Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Expectations Game

Joe Biden has served in the Senate for 35 years. He is considered one of the most compelling speakers of our generation. Sarah Palin can hardly string a sentence together without a teleprompter nearby. So why is it that most of the media advice being dished out to the VP candidates is being offered to Biden?
The latest installment of Sarah Palin's train wreck with Katie Couric has left observers wondering just how low the bar can be set for tomorrow's debate with Joe Biden. (Her inability to name a single newspaper is all the more remarkable given she majored in journalism.) The toughest assessments are coming from
conservatives like David Frum, reported in the New York Times:
“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.
Pundits are asking whether she gets by if she simply manages to stay upright and speak in complete sentences. One might think, given her abysmal performance with the fearsome Couric, that much of the free advice would be offered to Palin: Take a deep breath; just try to make one point at a time... But remarkably, most of the advice seems to be focused on telling Biden not to be too mean to her. (I do like the advice to shut up and give her as much time as possible.)
Back in the day when we were talking about mooseburgers and lipstick, all Palin needed to do was show up and entertain us. But the turmoil in the financial system has rudely reminded us that we might want a vice president who actually follows current events. Spunky was fun for a couple of weeks, but now we've got a serious crisis on our hands. We don't require our leaders to all have advanced degrees in finance or economics, but someone who reads a newspaper now and then would be reassuring.


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