My MSM take on the total absurdity of the Palin nomination is in the Sunday Times today:
For the past two weeks serious commentators and columnists have been asked to take the candidacy of Sarah Palin for the vice-presidency of the United States seriously.
Formerly sane people have written of the McCain campaign’s selection of this running mate as if it represents a new face for Republicanism, an emblem of can-do western spirit, a brilliant ploy to win over Clinton voters, a new feminism, a reformist revolution, and a genius appeal to the religious right.
I’m afraid I cannot join in. In fact I cannot say anything about this candidacy that takes it in any way seriously. It is a farce. It is absurd. It is an insult to all intelligent people. It is a sign of a candidate who has lost his mind. There is no way to take the nomination of Palin to be vice-president of the world’s sole superpower - except to treat it as a massive, unforgivable, inexplicable decision by someone who has either gone insane or is managerially unfit to be president of the United States. When, at some point, the hysteria dies down, even her supporters will realise that, by this decision, McCain has rendered himself unfit to run a branch of Starbucks, let alone the White House.
The announcement of Palin was made more than two weeks ago. It took a fortnight for her to agree to sit down for an intimate interview of the kind usually reserved for Hollywood stars instead of the press conference typical of a new vice-presidential candidate. This has never happened in American political history. Even Dan Quayle, the least qualified vice-presidential nominee before Palin, and a man who did not know how to spell “potato”, gave a press conference a day after the convention in 1988.
There have been two explanations for this astonishing Putin-style decision to keep a vice-presidential candidate from the press. The first was that the press would be too mean to her and needed to show, in campaign manager Rick Davis’s word, sufficient “deference” before they would be allowed to ask her a question. Deference? Is 21st-century America an 18th-century monarchy? The press owes such a total unknown who could be president next January deference?
The second explanation is that she needed time to cram for the exam. The McCain camp knew she had never expressed any views about foreign policy. And the only time she had on record was to oppose the surge that is the centrepiece of McCain’s campaign. They knew she knew nothing and was utterly unqualified to be president at a moment’s notice. And so she spent the last week furiously prepping. As Maureen Dowd noticed, she is Eliza Doolittle to John McCain’s Henry Higgins.
But at the end of last week we were granted an audience with the Princess of Alaska. It was painful. She had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was the central and most controversial foreign policy innovation of the past eight years: the doctrine of preemption against states with WMDs. Moreover, in her speech the same day, she described the war in Iraq. She said her eldest son, who has just enlisted, would “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans”.
Does Palin believe that the men who planned and carried out the 9/11 attack are in Iraq? The hijackers are all dead, but Bin Laden and Zawahiri and the rest of the gang are, as far as we know, in Pakistan. Nobody believes they are in Iraq.