Well, the campaign is over and the back biting will begin in the Republican Party and the McCain/Palin Campaign specifically.  Newsweek has a story, summarized nicely by the Huff Po, about what the real cost of the Neiman Marcus shopping spree was.  And her coming out to speak with McCain advisers in a towel.  People, everybody knows no woman does that sort of thing accidentally.  She was attempting to use sex to get something over on McCain advisors, and I think we all know now why the media in Alaska loved her. . . .

Generally, European governments have a lot of money to spend.  As such, it is probably a tip-off that you might be getting pranked when the aid to Prime Minister Sarkozy hands the phone to the Prime Minister.  They have switchboards for that sort of thing, you know:

And for you non-Vice Presidential nominees, don’t forget to keep updated with Sarah Palin as President:

http://www.palinaspresident.us/

Updated daily!  Don’t forget to keep clicking on the door to the left of the screen.

Oh, the richness.  Sarah Palin tells the Ambassador of Israel to the United States that “We look forward to working with your Jewish Agency.”

Unsubstantiated reports say she added that “we’re really excited to meet you Jewish people, with your Jewish cloths and your funny little Jewish hats.  We gots no Jewish people in Alaska!  Heck, all we gots is Eskimos.  Gots to be careful, no wantz innernational incee-dentz.  Did I mentionz that I nooz you were Joo-ish?  KTHKSBAI.”

Methinks it’s time to take a stroll down Memory Lane at Neiman Marcus before it’s all over, Sarah.

I mean, you don’t need a degree to call yourself an intellectual.  There’s no Devry Institute program you need to complete and there’s no Sally Strothers-approved at-home learning program like there is for really important things, like gunsmithing.

Still, I have to say I find it surprising that Alaska Governor, Miss Alaska Runner-up and Republican Clothing Mogul Sarah Palin also considers herself to be an intellectual.  I gotta say: did NOT see that one coming.

With all that discussion on the Internet and in the media has been centered around Sarah Palin’s $150,000 shopping spree on the Republican dime, I’ve been surprised to find that no one I’ve read so far as made the point that this is really just Palin playing to type.  Maybe the point has been made but I’ve not read it, in which case this will be – like most of the media, traditional and not – redundant.

But it seems to me that from getting Walt Monegan fired; to taking her $50 a day stipend from the Alaska taxpayers for staying home; to jetting her kids around on the Alaska dime; to talking about the Vice Presidency like it’s a bullwhip on the Congress; to this latest shopping escapade and beyond, money and power seems to be all that Sarah Palin has ever looked for from holding public office.  To date, I have not seen so much as a single swatch of objective evidence to suggest that she’s ever felt any more noble calling which compelled her to public service of any kind.  Unless, of course, you count the fact that Jesus apparently wanted her to do it.  But then, Jesus’ record for calling people to action has been at best a spotted record, indeed.

The McCain Campaign will try to keep this incident isolated to one unfortunately timed shopping spree.  And hey, if they want the subject to be about her going on a shopping spree when she gets the chance at the same time as the rest of the economy goes into recession, that’s fine with me.  But the truth certainly seems to run much, much deeper than that.  Or perhaps, it’s much more shallow.

I’ve just finished up an article on the Troopergate matter in Alaska involving our favourite girl, Sarah Palin.  For those of you who need a refresher on what exactly is going on, this article should probably serve as a good Clift’s Notes version.  And there are also a few other gems I’ve found around the net that haven’t made it into wide circulation, such as this one:

» Palin Attempts to Circumnavigate Troopergate Investigation || DFE News Roundup » DFE News Updates

Specifically, the Seattle Times is reporting that Todd Palin’s affidavit states that the alleged disagreement between the Palins and Monegan was over, among other things, the use of Alaska’s state trooper airplane. Todd Palin claimed that “It seemed that whenever Sarah needed this plane, it was unavailable.” Palin suggested that Monegan may have been retaliating for the Palin’s decision to sell the plane often used by the Public Safety department. This was the plane Sarah Palin has insisted on the stump was sold by her on eBay.

Helpfully, someone on YouTube took the time to split the entire debate up by question, posting each question as it’s own video.  This makes it much easier for the rest of us to hone in on the points of the debate we thought were important.  Go check it out, after you read this post, of course.

