Category Archives: Sarah Palin

This is what I mean about the degradation of the presidency

This was my initial reaction to the news about Donald Trump’s dinner party at the White House:

But then I thought, that’s not really fair to the Joker, et al. In their universe, they were the crème de la crème of Gotham criminal society, tops in their field, the elite.

These folks are anything but that. It’s more like Trump assembled this group in an attempt to look classy by comparison. And it almost worked.

The Batman analogy having failed, I’m at a loss. And I’m not going to let myself go down this road, no matter the temptation:

But folks, I will say that, for those of you who still don’t understand, this is the problem with Donald Trump being president — his desecration of the office. All other problems — the cluelessness, the lying, the utter disregard for ethics, the open hostility to wisdom and experience, the stunning carelessness with policy — spring from that source. It’s the shameful American love affair with anti-intellectualism made flesh.

A dinner table at the White House should have the wit of the Algonquin Round Table, tempered by the nobility of purpose of the original King Arthur version.

Instead, look what we’ve got. This is the level the presidency has sunk to.

Evenings at the White House should look like this:

Dinner for Nobel laureates, 29 April 1962.

Dinner for Nobel laureates, 29 April 1962.

Not like this:


Apparently, Trump and Palin have the same first language, and (surprise!) it’s not English

Had you listened to Donald Trump and wondered where you had heard that peculiar, gushing, bouncing-around, non-linear mode of expression before?

Yesterday, we were reminded where, when Sarah Palin endorsed him. Thanks to The Fix for providing the transcript of what it terms “Sarah Palin’s rambling, remarkable and at times hard to understand endorsement of Donald Trump.” Some excerpts:

“He is from the private sector, not a politician. Can I get a ‘Hallelujah!’ Where, in the private sector, you actually have to balance budgets in order to prioritize, to keep the main thing, the main thing, and he knows the main thing: a president is to keep us safe economically and militarily. He knows the main thing, and he knows how to lead the charge. So troops, hang in there, because help’s on the way because he, better than anyone, isn’t he known for being able to command, fire! Are you ready for a commander in chief, you ready for a commander in chief who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS ass? Ready for someone who will secure our borders, to secure our jobs, and to secure our homes? Ready to make America great again, are you ready to stump for Trump? I’m here to support the next president of the United States, Donald Trump….

“Trump’s candidacy, it has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enabled it, okay? Well, Trump, what he’s been able to do, which is really ticking people off, which I’m glad about, he’s going rogue left and right, man, that’s why he’s doing so well. He’s been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system. The way that the system really works, and please hear me on this, I want you guys to understand more and more how the system, the establishment, works, and has gotten us into the troubles that we are in in America. The permanent political class has been doing the bidding of their campaign donor class, and that’s why you see that the borders are kept open. For them, for their cheap labor that they want to come in. That’s why they’ve been bloating budgets. It’s for crony capitalists to be able suck off of them. It’s why we see these lousy trade deals that gut our industry for special interests elsewhere. We need someone new, who has the power, and is in the position to bust up that establishment to make things great again. It’s part of the problem.

“His candidacy, which is a movement, it’s a force, it’s a strategy. It proves, as long as the politicos, they get to keep their titles, and their perks, and their media ratings, they don’t really care who wins elections. Believe me on this. And the proof of this? Look what’s happening today. Our own GOP machine, the establishment, they who would assemble the political landscape, they’re attacking their own front-runner. Now would the Left ever, would the DNC ever come after their front-runner and her supporters? No, because they don’t eat their own, they don’t self-destruct. But for the GOP establishment to be coming after Donald Trump’s supporters even, with accusations that are so false. They are so busted, the way that this thing works….

Oh, go read the whole thing. Just be careful you don’t get whiplash…

Today’s Sarah Palin eruption on Twitter

There are two or three things that you might not know about Sarah Palin, even at this late date:

  1. She still has a lot of fans. Passionate ones.
  2. They don’t have what most of us would call a “sense of humor.”
  3. They really don’t hesitate to leap to conclusions.

