Alex Massie writes:
Andrew Sullivan concludes his live-blogging of Sarah Palin's speech with an exasperated sigh: "Reality television has become our politics." Perhaps. More likely, politics has been a reality TV show since before John Logie Baird invented the damn goggle box. Because, yes, you choose the candidate you like best or the one that has impressed you most after a long, painfully drawn out period of interrogation, speculation and hype. Just like on American Idol. That is the way it works. Talent matters, but it's not enough without personality, authenticity, charm, something else...
Of course Andrew's so committed to Obama that it's unlikely Palin could have done anything to convince him she's not painfully out of her depth.
I'm committed to Obama because I think he is the best pick at this point in American and world history. I made my core argument a long time ago now and I still believe every word of it. What I have learned since then is that Obama has an astonishing level of competence and skill and judgment in a klieglight of public scrutiny unlike almost any presidential candidate who has come before him. We'll see how Palin compares as someone new on the scene in the coming days and weeks.
And, for the record, I didn't think Palin was "painfully out of her depth" last night. She was actually well in her comfort zone: in front of a roaring crowd of partisans with a speech written by someone else with expectations set up nicely. My concern is that she is objectively out of her depth on the fundamental issue in this election, specifically foreign policy.
I mean: how many times has there been a potential war-time president in office who has no record of even any interest in foreign affairs two months before a presidential election? She heard about the surge "on the news" two years ago and wasn't focused on it enough to be able to talk at any length about it. I just don't understand how neocons obsessed, allegedly, with the war in Iraq as indidspensable to national security could glady endorse this person as someone who could take over at any moment next January. Unless they are even hollower and shallower than I have come to understand.
And how many times has a vice-presidential candidate actually opposed on the record the core strategy of her running mate in foreign policy in wartime without anyone even debating the matter? In December 2006, she wanted an exit plan from Iraq. McCain has based his entire campaign - understandably - on the surge.
This pick makes no sense unless you see it as a deeply cynical attempt to win over Clinton voters which has become, whether McCain wanted it or not, an entirely culture-war Rovian pick, designed to unite the base against "the left" and "the media" and to make a total ban on all abortion even more central a feature of the GOP platform. The pick's cynicism and cultural warfare make Palin the epitome of everything that is rotten in the current Republican leadership.
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