THE BLOG

Betty Does A Debate

What can one say? John McCain has chosen the Far North's Betty Boop as his running mate. A 72 year-old cancer survivor who has refused any but the most perfunctory look at his health records has chosen as the leader of the free world should he succumb in his first term, a blow-up doll Memorexed full of right wing blurbs o' the moment... "end the corruption and greed on Wall Street... Just get the government out of the way... maverick... hockey mom... no surrender... maverick..."

Palin's first answer sounded as if delivered on a tightrope. You could practically see her arms swinging. She got through it, obviously memorized and rehearsed to death. In fact, she spent the evening alternately vamping and presenting a series of rehearsed speeches designed to eat 90 second chunks of time. Often, the answers had absolutely no relationship to the question asked.

In fact, early on, she literally stated that she wasn't necessarily going to answer the question 'the way you want me to...,' obviously immunizing herself against that fact she might well not know what the question was about. At times, she literally hijacked the debate through her extraordinarily blonde peregrinations through Boop-like stream of consciousness recitations of memorized talking points. An answer on an Iraq question was like a freight train tottering on broken rails. It made it to a stop, but just barely. She suggested a constitutional role for the vice president that simply doesn't exist. One sentence she's demanding that government get out of the way and the next she's demanding greater Wall Street oversight and probably failing to comprehend the mutual exclusivity. She dismisses the "blunders" in Iraq as so much blood under the bridge and does it with a devil-may-care insouciance of voice and body language worthy of the evil spawn of Barbara Bush and Sally Quinn. You'd never think she had a son headed there.

She rails against Iraq withdrawal timelines and says that American commanders will judge when the Iraqis are ready to govern and defend themselves, ignoring the Iraqis (oh, them) until she remembers to blurt Maliki's name at the last moment--still ignoring the fact that he himself has called for an American withdrawal timeline. She said that use of nuclear (excuse me, "nucular") weapons would be the "be all and end all of too many people on the planet." Personally, I think there'd be a lot more "ending" than "being."

Some will see the fact of her making it through the debate sans visible drool as a triumph. I found her coquettish reliance upon "gosh darnits" and "you betchas" as the affectations of a female George Bush--another faux folksy wannabee, another flim-flam woman about to bamboozle the rabble gathered round the medicine show wagon. It worked for him. But I can hope that Americans learned their lessons: When someone sounds like an ignorant rube, that's probably just what she is.