A day or so after John McCain announced his choice of Sarah Palin, sometime over that long weekend, I remarked to someone that her great disadvantage was that she was a blank slate, and the Very First Thing she said — that is, the very first thing anyone focused on — would be blown out of all proportion and define her for the rest of the campaign, if not the rest of her life.
Joe Biden — or Joe Lieberman, or McCain, or anyone we’ve known, or think we’ve known, for years — can say something outrageous, and we’ll set it alongside all the other things we know he’s said or done, and it won’t be a make or break thing (and the reason Joe B. came first to mind is that one of the things we know about ol’ Joe, from long experience, is that he has a penchant for saying things that some regard as outrageous).
Not so with Sarah P. The first thing she says or does that makes an impression — which hasn’t happened yet — will fill up the vacuum in her "conventional wisdom" dossier.
Therefore, the stakes for her speech tonight would be extremely high. And so it should be; we don’t have years to get to know her.
Of course, I reckoned without the idiocy of the 24/7 TV "news" spin machine. It has to have something to masticate EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY, and whatever it’s chewing at a given moment is by its foolish definition THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD, so it couldn’t possibly wait until her speech Wednesday night.
If she had made the mistake of saying sometime since Friday that she doesn’t like the color blue, THAT would be the object of endless, fascinated conjecture, "analysis" and "judgment" by the talking heads: How could she not like blue? What sort of person is this? Everybody likes blue — all Americans, anyway. And what hypocrisy to be running with a Navy man, not liking blue! Or will she now claim, implausibly, that it’s only SKY blue that she dislikes? Watch for campaign releases claiming that she’s always liked NAVY blue…
And so forth. The cable TV talking heads make me think of Ford Prefect’s theory about Earthlings: "If they don’t keep exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working."
So yesterday — or the day before; I get all confused in weeks that contain holidays — we heard that Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant. To which I responded — to myself — Uh-huh. Well, I’m sure that’s been hard for them. And then I continued with my life, waiting for someone to say something that actually had any bearing whatsoever on this young woman’s suitability to be vice president.
But, apparently because her speech wasn’t until tonight, the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, of all absurd things, was dubbed an "issue" worthy of discussion, and even more implausibly, sufficient grist for snap conclusions as to Sarah Palin’s viability as a candidate. And yet it’s not even anything that I had deemed relevant (OR appropriate) to discuss on the blog, and as y’all know, I don’t have a high standard for such things.
Yes, I know; I should have expected this. Yet I was actually surprised when I picked up newspapers this morning and read that the McCain campaign (which had known about the pregnancy, the husband’s DUI, etc., and didn’t think any more of it than I did) was actually having to COPE with this "issue," that it was causing consternation throughout the GOP convention, yadda-yadda.
Oh, come ON, people! Get a freakin’ life!
Get back to me when you have something of substance to say about this woman…