Palin Gets the Gift of Low Expectations

Bumped for discussion (and great video) - roxy

Originally posted 2008-10-01 07:15:52 -- updated with Biden/Palin video and bumping for our preparation on the debate tomorrow night - cho

Thinking about tomorrow night's Vice Presidential debate, I realized that no matter how badly, how stutteringly badly Palin does, she's bound to do better than the low, low bar of expectations.

She's done so poorly to date and has been so ridiculed that even conservative Republicans are hitting the mute button; she has been so awful that she cannot possible fail to do better and charm Americans who will now see her as "not as bad as all that."

First a recap of the reports so far: The NewYorkTimes tells us The Approach is NOT working so a new strategy is brewing. "Her halting interview with Katie Couric on CBS News alarmed many Republicans and gave fodder for a devastating parody on Saturday Night Live."

I didn't realize, of course, when I first saw Tina Fey's rendition of Palin on Couric, that Fey was using Palin's exact words.

Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that Palin was so bad, that McCain had to dump his date with Letterman and come to Palin's rescue on the next Couric interview:

Sounds as if she made another hit -- at least from the comments:
"If i live next to the ocean and watch the ships sail by, does that make me qualified to captain the Queen Mary???"

Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria wrote

"Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president" ...

"She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start."

Even Republican speechwriters are bailing (oops, not a good word to use these days) on her:

I think she has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a conservative columnist, said in an interview.

So what are the new strategies?

In a San Francisco Gate blog post, Joe Garofoli reports that Mitt Rommney seems to think that if Sara Palin is set free, folks will just like what they see in the woman he feels knows about people's home and such. (Too bad he left out the word, "barefoot," and the good lord knows he couldn't use "pregnant" without a howling uproar.) As Rommney said:

Look, she wasn't selected by John McCain because she's an expert in foreign policy," he added. "John McCain's the expert in foreign policy. She's a person who identifies with people with homes across America.

However, according to the NYTimes' piece, she's been sequestered for three days now with McCain's people at McCain's home in Sedona, Arizona.

And the McCain campaign appears to be leaving nothing to chance. Ms. Palin will spend her preparation time at Mr. McCain’s vacation compound in Sedona, with her husband and children. She is practicing for the debate with Steve Beigun, a former staff member of Mr. Bush’s National Security Council; Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy aide; Mark Wallace, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign; and Ms. Wallace, who was a communications director in the Bush White House.

And, as the Tuesday NYTimes article suggested:

Several Republicans said that all of this could ultimately play to Ms. Palin’s benefit, lowering expectations for her so much that a mediocre performance in the debate could be hailed as a success.

“Thanks to the mainstream media, quite a low expectation has been created for her performance,” said Ron Carey, chairman of Minnesota’s Republican Party. “The style of Sarah Palin is going to amaze people. She is going to be able to amaze people with the substance she is going to deliver.”

But then again, today's Couric discussion with Biden and Palin isn't exactly making the lady look Vice Presidential.

Thoughts? Will the debate serve to help Palin because she can't possible do worse than she already has?

No votes yet


There's a fundamental disconnect in the talking points, where "if Palin does a mediocre job, then she did well" is the mindset; she's running for Vice President, not student council.

If she's not qualified to engage in debates at this level, and doesn't have the knowledge of world history and events such that she needs to be intensely "coached to the test" (a la 'no child left behind' mentality), then she's simply proving that she -- and the Republican party -- have no business running the nation or making decisions that impact or affect millions of people.

but it seems in this world, a not so bad equates to a good enough --- maybe I have just caught Susie's cynicism.

Is the expression recently used by James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times as he attempted to describe Sarah Palin's responses to Katie Couric's questions.

Palin talks to Couric -- and if she's lucky, few are listening
by James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times

Palin's unblinking certitude gave way at other times in the interview to a striking imprecision, as when she struggled to respond to Couric's suggestion that the $700-billion bailout might be better funneled through middle-class families instead of Wall Street firms.

"That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in . . ." Palin began, before meandering off in fruitless pursuit of coherence.

It's hilarious. It's also painful.

Chris saw an Anderson Cooper piece that was posted on Huf. Post, that shows that Russia is not visible from Mainland Alaska. He says it's devestating. I think it's a YouTube.

I heard Biden speak and he is the kind of speaker who connects with the audience. I imagine that he can hold his own in debating SP, with regard to having a straight-shooter, stand-up-guy image. It's not like he is a Lloyd Bentsen zombie type (and Bentsen did win that debate with his great your not JFK rejoinder).


Native Alaskans who don't have TVs and didn't know who Sarah Palin was. They were very poor and said she'd never visited the island.

You cannot cram a lifetime of knowledge into someone in three days, especially if that someone is not well-educated to begin with. They are going to rehearse a series of set talking points and a bunch of zingers. I don't think she has the intellectual flexibility to adapt her talking points effectively to unexpected turns of events. Biden is quite adept and will steer her into unfamiliar territory (like the island Cooper visited)at every opportunity.

However many zingers she prepares, Biden will spontaneously out-zinger her.

It doesn't seem like the country is falling for the adorable schtik. Looks like they want a VP, not a homecoming queen.

Good reason to be I guess, I am a registered Democrat.

"... one 72-year-old heartbeat away ..."

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If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little. ~ George Carlin

I'm just hoping she picks Jesse Ventura for her Vice President and that former baseball pitcher for say her Secretary of Defense. Maybe she can haul in Arnold Schwarzenegger for her Secretary of State. Too bad top gun Duke Cunningham is in jail. He would have made a lovely Chief of Staff and kept that White House hopping with parties.

Might as well just go all the way.

we may have a race for who is more cynical these days!