Thursday, October 23, 2008


Chuck Todd has seen them together in person and I haven't, so I guess he should know, but I don't see this:

Commenting on a new joint interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd described the Republican ticket as lacking cohesion, chemistry, and (he hinted) trust.

"There was a tenseness," Todd told MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "I couldn't see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. I felt as if we grabbed two people and said 'here, sit next to each other, we are going to conduct an interview.' They are not comfortable with each other yet." ...

"When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?" asked the highly regarded NBC newsman....

Here's the clip of the Brian Williams report. The joint interview starts about two minutes in.

They may not be best buds, but I think there's a connection. Early on, Palin can barely suppress a smile, beaming at Gramps as he pulls out the "got 'em where we want 'em" line and talks about what a wonderfully respectful campaign they're running against Obama. Palin then nods repeatedly in delight when McCain lists all the differences between himself and the evil, scary, dangerous opponent he respects so much.

Prompted by Williams, they spend much of the rest of the interview trying to outdo each other in capturing the sheer enormity of Joe Biden's recent remarks about the likelihood of a global crisis early in an Obama term -- was this merely the most astonishing and terrifying thing ever said in American political history, or since man first walked erect? (OK, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.) The point of Biden's statement about Obama -- that whoever tests him is "going to find out this guy's got steel in his spine" -- is never mentioned, of course. And watch McCain's delight when Palin brings up Biden's past praise of McCain, as if Biden's current criticisms of McCain are irrelevant.

This is the bond between Palin and McCain: they're both energized by the process of trashing their opponents and distorting the facts. McCain's energized because he believes that the attempt to deprive McCain of the presidency -- his due -- is an act of insolence on Obama's part; Palin's just amorally, monomaniacally ambitious. They may not be pals, but they have angry self-interest in common.

Near the end, there's a bit of what seems like tension when Palin misstates the number of secretaries of state who've endorsed McCain -- the number is five, not four -- but I think McCain is just brooding: Dammit, I have the overwhelming support of the foreign policy mandarins, but this Democratic puppy gets all the credit for one goddamn endorsement!

I don't think it's tension. In general I think they're fine together -- at least when they're focused on the array of forces they think are depriving them of their due.

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