"Cheney in a skirt" is how one friend described Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday's vice presidential debate. Actually, that would be giving Governor Palin credit for a mite more intellectual firepower than she actually possesses.
Politically, however, it's right on the money, placing her where she is on the extreme right of the GOP evangelical base. For the most part she held her own and certainly performed better than expected. She also outperformed her shaky network TV interview with Katie Couric. However, there was one largely unnoticed "gotcha" moment that stood out to me. When moderator Gwen Ifill asked Palin about last year's congressional bankruptcy bill, her response showed she had no idea what the bill contained:
IFILL: Next question, Gov. Palin, still on the economy. Last year, Congress passed a bill that would make it more difficult for debt-strapped mortgage-holders to declare bankruptcy, to get out from under that debt. This is something that John McCain supported. Would you have?
PALIN: Yes, I would have. But here, again, there have—there have been so many changes in the conditions of our economy in just even these past weeks that there has been more and more revelation made aware now to Americans about the corruption and the greed on Wall Street. We need to look back, even two years ago, and we need to be appreciative of John McCain's call for reform with Fannie Mae, with Freddie Mac, with the mortgage-lenders, too, who were starting to really kind of rear that head of abuse. And the colleagues in the Senate weren't going to go there with him. So we have John McCain to thank for at least warning people. And we also have John McCain to thank for bringing in a bipartisan effort people to the table so that we can start putting politics aside, even putting a campaign aside, and just do what's right to fix this economic problem that we are in.
It is a crisis. It's a toxic mess, really, on Main Street that's affecting Wall Street. And now we have to be ever vigilant and also making sure that credit markets don't seize up. That's where the Main Streeters like me, that's where we would really feel the effects.
Meanwhile, the woman who was selected by John McCain as his running mate may have energized his base, but she's turned off many among the target demographic she was supposed to draw into the McCain camp: women.
"Overall, Palin is viewed favorably by 47 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 40 percent. But her numbers are worse among women than men: 45 percent of all women surveyed have a negative opinion of Palin, compared with 42 percent who view her positively. Fifty-two percent of men have a favorable opinion, while 35 percent are in the unfavorable camp."
I must say I've been back and forth and back and forth on Palin's addition to the ticket. At first I thought it would turn out to be a brilliant move, bringing in many former Clinton supporters. But Palin's policies, ethical problems, and lack of intellectual firepower have proved her to be the anti-Hillary, not worthy of the votes of Clinton's 18 million supporters, nor even a small percentage of them. As the polls are trending against her, she may end up being a drag on McCain rather than an asset.