A reader writes:

Clearly, the key for Obama in this election is linking McCain to the disastrous policies of Bush. But they're going about it completely the wrong way. The biggest problem with the Bush administration was not any particular policy or mistake. The biggest problem was its untrustworthiness - its deception, lies and with-us-or-against-us attitude. This manifested itself in the Iraq war, the endorsement of torture and almost all of what Obama rightly rails against.

I do think it's helpful to think of the Palin pick in the context of the Iraq war. McCain was for both. And with the same degree of prior vetting.

Those two decisions should be first and foremost in our judgment of him. He just winged it in Iraq as he is winging it with Palin. And when things suddenly went wrong in Iraq, when the facts on the ground seemed to conflict with the marketing message, the response of the Rovians was to mount a propaganda campaign, even at the cost of getting Scooter Libby thrown into jail.

This is what they know how to do: They intimidate and bamboozle and bully and scare the supine national press corps. They move swiftly from outright denial of any obvious facts to demonization of the critics to media control to fear-mongering and bile. But in Iraq, as we now know, they couldn't escape the reality in the end. In the end, there were WMDS or there were no WMDs. That fact still endures, whatever their rhetoric.

The question now is whether the Palin product we are being sold is real. We don't know. We cannot know until she is available for free and open questioning on any topic. From what we already know, she is an unserious choice.  She has a record of fiscal irresponsibility, pork-barrel spending, unethical abuse of power, and a proven ability to lie in public. But until I see her answer questions - real, open questions about everything in the public domain - I am unable to be dissuaded. No one should be.

Put it another way: The Iraq war was a great idea on paper. I know. I bought it. So is Sarah Palin. This time, I'm waiting to see what the reality - not the concept - is.

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