It all started when I saw this Tweet:

The title of the show, which I assure you I have never seen, immediately brought to mind Tina Fey’s hilarious sendup of the ex-governor (possibly because I watched several episodes of “30 Rock” on Netflix over the weekend).

So I reTweeted the item with the following addendum:

As in, I can see Russia from my house!

Which I thought might give someone out there a small — very small — laugh.

The first person who responded was very literal-minded, but reasonable:

He was right, of course — it was neither here nor there. It was a joke about a joke. But wishing to be polite I wrote back,

Then, the floodgates opened.

Wow. Anyway, for any of you who’d like to get a kick out of the original skit — the funniest thing Tina Fey has ever done — once again, here it is…

Now we KNOW the GOP is in trouble

Just in case you thought the GOP might get a grip on itself and find a positive way forward after last week’s election (and if you did, silly you — it is, after all, a political party), this should destroy your hopes:

MIAMI — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was elected the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Friday.

succeeds Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will now serve as finance chairman.
The association has been meeting this week in Miami – and some
discussions have revolved around what went wrong for the party on
Election Day.

"I am honored and excited to become chairman of the
Republican Governors Association as we work together to win a majority
of governors by 2010," Sanford said in a statement released by the
group. "Republican governors are natural leaders who will find
solutions to our nation’s challenges and bring back the party."…

See, you people out there who wanted me to be all horrified over Sarah Palin just couldn’t understand that, all along, I was perfectly conscious that McCain could have done a lot worse in picking a running mate — as the Republican governors just demonstrated. Come on, guys — Mark Sanford isn’t even a governor, in the sense of anyone who takes any interest in governing. Normally, governors stand out as people who are pragmatic, and unburdened by the whacko ideologies one finds inside the Beltway. Sanford never lets reality get in the way of his ideologies. He is utterly "unspoiled," in that regard, by the experience of holding the office of governor.

Now that your hopes are utterly destroyed, Republicans, consider the UnParty. Of course, before we accept you, you’ll have to leave a lot of baggage behind.


The Flame of Alaska?

The things you learn about candidates from reading their books. Despite the length of those columns I wrote after reading Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s chronicles of their early years, obviously there was much I didn’t have room to get into, including a lot of stuff that each candidate’s respective detractors like to point to.

Obama had his dope-smoking years, a period of rebellion in which I think he was self-consciously trying to emulate Malcolm X in his wild, self-destructive period — although being careful not to go too far, of course. (We both read the Autobiography in high school in Hawaii. I found it interesting; Obama saw it briefly as a guide to being a "black man in America," something he had to practice to learn.)

John McCain, having been a Naval Aviator, was less inhibited. He had Marie, the Flame of Florida. And others; that name just stood out. She apparently was an exotic dancer who performed for the fliers at Trader John’s, their favorite Pensacola after-hours locale. Ensign McCain dated her for awhile. She was "a remarkably attractive girl with a great sense of humor." He made the mistake once of taking her on an impulse to a party given by a married officer. (The single junior officers seldom socialized with the married couples. There was a good reason for this.) She was "a good sport" about it, but was clearly out of place among the Eastern Establishment-educated wives:

The young wives she was about to meet would be decorously attired and unfailingly genteel. Marie was dressed somewhat flamboyantly that evening, as was her custom.
… Marie sensed that the young wives, while certainly not rude to her, were less than entirely at ease in her presence. So she sat silent, not wishing to impose on anyone or intrude in the conversations going on around her. After a while, she must have become a little bored. So, quietly, she reached into her purse, withdrew a switchblade, popped open the blade, and, with a look of complete indifference, began to clean her fingernails.
… A short time later, recognizing that our presence had perhaps subdued the party, I thanked our hosts for their hospitality, bid goodbye to the others, and took my worldly, lovely Flame of Florida to dinner.

I like that line, "as was her custom…"

Kathleen Parker believes the crusty old sailor who once romanced the Flame of Florida had a similar motivation for choosing Sarah Palin — another remarkably attractive girl with a great sense of humor — to go with him to the party those Republican stiffs held up in St. Paul. Only this time, the date was the hit of the party. They particularly liked the part where she took out her switchblade and sliced and diced the Community Organizer with it.

