSCRIPT

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  82. [...] & finally, (conservative) James Joyner: [...]

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  83. [...] Original post:  Palin Derangement Syndrome [...]

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  84. Bithead says:

    That would have been a great answer for Palin to give. So what does it mean when right-wing commenters on OTB sound more qualified than Palin?

    Well, for one thing, it suggests that they’re able to, given the environment, take however much time they need to develop a cogent response. Not so, the sitrep Palin found herself in, particularly on hostile ground.

    And before the usual suspects start, no, the job of POTUS doesn’t really require instant off the cuff responses to every question, either.

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  85. anjin-san says:

    But, I was sort of taken aback, like, the suggestion was, you’re way up there in a far away place in Alaska. You know, that there are publications in the rest of the world that are read by many. And I was taken aback by that because I don’t know, the suggestion that this was a little bit of perhaps we’re not in tune with the rest of the world.

    No one suggested that “Alaskans” are not in tune with the world. What a crock of S__t.

    Palin failed all by herself. If “Saracuda” can’t handle Katie Couric, that pretty much says it all. Its not the presses job to kiss her ass and give her a free campaign commercial…

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  86. Bo says:

    I’m amused by some of the morons trying to defend Palin by attacking everyone else.

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  87. [...] Palin Derangement Syndrome [...]

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