LACK OF GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
If your campaign is having trouble and being criticized in the press, does it really make sense to send one of your candidates out onto the stump and write openly defensive statements into her speech? The McCain team apparently thinks so. Here's Sarah Palin yesterday:
...her comments on Sunday were far more gentle, couched in nearly-apologetic language.
"It's not negative and it's not mean-spirited in a campaign for me to ask you to check out our opponent's record, and I would ask you to check out our opponent's record on a couple of the legislative opportunities that Barack Obama has had to reflect his feelings on the same issue that I just talked about," Palin said. "I'm not being negative, not mean-spirited, but please check out his record on partial birth abortion and on the Child Born-Alive Act, and I'll let you judge for yourself."
If Obama's people were in this position, they'd just retool the stump speech and Obama would deliver the new words with head held high. No drawing attention to any rough patches the campaign's going through. No flop sweat. But the McCain people can't bear not acknowledging the criticisms from McCain's longtime base. And sothey look desperate.
And I'm not sure I get the point of this:
"Help me Ohio to help put John McCain in the White House," Palin said. "He understands... For one thing, we know who the bad guys are, OK? We know, we know that in the war, it's terrorists, terrorists who hate America and her allies and would seek to destroy us, and the bad guys are those who would support and sympathize with the terrorists. They do not like America because of what we stand for: liberty, freedom, equal rights. Those who sympathize and support those terrorists who would seek to destroy all that it is that we value, those are the bad guys, ok?"
"Now in the economic crisis that we're in, we know there, too, who the bad guys are," Palin continued. "In this time of economic crisis, we know it's been those who have been greedy and corrupt and arrogant and have taken advantage of hardworking honest Americans, and just as important though, we know who the good guys are, and it is you, and we will fight for you, and we will put government on your side. We will end the arrogant and the selfish practices of Washington and of Wall Street because your United States government is to be of the people, by the people, for the people. Let us make it so again."
I'm reading Nixonland, so I think I know what this "we know who the bad guys are" means -- it means "We still think it's 1968, and crime is rising and liberal Democrats are blaming 'society' rather than criminals. And we're going to apply that template forever, and accuse Democrats of blaming the victims in every situation till the end of time."
Which is bizarre because Americans actually know who the biggest of the bad guys is, and they know Barack Obama knows, and they know McCain and Palin don't: Bush. The woman saying "we know who the bad guys are" is one of the few remaining members of a dwindling cult who won't blame Bush.
(And the old-school Republicanism is bizarre because Palin was four years old in 1968, and Steve Schmidt hadn't even been born. But Republicans of their generation are more Nixonian than their elders.)
One more thing:
The enthusiastic Ohio crowd added a new slogan to Palin’s remarks when pushing for more coal mining by chanting "Mine, Baby, Mine," a takeoff of the “Drill, Baby, Drill” chant that's a staple of Palin rallies...
"Mine, Baby, Mine. Ok, I'm bringing that all across the U.S. Do you mind if I plagiarize that? Thank you. That is a good one," Palin said, drawing applause and cheers from the crowd.
Yeah, "Mine, Baby, Mine" -- what Palin thinks when she looks at the Republican Party.