But perhaps we’re reading too much into this.

You just can’t please some people

You know all the grief we’re catching from the Obamaphiles. Now this e-mail:

Dear Brad,

Please write an editorial ASAP, listing your facts that prove your assertion that Obama is smarter (such as his grades, etc) than Palin even though Palin is much more qualified, more experienced, more smarter and more capable than the scripted, Hitler and Chavez like, Obama.

If the editorial appears during the weekday, please E-mail a copy because this month we have dropped the daily delivery because my wife and I was continually to be very upset with liberal slant of the McClatchy papers.

Sheesh. Tell you what, my friend — buy the danged paper and watch for it, OK?

What do you say to somebody who needs me to prove Barack Obama is brighter than Sarah Palin, then expects me to give him a heads-up when I do so because he won’t buy the paper, and for the most bogus of reasons? I mean, really — what do you say?

As long as I’ve got out my foolishness-bashing club, and since this guy irrelevantly brought up the name of the corporation that owns this newspaper, I should say something about this comment on a previous post and others I’ve seen like it:

Just imagine what would happen if The State(less) endorsed Obama
instead of McSame: huge loss of advertising money, huge cancellation of
subscriptions. Just the way it is. For shame, but money before civics
is the way of capitalism. (duh, last 30 years of deregulation…)

You want to know what a presidential endorsement based on the newspaper’s business considerations would look like? Like nothing. As I’ve told y’all before, the only time Tony Ridder ever tried to influence Knight-Ridder editorial pages was back in January 2005, when he tried to persuade us NOT to endorse in presidential elections. On one level, his position was defensible (from my point of view), in that he believes local and state endorsements to be of much greater value. But it was also based in the fact that as a business entity, presidential endorsements can’t help you, and can only hurt. Note the high number of people whose very first response to a presidential endorsement — either way — is to say they’re canceling their subscription, or WOULD have canceled it had we gone the other way.

People read presidential endorsements NOT to help themselves decide. They’re already inundated in information about the candidates. They read them to decide what they think of the newspaper, and whether they’ll attach importance to all of the endorsements we do on the candidates they DON’T know so much about. As a businessman, Tony Ridder didn’t like that kind of exposure. He’s not alone in that.

Photos I did NOT use with ‘Palin and sexual attraction’ column


eing a responsible editor and all, I resisted the temptation to choose any of these pictures when I was looking for art to go with Kathleen Parker’s column on the theory that McCain picked Palin because… well, because guys can’t think straight in the presence of a good-looking woman.

An excerpt from the column in question:

As my husband observed early on,
McCain the mortal couldn’t mind having an attractive woman all but singing arias to his greatness. Cameras frequently capture McCain beaming like a gold-starred schoolboy while Palinsex2Palin tells crowds that he is “exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief.” This, notes Draper, “seemed to confer not only valor but virility on a 72-year-old politician who only weeks ago barely registered with the party faithful.”

It is entirely possible that no one could have beaten the political force known as Barack Obama — under any circumstances. And though it isn’t over yet, it seems clear that McCain made a tragic, if familiar, error under that sycamore tree. Will he join the pantheon of men who, intoxicated by a woman’s power, made the wrong call?

Had Antony not fallen for Cleopatra, Octavian might not have captured the Roman Empire. Had Bill resisted Monica, Al Gore may have become president and Hillary might be today’s Democratic nominee.

Palinsex3But they didn’t — resist those women, that is. Guys seldom do. Certain things make us stupid, and
Kathleen maintains this was one of those things.

Hey, but at least I resisted using these pictures, right? That shows that there’s still such a thing as decorum in a family newspaper.

Of course, I did save them, to share with y’all. Don’t tell the ladies, though, guys…


p.m. is wrong about Tina Fey

Sometimes p.m. — a.k.a. Weldon VII — and I agree on things, but I’ve got to him he’s totally wrong withFeytina
this recent comment:

Palin is a lot better looking than Fey, bud, at least when Fey tries to look like Palin. I noticed that when they were on stage together briefly. The actress herself might not have wanted to face Palin alone.

