It’s been fun beating up on John McCain for picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. As any number of writers, pundits, bloggers, and I have pointed out, she’s uniquely unqualified to be vice president or president. McCain’s decision to put her on the ticket and potentially a heartbeat away from the presidency is unforgivably irresponsible.
The national spotlight is a tough place to be. Speculation about her fifth child’s parentage and her seventeen year old daughter’s private life dominated the news cycle.
Sarah Palin is not Dan Quayle. She can put a sentence together and can get through a speech. She may sound like the girl making Blizzards at the Anchorage Dairy Queen, but she is not without rhetorical skills. And now that her family has come under such close scrutiny, expect her to hit back hard in her acceptance speech at the RNC.
I fully expect her to say the following to a rousing ovation from the Republican delegates:
“I’ve got a wonderful husband who loves me, and five beautiful children. My oldest son is about to deploy to Iraq. I’ve got a daughter in high school. My youngest son has special needs. Todd and I love them all equally and would do anything for them.
The Democrat [sic] Party and their allies in the media and on the Internet have savagely attacked my children and delved into their private lives. So let me make this as clear as I possibly can: my family isn’t running for vice president, I am. Criticize me all you want. But when you attack my family, you’ve gone too far and I won’t stand for it.”
The media will talk about how tough she is and how underestimated she was. They’ll praise her ability to give a speech and hit back hard at her critics. She’ll be the new Hillary — underestimated at first, but smart and formidable.
Of course, she still won’t have given a post-selection interview. She will not have answered any questions about her actual qualifications, philosophy, or knowledge of the world. And she will still be entirely unqualified for the presidency. But she and John McCain will get a lift from her acceptance speech, which the media will praise as tough and evidence of her readiness to be on the national stage.
Expect to see the speech — especially “you’ve gone too far and I won’t stand for it” — in McCain ads.