Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So is That Supposed to be Better or Worse?

Today, in only the latest bizarre turn of the Sarah Palin story, the McCain people have dispatched surrogates to every news alcove at the storm-shortened Republican Convention, to echo the assertion that Governor Palin was fully vetted by the campaign. Faced with the prospect of allowing the decision itself to become the story -- a decision that has been described by some as "Ready, Shoot, Aim!" -- the surrogates really have little choice if they hope to salvage McCain's chances. Obviously a one-issue candidate who loses his only issue to the other guy (in this case, the issue of sound judgment), will face dim prospects in November, even with the usual Republican advantages in fundraising and party identification and voter database. None of which Mr. McCain has.

My question at this hour is a simple one: Is it supposed to make me feel better about McCain's decision-making process that he supposedly knew about all of these ridiculous, Sarah-Palin negatives, and picked her anyway? Or was he better-off letting that anonymous campaign surrogate leak earlier today that the decision had been crashed in such eleventh-hour fashion as to leave time only for the inner circle to breathlessly check Ms. Palin's name... through Google?

Either way, of course, Mr. McCain is in a rapidly deteriorating predicament. He can cede once and for all the question of experience being equivalent to good judgment (which, entirely by the way, it never was), or he can insist that the disastrous fallout from the Palin pick is attributable to incompetence on the part of his hand-picked campaign staff.

He can be rash, in other words, or a poor judge of character. Though he'd better hurry if he prefers one over the other--the media smells blood in the water on this one and has suddenly shelved its quiet efforts to pad their autumn ratings by artificially tightening the race; my guess is that if the McCain people don't get in front of this in a pretty spectacular way by noon tomorrow, his candidacy will never recover from it.

And to think: All of this in a week that is supposed to be the best McCain will have, in this entire election.

Dave O'Gorman
("The Key Grip")
Gainesville, Florida

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