No, this blog isn’t going to turn into one of those that puts up pictures of babes from the pop culture in order to artificially inflate its traffic. But I thought someone should stick up for the lady in question, shown at right as herself. And yeah, I know you said "as Palin," but still. No doubt Ms. Fey is better-looking as herself than Ms. Palin would be as Fey.

You know what, I’m just thinking I’m going to get it trouble on this either way. Being gentlemen about it, let us just say they are both quite presentable.

Actually, I was the FIRST to complain about the McCain-Palin tone

No, this isn’t going to satisfy Randy, mainly because I don’t think it’s as bad as he thinks it is. But I was just looking back at some of my recent work, and happened to run across this, which I wrote minutes after McCain announced he’d chosen Sarah Palin. It was the very end of my column of Aug. 31, in which I had complained mightily about Hillary Clinton’s use of the "fight" metaphor:

    Just moments ago as I write this, as he announced he’d chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate, Sen. McCain promised the GOP crowd that he’d “fight for you.”
    Lord help us.

Note that this was before America fell even in love with Sarah, which was in turn before it fell OUT of love with her.

As I said, that’s not going to be enough for Randy, but as far as criticizing the tone of the McCain-Palin ticket, I was out there first, baby!

McCain’s willfulness

As I mentioned before, I’m starting to read the McCain book that is the closest equivalent to the Obama book I was reading last week. And on the very first page, I ran across this. In fact, it’s the second paragraph in the preface:

I have spent much of my life choosing my own attitude, often carelessly, often for no better reason than to indulge a conceit. In those instances, my acts of self-determination were mistakes, some of which did no lasting harm, and serve now only to embarrass, and occasionally amuse, the old man who recalls them. Others I deeply regret.

One such indulgence of a conceit that he will regret is choosing Sarah Palin, because I believe that decision lost the election for him. It didn’t turn ME against him, but it did a lot of people.

I’ve struggled for words to explain the aspect of John McCain’s character that caused him, after his party rebelled over his preferred candidate (my man Joe) to choose Sarah Palin. I’ve used the term "fit of pique," but that didn’t describe it. In a recent column, I tried to explain it this way:

Second, as much as I admire and respect John McCain, and have for years, I was not enchanted by his choice. It was like, If I can’t have Joe Lieberman, I don’t care WHO it is; if this is what the base wants, they can have her. Which is not a good way to pick a potential future president.

But that didn’t quite state it either. But I think the above paragraph from his book did.

Choosing Joe Lieberman would have been an assertion of everything that is the best in John McCain. But when he couldn’t go with Joe (or decided he couldn’t, rightly or wrongly), he "chose an attitude" that was ironic, contrary, and spiteful toward his party. Or at least that was the way I interpreted it. He chose to say, "Is THIS what you want? Fine, take her."

Yes, it’s more complicated than that. There are things about Sarah Palin that John McCain liked — particularly the fact that she won election against her own party establishment. But there was always an unstated something that I felt MUST have been present for him to make such a decision.

The latest Fey-as-Palin SNL skit

orry to be late posting this. I had a busy weekend, and actually didn’t go back to watch this until this morning. Saturday the wife and I and several of our descendants participated in the Walk for Life, Saturday night I was at a belated 70th birthday party for my former boss Tom McLean out in Blythewood, and Sunday we celebrated both my 55th birthday, and my younger son’s 28th. Busy, busy. How was your weekend?

Anyway, as for the Biden-Palin skit from Saturday night — very funny, very much above the show’s standard for the last couple of decades, but ya know, nothing is going to hit me with the freshness of that first Palin-Hillary skit. After that, they’ve so far just been good sequels. The true genius was in the first one.

