Glenn Greenwald, who is almost always on the money, penned an interesting piece retracting his initial assessment of Sarah Palin. He had been in the "wait and see" column several weeks ago regarding whether her inexperience necessarily meant that she was an empty vessel. In fact, he made a reasonable case that there were some aspects of Palin's background that were positives:
I admire the fact that she created her political career out of nothing, with no parental connections or vast family wealth assisting her (the fact that Barack Obama did the same thing was, in my view, one of the very few meaningful differences between him and Hillary Clinton). I still think her selection was a very politically shrewd move by the McCain campaign. And I remain largely unbothered by her so-called "lack of experience" for the same reason that this has never bothered me about Obama -- someone's judgment, intellect and views are infinitely more important than how long they've held various political posts, and the fact that someone largely exists outside the Washington establishment is, in my view, a positive -- the further away the better.
But then came the Couric interview, and suddenly the Wasilla beauty queen behind the curtain was, sadly, revealed.
Sarah Palin's performance in the tiny vignettes of unscripted dialogue in which we've been allowed to see her has been nothing short of frightening -- really, as I said, pity-inducing. And I say that as someone who has thought from the start that the criticisms of her abilities -- as opposed to her ideology -- were much too extreme.
One of two things is absolutely clear at this point: she is either (a) completely ignorant about the most basic political issues -- a vacant, ill-informed, incurious know-nothing, or (b) aggressively concealing her actual beliefs about these matters because she's petrified of deviating from the simple-minded campaign talking points she's been fed and/or because her actual beliefs are so politically unpalatable, even when taking into account the right-wing extremism that is permitted, even rewarded, in our mainstream. I'm not really sure which is worse, but it doesn't really matter, because with 40 days left before the election, both options are heinous.
...What seems most likely is that she's perfectly conversant in the exceedingly narrow and parochial range of issues she's concerned herself with as Wasilla Mayor and Alaska Governor -- oil drilling on the North Slope, specific local budget items, corruption issues inside the Alaskan State GOP, and evangelical and religious matters. She really doesn't seem to have any thoughts about anything outside of that -- or if she does, she is suppressing them -- and is thus capable of spouting little more than empty right-wing slogans.
I tend to believe it's a) and b). When she goes off the cuff, as she did regarding her recent statement about Pakistan, it's an epic bomb. McCain had to reverse her statement for her in the most disingenuous, sleazy way we've come to expect from the the 2008 No-Straight Talk Express.
Sen. John McCain retracted Sarah Palin's stance on Pakistan Sunday morning, after the Alaska governor appeared to back Sen. Barack Obama's support for unilateral strikes inside Pakistan against terrorists.
"She would not...she understands and has stated repeatedly that we're not going to do anything except in America's national security interest," McCain told ABC's George Stephanopoulos of Palin. "In all due respect, people going around and... sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that's--that's a person's position... This is a free country, but I don't think most Americans think that that's a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin."
Saturday night, while on a stop for cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia, Palin was questioned by a Temple graduate student about whether the U.S. should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin said.
She's a disaster no matter how you slice it, and the fact that McCain's willing to bleat that flaming pile of crap as a defense on the air, is incredible and desperate.