Free Advice For Democrats

I'll have more to say about Sarah Palin's speech at some point tomorrow - I saw it live, from the press stand in St. Paul, which was perhaps not the ideal venue from which to judge its television impact - but based on the reactions I've heard and read to date, let me just reiterate the advice that Reihan offered to Democrats when she became McCain's pick for veep: Do not attack her. Stop referring to her as a just a small-town mayor and a neophyte governor who's unqualified to be President; in fact, stop referring to her at all. Attack John McCain, John McCain, and John McCain. Attack him all day, all night, and on weekends too. Behave as though Sarah Palin does not exist. Pray that the media will find some Palin-related scandal even more shocking than the perfervid theories aired this week (they'll be looking for one, no doubt), and in the event that they fail to do so, do not under any circumstances allow yourselves to be drawn any deeper into a debate (which the McCain campaign plainly wants to have) over the relative qualifications and accomplishments of Barack Obama and the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Nothing that's happened this week has changed the fact that it's going to be very, very hard for the Democrats to lose a race between Obama and McCain - and as a result, the Obama-Biden ticket has vastly more to gain from changing the subject away from Sarah Palin than they do from placing her candidacy, her qualifications and her background front and center in this race.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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