But just so you’ll appreciate the latest such sequel, the below clip from Saturday night’s show is more typical of what we get these days. Don’t bother watching past the first few seconds. It doesn’t get any better…

Breathless over Sarah (column version)

Poor Joe Biden. He likes attention, and he deserves it. He’s smart, experienced, engaging, witty, and has a smile that, could its brightness be tapped, would give the nation a nice start toward energy independence.
    But he can’t get any. Attention, I mean. He certainly couldn’t when he sought the presidential nomination. And then, even after he got picked for the team, when his big moment came — it was all about Sarah.
    I think I can speak for much of America here when I say Sarah Palin had me breathless Thursday night. I don’t mean “breathless” the way Kathleen Parker meant it when she described the way she felt watching the veep candidate in her earlier interviews, pulling for her “like so many” women (this was before she decided Mrs. Palin was a “problem” and should drop out).
    Nor was I breathless in the sense that David Brooks meant it in The New York Times Friday, when he wrote of “Republicans around the country crouched nervously behind their sofas,” afraid for their gal. First, I’m not a Republican (or a Democrat). Second, as much as I admire and respect John McCain, and have for years, I was not enchanted by his choice. It was like, If I can’t have Joe Lieberman, I don’t care WHO it is; if this is what the base wants, they can have her. Which is not a good way to pick a potential future president.
    Nor was it that she’s a “babe,” as I have learned not to say on my blog. She’s pretty, but not to the point of constricting one’s breath.
    No, I realized Thursday night that I was getting light-headed whenever she spoke for the same reason that some movies and TV shows are painful to watch. You know how you can tell when something’s about to happen that will be enormously embarrassing to the character on the screen, and even if you don’t like the character (although it’s worse if they’re likable, and Gov. Palin is that), you cringe, because you don’t want to see it. You get embarrassed for the human race; you empathize no matter how much you try not to.
    Think of the boss character on “The Office,” in almost any scene.
    Often at such moments, I leave the room. Life is painful enough without having your nose rubbed in contrived discomfort. But I had to keep watching the debate, on account of it being my job.
    Fortunately, it went fine for all concerned. Sarah did fine. There were moments, of course, such as her repeated demonstrations that she learned to pronounce “nuclear” by listening to the current president (he oughta know, right?). And if she had said “maverick” just one more time
    (I had reached my saturation point on that word during the convention. At least there it had the appeal of being extremely ironic, since the hall was full of people who hated him for being a… you know. Yes, he is one of those, and I like that about him; just don’t say it again. Try “nonconformist,” or even “iconoclast.” Sure, it doesn’t sound as macho, and maybe lots of folks don’t know what it means, and those who do may not like its anti-religious roots. But gosh darn it, if Sarah Palin started saying “iconoclast,” hockey moms all over the lower 48 would start sayin’ it, and first thing ya know it would be as American as snowmobiles.)
    But she did fine. And Joe did fine. And in the end I was fine, because I was breathing again.
    You may say, “of course Joe did fine,” but things could have gone very badly for him. He likes to show how smart he is, and up against an opponent that much of America is worried for, regardless of how they’ll vote (a friend who had described Gov. Palin’s convention speech to me as “venomous” confided Friday morning that he, too, had been breathless,) he was crossing a minefield.
    At this point, you may justly wonder, “Was there substance in this debate, or is it just about how it made you feel?” Suitably chastened, I would admit that there probably was. There was all that talk about Iraq, for instance. And come to think of it, by my lights, Sarah Palin had the right of it, and Joe Biden was wrong. But then, she was just channeling what John McCain has always said — that we can’t afford to lose there. Come to think of it, Sen. Biden was reflecting what Barack Obama, and the folks who swept him to the nomination, believe about Iraq. Joe Biden knows better. Or at least, he used to.
    And I don’t know which was more unsettling — the idea of Sarah Palin suddenly becoming president (as she said, “heaven forbid”), or Joe Biden’s intimation that we didn’t need to worry, he’d be there in the Oval Office at all times keeping an eye on that fine young fellow he’s running with (although he quickly added, “He’s president, not me…”).
    Not that a Palin presidency wouldn’t be interesting. Imagine the State of the Union delivered in the voice of Frances McDormand in “Fargo,” but speaking lines from an Andy Hardy movie: “We’ll reduce the deficit by puttin’ on a show in the barn! You betcha!”
    Forgive me. I get carried away. But I find that we’re in a strange and unexpected place. I had expected to be pretty pumped right about now, because the two guys I wanted to win their respective nominations did so, and I don’t remember that having happened before. But I wasn’t exactly blown away by the first presidential debate; it seemed overshadowed by the Wall Street implosion, which wasn’t the kind of dominant theme I had expected. Nor, apparently, had the nominees.
    So we turned to the vice presidential debate, which actually turned out to be more interesting and engaging, to the credit of Mr. Biden and Mrs. Palin.
    Still, I don’t think it helped anyone make up their minds — even if it did, for a brief time, have some of us breathless.

