Why more briefings won't help Sarah Palin


Adam Nagourney has a good story in the New York Times about growing Republican fears that Sarah Palin, the GOP's vice presidential nominee, is going to crash and burn in Thursday's debate with Democrat Joe Biden.

Palin flew to her running mate John McCain's Arizona ranch yesterday to begin three days of intense debate preparations. Will she be ready?

Given Palin's abysmal performance in her recent interview with Katie Couric of CBS, I seriously doubt it. She just doesn't seem like she has given any thought to major issues in economics and foreign policy, ever, and the "gibberish" she utters when forced off her talking points shows it painfully. Nor does she appear to have the base of knowledge necessary to absorb the briefings she is being so desperately given -- something that takes years, not days, to acquire. And that's why this automated computer script (thanks, Andrew) sounds about as intelligible as Palin does. It's why Saturday Night Live could use actual quotes to mock the Alaska governor in a comedy sketch.

As the Atlantic's James Fallows, an Obama supporter, put it after seeing Palin speak with Couric about foreign policy, "After thirty years of meeting and interviewing politicians, I can think of exactly three people who sounded as uninformed and vacant as this. All are now out of office. One was a chronic drunk." The average reader of USA Today would do better, frankly.

I'm sorry if this sounds unduly partisan, folks, but I have to call it like I see it. McCain is a great hero, he has done some good things in the Senate, and he might make a wonderful president. But if he wins, he damn well better stay alive.


Is anybody running this place?

New York Times columnist David Brooks ate his Wheaties this morning:

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed.

So did Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post:

Politicians worry less about preventing a financial meltdown than about ideology, partisan posturing and teaching people a lesson. Financiers have yet to own up publicly to their own greed, arrogance and incompetence. And leaders of foreign governments still think that this is an American problem and that they have no need to mount similar rescue efforts in their own countries.

In the coming weeks and months, all of these people will come to understand how deep the hole really is and how we're all in it together.