Journalism

Palin is no pig, but she's sure a puppy — on a very tight leash

If this isn’t more evidence that Sarah Palin was chosen as a showy campaign bauble, rather than a serious candidate for second-in-command of the United States of America, then I guess my naivete rivals that of her most zealous supporters.  Just read an AP story up at MSNBC.com that says — surprise — Palin will be heeling right at McCain’s side, following her quick trip home, for the next couple of weeks on the campaign trail. And so far, she’s turned down any further interviews with the press following her chat with ABC’s Charlie Gibson tomorrow.

Perhaps I sound uncharacteristically snide in making an (intentional) animal comparison, but I’m sorry, the disingenuousness of the McCain campaign has just done my civility in at the moment.  The doublespeak continues: on the one hand, her extensive executive experience is supposed to make her perfectly competent to wrangle with President Putin, her neighbor across the Bering Sea — not to mention affairs of state in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea — yet when it comes to talking on her own to voters, or especially to journalists, well, that’s far too dangerous territory to navigate by herself.

So what’s the problem?  Is Palin still such an unknown quantity to McCain campaign strategists that they don’t dare risk playing another wild card?  Is she a loose cannon, where all that tough talk could become friendly fire?  Is it a reluctance to let McCain go solo anymore, because he’s too obviously Republican standard-issue without his provocative new sidekick?  All of the above?

Though I’ve not been feeling too encouraged lately about the rational state of the electorate, I can’t help but think many voters will see through such a ploy.  I  think many want to see and hear Palin on her own, to test her mettle, to watch her handle impromptu answers to unexpected questions.  I think they want to get a sample of the methods she used to handily beat party rival Frank Murkowski when she ran for governor of Alaska.  I think voters will be suspect, if she’s kept so carefully protected and paraded only as a crowd-seducing campaign accessory.  But I THINK, and that may be my problem.  After all, we’ve been told by McCain’s own campaign manager that “this election is not about issues.”  Maybe it really is about lipstick, and hockey, and the latest trend in eyeglasses.

Come on, Republicans, prove me wrong.  Loosen that tether and let your pitbull run a little.

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