Go to

Huck WOULD like Sarah, wouldn’t he?

Just got this in a release from Mike Huckabee (Yes, he’s still sending out e-mails, raising money for his "Huck PAC."):

I hope that you had a chance to watch the Vice-Presidential Debate tonight and that it reaffirmed all of our beliefs that Sarah Palin is the knock-out punch the McCain-Palin ticket needs to win in November.  Governor Palin is a bright, articulate, talented woman.  She has what I consider to be the most important experience – she is  a Governor and the only one in this race that has actually ever signed the front of a paycheck….

Huckabee would like Sarah Palin, wouldn’t he? Aside from the governor thing, she’s the one person still out there with his populist, common touch.

Of course, Huckabee was a much, much better speaker — probably the most articulate candidate we saw in the past year, with the possible exception of Obama. Obama doesn’t talk to Joe Sixpack quite the same way that came naturally to Huckabee, although he has his own distinctive sort of populist appeal. It was no accident that both of them won Iowa, riding much the same wave.

Sarah’s gams, or, Our nation’s descent into fetishism


The last few weeks, I’ve noticed a kind of image moving on the AP wire that I don’t recall having run across in the annals of photojournalism vis-a-vis presidential campaigns.

Each time I see one of these, I go, Vice_presidential_deb_wart2
"legs!," because, well, that’s the sort of thing I notice. But then, trying to explain what on Earth caused a photo editor to post these (I understand fully why the photographer shot them, but it seems to me more like the sort of thing he would keep to himself, or just share with the guys), I think, "It’s gotta be the shoes." I figure maybe there’s a fashion angle to which I am oblivious. That would be acceptable to women, and therefore the sort of thing an editor might dare to post. I mean, I’ve read that Sarah Palin has had an impact on the eyewear industry; maybe there’s something special about her shoes to which I am oblivious.

But nope; it’s not about the shoes. In fact, no excuse is offered for shooting Sarah Palin in a way that it would never occur to the photog to shoot Joe Biden. Here’s the caption:

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, stands at the lectern during her vice presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008, in St. Louis, Mo. (AP Photo/Don Emmert, Pool)

I guess, despite all these decades of being bludgeoned by the sensitivity crowd, boys will still be boys. I mean, I knew that, but most of us don’t SHOW it show so blatantly.

Breathless over Sarah, but not the way Kathleen Parker meant it


You may recall that in my commentary on Kathleen Parker’s "Palin-should-drop-out" column, I wrote:

Kathleen is able to cite her initial defense of Sarah, then her
breathless tension watching her and hoping she wouldn’t screw up. And
that’s something I can’t possibly identify with — worrying about
someone’s performance because I’m a member of the same demographic.
Maybe I’m too self-centered. But I have had to accept that black folks
do that with Obama, and women do that with Hillary Clinton and/or Sarah
Palin, depending on their proclivities. When I see a white guy out
there succeeding or failing, he’s on his own as far as I’m concerned. I
might agree with him or I might not, but it won’t have anything to do
with which restroom he uses or what boxes he checks off on a census

Well, I found myself breathless at times during the debate — whenever Mrs. Palin was speaking — and was really glad when the whole thing was over. But it wasn’t because I wanted to see a woman succeed. And it wasn’t because I wanted to see McCain’s running mate succeed (his choice of Mrs. Palin is one of the few things about McCain I disapprove of). And it wasn’t because she’s a babe. (even though she was cute, when she wasn’t grating.)

