I listened to the Palin-Biden VP debate on the radio. It turned out much like I thought it would - Biden came across like a guy who knew what he was talking about; Palin came across like someone who had studied really gosh darn hard to try and sound as if she knew what she was talking about.
The bar had been set so low for her performance that even her most passionate supporters (such as Janet Albrechtsen in The Austalian) were forced to come up with responses such as:
She may not win McCain the election come November. But yesterday at Washington University, Palin certainly didn’t lose it for him.
Wow, what a stunning achievement. Compare this to what she was writing about Palin after the convention:
Palin is the perfect VP choice for McCain. Not only for her outsider status, her “hockey-mom” background that speaks to middle America, her history of cutting taxes, taking on the “good ol’ boys network” and tackling political corruption.
So I guess the perfect VP candidate is now just one who won't lose the election...
Since the debate, in which Palin and Biden "tied" because Palin didn't totally stuff up, the Gallup daily poll has seen Obama go from leading 48%-43%, to now being up 50%-42%.
So what to do if you're the Republican Party? Well it's obvious - you go negative. And when I mean negative, I mean go ugly, go personal, and go thisclose to libel.
To whit Palin coming out with the most out of date smear she can - one which links Obama to William Ayers.
William Ayers who wikipedia kindly informs us joined a group in the 60s called The Weathermen which protested (among other things, US involvement in the Vietnam War). As part of this, Ayars
"in 1969, participated in planting a bomb at a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. The blast broke almost 100 windows and blew pieces of the statue onto the nearby Kennedy Expressway." He also "participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and The Pentagon in 1972."
No one was killed in the bombings.
Now ok, not a totally upright citizen, but guess what he is doing now? - Time in jail? Plotting to help Al Qaeda? Nope. He's a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois, College of Education. So not exactly evil incarnate.
But according to Palin, because Ayers supported Obama's first run for office in 1995 and contributed $200 to his campaign in 2001,
Senator Obama "is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country".
Look this has been around all year (Hillary Clinton brought it up in April). If you want to read all about it, The Huffington Post has a whole page full of stories on it.
What it does show is the Republicans have got to the desperate point of the campaign. Forget talking about what McCain will do as President. The Republicans have gone into emergency mode: it will be attack ads from here on out.
It's amazing how similar this campaign feels to the Oz campaign last year. Howard and the Libs went negative and thought it would work because it always had in the past. But unlike John Kerry and the "swiftboat" attacks; I can't see this making a dent in Obama's chances - it's all too obvious - check this from The Washington Post:
Mr. McCain’s advisers said their hope was that the issue of the economy would recede somewhat from the public consciousness, now that Congress has passed a bailout plan, and open the way to try to turn the contest back into a referendum on Mr. Obama’s credentials.
Imagine a candidate thinking he can win office without talking about the economy at the precise moment that that is what all anyone is worried about. It's almost as stupid as hoping Palin's daughter will marry her boyfriend before the election; but there are some McCain advisers who think that will be a good strategy:
“It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider.
“You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
When a side in an election doesn't want to talk about the economy, and thinks the best way of winning is to shut down the campaign for a week; you know they're finished.
Stick a fork in McCain; he's done.
And now for a great laugh check out the SNL version of the VP debate. Brilliant on both Biden and Palin (and if Tina Fey doesn't get an Emmy for her impersonation of Palin the system is stuffed). The best thing is how much of Fey's lines are straight from the debate.