Friday, October 3, 2008

Miss Congeniality goes to the debate

I've neglected to mention, at the risk of stating the obvious, that one of my frequent recent escapes from the bad news we all keep hearing about--and all the other bad news that it seems to block out, is revelling in the nationally-televised cartoonish antics of Sarah Palin.
On Thursday night, I didn't get a good belly laugh like I typically do when Sarah Palin opens her mouth, but there was effect to the belly nonetheless--nauseating.

Every "you betcha" "darn right" and "heck" she gushed as though talking over pie and coffee to neighbors in Lake Woebegone (--OMG- did she really wink?!) was retch-worthy.

I do commend her coaches for having her say, right up front, that she would not be answering questions the way the moderator or her opponent might want to hear. It was a brilliant cover for, as we'd come to expect, God only knows what might come out of her mouth. The failed attempt at backup cover the Republicans trotted out a few days before--suggesting that they didn't know about Gwen's upcoming book when they agreed to her as moderator, and suggesting that its topic may lead to some biased treatment of Palin was absurd. Even I knew about the damn book. I know McCain's a bit ignorant of "the email" and whatnot, but who the hell is in charge of vetting things before they float them, to see if, I don't know, it can even come off as plausible, if not true?! Oh,
that's right!

So on Thursday night, with America forewarned, Chatty Cathy of the new millenium did not answer many (any?)of the questions. She just perkily went on, folksier than thou, looking in the camera and "shouting out" to third graders and whatnot, largely unchallenged. She regurgitated those talking points and hopeful soundbites nearly flawlessly, (I don't think "Say it Ain't So, Joe" had quite the effect they'd hoped, though.)
... Palin, in her 90 minutes on the stage Thursday night, left the firm impression that she is indeed ready to lead the nation -- with an unnerving mixture of platitudes and cute, folksy phrases that poured from her lips even when they bore no relation to the questions asked" -- Dana Milbank, The Washington Post

Now, I'm a pretty easy going person, "live and let live" and all that, but nearly every day, there's something that makes me newly incredulous that this woman has been chosen as a contender for Vice President of the United States.
of America. I realize America's standing in the world is more like a squat these days and fortunes erode daily, but surely we haven't yet reached the point of no return: continued executive leadership by bumbling bobbleheads?!

Much has been made of the Katie Couric interview segments, especially when Sarah Palin was unable to name another Supreme Court decision with which she disagrees.
Listen, with all due respect I'm sure, this is some chick who bedazzled her way to being Governor of the least populous and most frequently overlooked state in the U.S. She is not a student of history--or even politics for that matter! Being unable to form a cogent response to that question is directly attributable to her handlers' oversight. I could nearly hear a collective DOH! and forehead slap when it aired.

The interview segment that really got me, where a different reaction emerged after the usual chuckle or guffaw, was the one where she was asked a perfectly reasonable, and presumably easy-to-answer question; essentially: what did or do you read to inform your worldview?

As she responded, I detected...emanating from my gut...empathy? No.
Sympathy? Not quite.
Sadness? Almost--but none of the above. I was embarrassed. Personally. As an American.

Surely she's been in a checkout line before--could she have not snapped TIME from visual memory at least?! All she had to do was name a newsmagazine. Just one. She didn't, instead getting all defensive and dismissive and ultimately, blaming the media. I was embarrassed, that with so many intelligent, experienced politicians out there--women and men, even Republicans--that this person whose eyes must alight only on the fashion magazines in the checkout line, is who John McCain chose to put before THE WORLD as a serious contender to run the flipping country?! It's embarrassing. It's reminiscent of the embarassment DC residents felt while travelling even stateside during the crack-smoking DC mayor crisis back in the 90s--but on a much broader, global scale,even. You swallow hard, answer the "getting to know you question", look away during the awkward pause then wait another beat before trying to steer the conversation elsewhere.

On the upside, all the fashion magazine reading might not have been in vain though--did you get a load of those pumps?! Hardly female politicians' standard issue! Those wouldn't even be visible under Hillary's pantsuits! Note to Hillary: Sarah Palin might just make it to the Senate given her popularity and Ted Stevens woes. She'll get read up and abandon winking and may even sound sensical enough in a few years to be on a Presidential ticket again. You, Billary, know you can't necessarily count on the Black vote, given your barely begrudging support of Barack Obama--and the women's vote will likely split. You better get Tim Gunn on retainer now!

To borrow from Bill Maher: I kid the Senator!
ya think? ;)

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