Low Expectations For Sarah Palin

The good news for the McCain campaign is that expectations for Sarah Palin are now so low that it would be very difficult for her not to exceed expectations in the upcoming vice presidential debate. The bad news is that evidence of her incompetence is so strong that beating these low expectations wouldn’t be enough to make many Americans comfortable with the idea of her possibly becoming president.

Word came out yesterday that there were even more embarrassing questions filmed during an interview with Katie Couric which were to be used prior to the debate instead of during last week’s televised interview. Further information came out today, along with yet another gaffe.

The first question to be publicized was that Palin was asked about Supreme Court decisions. She could not name a single decision other than Roe vs. Wade. She couldn’t recall any other landmark decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education. How could anyone in politics not think of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2000 preventing Al Gore’s Florida recount. With her strong belief in gun rights was she totally unaware of the fact that the Supreme Court recently ruled on the subject?

Perhaps she dosn’t know about these things. She was also asked about which newspapers she reads and couldn’t come up with any:

COURIC: And 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?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.

It sounds like Palin, like George Bush, does not read the newspapers. We know at one time the newspaper in front of her was The New American, the publication of the John Birch Society. I am impressed that Katie Couric frequently pushed Palin for an answer when she avoided answering. This should be expected from a journalist, but frequently interviewers do let politicians off the hook way too easily.

I was amazed to a report on Morning Edition of Palin speaking in Ohio in which she mocked Joe Biden’s age yesterday. I know that McCain didn’t spend much time with her before choosing her, but she has sure been with him a lot since then (as they are afraid to have her spend too much time on her own). Katie Couric also asked Palin about this, with Palin backing down on any criticism:

Couric: You made a funny comment, you’ve said you have been listening to Joe Biden’s speeches since you were in second grade.

Palin: It’s been since like ’72, yah.

Couric: You have a 72-year-old running mate, is that kind of a risky thing to say, insinuating that Joe Biden’s been around awhile?

Palin: Oh no, it’s nothing negative at all. He’s got a lot of experience and just stating the fact there, that we’ve been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he’s got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I’m the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he’s got the experience based on many many years in the Senate and voters are gonna have a choice there of what it is that they want in these next four years.

I’ll accept that she has more energy than John McCain. She is a new face, but she seems rather empty in the ideas department. If you really want a new face but from someone who has actual ideas and who understands the ideas Palin gives a good reason to vote for Barack Obama.

When Palin does express an idea it often turns out to be an idea which Obama had first. She has taken Obama’s position on Pakistan in opposition to McCain’s, but McCain tried to call this gotcha journalism. (Never mind the fact that Palin said the same in her interview with Charlie Gibson). She also made a suggestion to make it possible to search for wasteful government spending on line, unaware of the fact that Barack Obama has already proposed such legislation.

While I didn’t hear Palin’s portion of the rally until the report this morning, I did turn it on during McCain’s speech yesterday. I wish Couric or another journalist would press McCain more on the tremendous number of lies in his stump speech. These two think they can just say anything without realzing that a shrinking number of voters are falling for what they say.

Obama on Tax Cuts

Obama is running another two minute ad, this time on his plan for tax cuts to the middle class and small business (video above).

AFL-CIO Sends Mailer on McCain’s Health Care Plan


Via Marc Ambinder I find that the AFL-CIO is sending the above mailer criticizing McCain’s plan to more than a million union members in seven states. Now we also need someone to send a mailer to business owners about McCain’s plan to eliminate the tax deductions for health care coverage, and a mailer to non-AFL-CIO employees warning about the consequence if  they lose their group health coverage and have to purchase individual coverage.

This is especially true for people with pre-existing medical conditions who will have trouble obtaining insurance, or obtaining coverage at an affordable price if they can find anyone willing to offer them coverage. McCain claims that high-risk pools will take care of this problem. NPR’s Morning Edition had a report on high-risk pools yesterday, finding that they have not been a successful solution in the states where they are currently used. They cover a limited number of people, are extremely expensive, and have waiting periods before the pre-existing condition which forces people into high-risk pools is covered.