No, it was that phenomenon that comes over me when I’m watching a movie or a TV show, and something’s about to happen that will be enormously embarrassing to the character on the screen, and even if you don’t like the character (although it’s worse if they’re likable), you cringe, because you don’t want to see it. You get embarrassed for the human race; you empathize no matter how much you try not to, and it’s painful.

And the awful part is that you see it coming. Often at such moments, I leave the room. Life is painful enough without having your nose rubbed in contrived discomfort.

As I was typing the above, I was struggling to come up with an example, but one just hit me: I’ve never watched the American version of "The Office," but I’m a big fan of the BBC original. I say that in spite of the fact that the entire second season was just excruciating; David Brent got worse and worse. But in that case, I had to keep watching.

I had to keep watching the debate, too, on account of it being my job. But in the end, it went fine for all concerned. But I was tired, from all the breath-holding.


What did you think of the debate?

My own quick take on it — WAY more interesting than the presidential debate. Higher energy, and more engaging.

Both did well. Of course, that means more in the case of Sarah Palin, because we knew Joe knew his stuff. Joe’s greatest danger was coming off as superior or condescending or ungentlemanly. Sarah’s greatest danger was coming off as she did with Katie Couric. She didn’t, and he didn’t. They both did a fine job.

But what do YOU think?

What’s so hard about speaking English?

Joe, you just said "different than" three times in about 30 seconds. It’s "different FROM" — what’s so hard about that? "Than" expresses a comparison of DEGREE, a quantitative difference. When you’re trying to express a qualitative difference, it’s "different from."

And Sarah — what’s so blasted hard about the word, "nuclear?" Have you been studying at the W. school of elocution?

If I were Joe Biden, I’d be worried about the debate

Eagerjoe_4Don’t get me wrong — I expect Joe to win big-time by MY standards. I’ve always liked and respected Joe,
his tendency toward blarney notwithstanding, and he’s a veteran big-leaguer, while Sarah’s never been out of the sticks. Yes, I could be wrong, I could be shown up the way Max Mercy was when he bet on the Whammer against Roy Hobbs, but I know he’s capable of knocking it out of the park at a time of his choosing.

But it’s not about me, is it? It’s about Josephine Sixpack out there. And despite that dazzling grin of his, Joe’s charm is of a kind that I think is likely to wear thin with the folks in TV land if he shows just how smart he is. And Joe has trouble resisting the temptation to show how smart he is.

We all laugh at the Tina Fey skits about Sarah (those of us who have senses of humor), but only the crueler ones among us want to laugh at her, personally, struggling against a Hall of Famer in such a public and high-stakes ballpark (let me know when you’ve had enough of the baseball metaphors).

Mrs. Palin just needs to cram enough to give a few answers that make common sense. Sure, such a forum is loaded with hurdles that she’s likely to have trouble clearing (just changed sports on you there). But Joe doesn’t just have to get the answers right (which everyone expects him to do). He has to get the tone right, at every step of the way. Now that’s tough, especially for a guy so well known for letting himself get carried away.

Updates from the Palin front

e’ve all been so distracted with serious bidness the last few days that I’ve hardly had a moment to think about Sarah Palin. But I pause now to pass on two things:

  1. I met with Marvin Chernoff over breakfast this morning, and he asked me whether I’d seen the Tina Fey-as-Sarah Palin skit on SNL, and I said I had, but after a moment it hit me that we weren’t talking about the same skit. Turns out she reprised the role Saturday night and I missed it, while Marvin was unaware of the earlier one. Now that I’ve seen the latest (clip above), I’ve got to say it sort of fell flat by comparison, but it would have been hard to match the hilarity of the first effort. It was the funniest thing on that show in decades.
  2. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s op-ed page. Kathleen Parker writes about the tidal wave of vehement reaction she got to her Palin-should-drop-out column the other day.