One thing that struck me quite clearly in the debate which did not get picked up yet in the mainstream media is Sarah Palin’s response to the question about what would change in a Palin Administration, should the elected president ever kick it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydnESMZ-WSE

The first half minute of her ninty second answer is largely prologue.  She agrees what a tragedy it would be if either party’s president died, she banters on, making stall talk while she steers the ship where she wants it to go.  She throws in the cheesy grin she’s known for and shrugs off the inevitable “mavrickiness” of her party’s ticket.  She throws in a few bullet points about how John McCain really wants her opinion (sure he does, honey) and some crap about ANWAR.

Like I said: prologue.  It’s pretty clear from the tone of her voice that this is all perfunctory stuff before she gets to what she really wants to talk about: herself.  From here through the next fifty nine seconds, she talks about how Washington needs a little “Main Street Wasilla” in order to get it’s shit straight.  Where everything else is halting and weird, once she starts talking about herself, she’s in the groove and you almost forget that she’s second banana.

You can almost see her leaving Grandpa McCain at her brother’s house while she goes off on her little National Lampoon’s Vacation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkbYDFlINM

Late Update: Sarah Palin, discussing the decision by the McCain Campaign to pull out of Michigan, says that if the McCain camp can’t do it all by themselves, why by golly, Todd and Sarah want to give it a try.  ‘Cuz ya know, them McCain folks is messin up the works, doncha know. . .

This is a much more difficult debate to score than the first presidential one.  The reason is simple: there really weren’t many punches landed in the presidential, but there were tons on both sides in this one.

But I have to say, whomever ends best often wins, in the opinion race.  I got very worried for a minute because towards the end, Sarah Palin really started scoring some serious points.  But Joe’s response about his child stole the thunder of Palin, not that he was using it, but it did.  And his ending was supreme in its reach into Middle America.  I think it was probably very effective.

Very few people expected Sarah Palin to be specific about anything, and she didn’t disappoint.  But worse, she couldn’t answer questions and decided to just say whatever she wanted to whenever she wanted to.  I don’t think it came off well.  That’s especially true for the answer to the question of “what is your biggest flaw.”  No one expects an honest self-critique, but you have to couch it in some sort of humility, like Joe did.  It was out of control.

We’ll have to see what the big replays are to know who won.  But as I watch Tweety on MSNBC, it seems like the pundit class is not pleased at all with her performance.

I should probably mention the expectations game.  On this level, I’d say Sarah Palin mostly won. She didn’t come off as a drooling idiot, which is definitely an improvement.  But was it enough?  I’m not sure.  If you’re looking for competence, you have to say that she didn’t even bother most of the time to even play by the rules of the debate because she couldn’t answer the questions.

But she definitely got some serious shots in towards the end and she definitely proved herself quite a skilled debate competitor.  No one can take that away from her.

The trouble for the campaign is that the recent downturn in the polls had nothing much to do with Palin, even though her numbers have dropped along side the ticket.  The problem has been the economy and John McCain’s erratic, irrational responses.  On this level, Biden did tremendously.  Much better than I’ve ever seen him, in fact.  His ability to speak to the problems of Middle America in a real way – as opposed to Palin’s patronizing and placating way – was a force to be reckoned with.

If the American people are looking for answers – and I’m pretty sure they are – then the Biden responses, which dripped with fact and figure, must have come off well.  If they’re looking for style over substance, Palin wins.

Again, we shall see.

Visitors please note: refresh your browser every so often to see this thread updated.  Thanks, and enjoy!

Debate starts in ten, finishing up Survivor.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

Oh, yeah: I think Ace’s accent is fake.  There.  I said it.

8:59 ~ OMG, someone just rickrolled MSNBC!  “Never gonna give you up” sign behind Keith Olbermann prior to the debate.  It’s gonna be a good night, I can tell.

9:06 ~ Yes, Sarah Palin.  Fear.  Fear of your party.  John McCain’s bipartisan solution?

9:08 ~ OK, new rule: Vice Presidents and vice presidential nominees are not allowed to give the camera the wink and the gun.

9:10 ~ It’s not the American people’s fault that the economy is in trouble, but we should take it on ourselves to fix it?  So sez Sarah.

9:14 ~ Go Joe!!!  Nail her to the wall.  And she’s “still on the tax thing.”  And she admits she won’t answer questions?  WTF?

9:18 ~ Clearly, Sarah Palin does not know what patritoism is.  It may or may not be patriotic to pay taxes, but it surely isn’t telling government to fuck off.  Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it’s not patriotic.

