October 03, 2008

Palin and the People

NR?s announcement of ?Palin?s Triumph? makes the blue-bordered standard bearer of the conservative movement seem pretty desperate right now. But it?s true, Sarah was able to hold her own in last night?s VP debate.

Non-sequiturs and incoherent and platitudinous ramblings were held to a minimum?at least nothing as spectacular as ?When Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of America? was heard. And, well, sometimes it was hard not to fall for her down-home adorableness?wink, wink.

In Palin?s mostly forgettable closing statement, she seemed to reference the Katie Couric debacle by talking of her desire to bypass the liberal media and speak directly to the American public. Whenever clips of Nixon are shown today in any of those nightly news ?flashback? segments, it?s usually the ?I?m not a crook? bit or some image of him sweaty, nervous, and bearing 5 o?clock shadow during the debate with Kennedy. Many forget how this seeming televisual nightmare was able to connect rather directly and viscerally with the man on the street (or MARs), from ?Checkers? to the ?Silent Majority?. Palin has the same capability. 

But then winking at the real, patriotic, traditionalist America is something that works only once you?re in office. Palin ain?t there yet, and her ticket?s chances are dwindling. Palin didn?t need merely to hold her own last night, or seem ?plausible,? or remind people that she?s authentic, she needed to win and do it convincingly. Or at least, she required Joe Biden to offer her the gift of some particularly bizarre gaffe or browbeating effort (and, alas, the Delaware senator didn?t deliver.)

I don?t think it?s at all fair to blame Bush for Wall Street?s economic woes, the problems are much more systemic. However, the demos usually ?thinks? about things in terms of big personalities: If the economy goes south, that means Bush screwed it all up, and we need a new guy in there to ?fix it.? Palin and McCain aren?t the ones the great unwashed are turning to right now. 

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