9:21 ~ BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Bridge to Nowhere!

9:23 ~ She’s trying very hard to stick to her talking points and it’s causing her to veer off the subject wildly.

9:27 ~ TIMBER!!!  She’s comin’ down soon.  The windfall tax thing shook her, good.  Joe’s really stickin it to her.

9:27 ~  What did Sarah Palin just say she and John agree to?  I gotta rewind the tape when I get a chance.

9:31 ~ “It’s just God hugging us closer.”  If you’re not willing to talk about what’s causing the problem, how can you fix it?  Meanwhile, if you’re wanting to limit emissions, doesn’t that mean you by proxy acknowledge the cause is man made?  Yeah!  What Joe just said!

9:34 ~ Largest and most expensive infrastructure project in Alaska?  How expensive?  How does it compare to the Bridge to Nowhere.

9:37 ~ Same sex mariage question is a sticky one, its good to see that both candidates have some sensitivity to the subject.  Even if Sarah Palin merely pays it lip service, it’s good to see that Conservatives in this country are forced to do that much.

9:42 ~ “With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan.”  Uh-oh, she’s stuttering and talking about “retreat.”  Falling back to talking points and it’s obvious she is.

9:47 ~ I do wonder if people are interested in the fact that Joe Biden is answering questions and Sarah Palin is repeating talking points?  I’ve seen people (John Kerry) win debates and lose the election (sorta), because people aren’t really listening.  Is that what’s happening now?

Sarah Palin just comitted John McCain to “diplomacy” with Iran.  More than once, now.  “Hard work by serious people.”  Goes to my point: we need serious people.

9:54 ~ Is Joe advocating changing the regiems of Lebanon and West Bank?

9:55 ~ Palin ducks another one, asserting that the Bush Administration hasn’t failed in the Middle East (it has), but not saying why.  She also just ducked out of saying when using nuclear weapons is acceptable by talking about Iran.

10:02 ~ NOoooo!  Don’t talk about authorizing the war!!

10:03 ~ Snarky biatch!

10:06 ~ Note to Joe: stop defending, start attacking.  She’s got you in her sights.

10:08 ~ Sneaking in the Bush Doctrine was a good choice.

10:09 ~ And again calling herself a maverick.  That’s incredibly sad.

10:10 ~ Wait, she was asked to say what she’d do if McCain died.  Instead, she just pitched herself for president on entirely separate grounds.  “Wasila Main Street.”  Which, by the way, is probably twenty feet long.  Joe’s gotten back to his Scranton roots, which is good.

10:15 ~ Palin is dancing around the Vice President’s role, but she insists that there is “flexibility.”  Actually, the Vice President’s role is not defined.  Strictly speaking, that means he doesn’t have one.

10:19 ~ “Shining city on the hill” is from a sermon.  That’s a religious song.  Sung in a church.  Idiot.

10:21 ~ Joe’s speech about his family is probably the most powerful thing I’ve seen in presidential politics.  Sarah Palin’s response is quite hollow in comparison.  More talking points and buzz words.  Thank goodness, she’s returning to type.

10:24 ~ Joe’s fighting back hard and looking passionate and I think he’s probably reaching a lot of people.

10:25 ~ Joe’s baiting with Roe. (v Wade, not fish eggs.)

10:30 ~ “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. . . ” Oyie.

10:32 ~ That was an amazing wrapup from Joe Biden.

I’m not sure that this whole “free Sarah Palin” movement has proven to be such a good idea.  The original idea was that by allowing her to get face time with reporters, she could be her effervescent self and charm them.  Granted, most of the interview segments we’ve seen have been from the same day, but honestly, take a look at this recently released bit:

Now, this is not a question of foreign policy.  It’s not complicated macro-economic stuff and it’s certainly not as tricky as being asked what you read.  This is also not foreign territory for Sarah Palin.  Abortion and Pro-Life issues have been a standard for Palin since her candidacy was announced and well before.  She’s campaigned on this platform long before she became the Vice Presidential Candidate to the Republican Party.

But what we see here is a person who has either not bothered to think too deeply on an issue she’s long held forth on, or at best a person whose not bothered to think through how to communicate her position.  My feeling is that the latter is over-generous.  It’s not a question of whether I agree with her – in fact, I’m not even sure what her position actually is, entirely – its that there’s a listless quality to this monologue that seems reluctant to stake out any position whatsoever on the issue.  Isn’t it a little late for that?