A growing number of columnists are raising the question of whether Sarah Palin could be president if anything happens to John McCain. Given her disastrous series of interviews that is not surprising. What is surprising is how many of the columnists are true-blue conservatives. The distinguished conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, says Palin’s answers are so painful that he can no longer watch her.

Now Bob Herbert in the Times raises explicitly the question of whether Palin should be replaced. He notes that the McCain campaign has done its level best to shield Palin from most serious journalists. He goes on to say that the idea the voters of the United States might install someone in the vice president’s office who is too unprepared or too intellectually insecure to appear on, say, “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation” is mind-boggling.

Surely the alarm bells should be clanging. You wouldn’t put an unqualified pilot in the cockpit of a jetliner. The potential for catastrophe is far, far greater with an unqualified president.

Sarah Palin’s lack of qualifications was most evident in her CBS interviews with Katie Couric. Palin trotted out again the preposterous notion that being able to see Russia from Alaska gave her some kind of insight into Russian affairs.

At the very least the infantile repetition of this bit of trivia as some kind of foreign policy bona fide for a vice presidential candidate should give us pause.

Ms Couric went on and asked Ms Palin to explain how Alaska’s proximity to Russia “enhances your foreign policy credentials.”

“Well, it certainly does.” Ms Palin replied, ” because our, our next door neighbours are foreign countries, there in the state that I am executive of. And there …”

Gently interrupting, Ms Couric asked, “Have you ever been involved in negotiations, for example, with the Russians?”

“We have trade missions back and forth,”. said Ms Palin. “We do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to our state.”

If Palin resorts to this mumbo-jumbo during her debate with Joe Biden Thursday night I predict her candidacy will collapse. I hope the moderator, Gwen Iffil will just let Palin ramble on hanging herself in the process. I also hope that Joe Biden has the grace not to interrupt her.

Can you imagine the situation if Palin were asked a question like this: “In the financial bailout that Congress is now considering would it be better to use public funds or private money?” The verbal carnage from Palin would be something to behold. This has nothing to do with Palin being a woman. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson would have made a fine Republican vice-presidential candidate. It has everything to do with the growing perception that Palin is in over her head.

Palin’s problem is that she uses her memory, not her intellect. Watch her Thursday night frantically trying to consult the cue cards in her head – stuffed their by McCain’s handlers.

It’s true that Palin is now in McCain’s Arizona home being pumped full of information by two of his closest aides. Maybe it would be better to let Palin be Palin.

This much is certain. If Palin gives another Katie Couric performance Thursday night, it would behoove John McCain and the Republican party to put the country first – as Mr. McCain loves to say – and find a replacement for Sarah Palin on the ticket.

Do you agree?


  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    Tick Tock. Unfortunately, McCain is stuck with his rash and unwise selection. To change his running partner at this point would be an admission of incompetence. Besides, that would alienate the large number of people who find her refreshing and “their type of person.” He can’t afford to alienate any. Besides, she appears to be doing the Obama campaign a world of good!

  2. 2
    John Says:

    Neil, what we have to remember is that George Bush’s horrendous approval rating is not just an indictment against George Bush, it’s an indictment against all politicians. The American people are fed up. They’re angry. The bailout fiasco has only heightened these emotions. (Historically, in such times they have simply removed one set of politicians from power and replaced them with another set, but they don’t even seemed inclined to do that this time….although I think they will).

    For many Americans, the choice of Sarah Palin is seen as a slap in the face to all politicians…..and for the average American that’s not a bad thing! They applaud it! In fact, to them when Palin screws up it’s because the politicians have been messing with her head!

    Based on what the average person sees the politicians have accomplished, being able to see Russia from your window seems to make as much sense as the accumulated political wisdom of the last 8 years. Not reading newspapers and magazines seems to make as much sense as reading them (as we know, anger can cloud reason).

    If Palin can successfully draw the apolitical Joe Six Pack (and his/her anger) into the political fray, she is going to make things even more interesting. Who would have thought it eh? And here’s another thing. Joe Six Pack probably won’t be bothered to watch the debate Thurs. night and Palin knows that.

  3. 3
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:


    I am inclined to agree with you. However, if Palin bombs tomorrow night the way she did with Couric, then all bets are off.

    Then McCain will have to decide whether to cut his losses by tossing her overboard for someone like Romney or carry her till election day when most Americans will have decided she cannot possibly be a heart beat from the Oval Office.

    It’s a tough call but I’d be inclined to cut her loose.

  4. 4
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    That’s an interesting analysis, John.

    However, I am hopeful there will be enough blue collar Americans who will refuse to vote for a woman who, when Katie Couric asked her what she read, could not come up with a single title.

  5. 5
    Barbara Says:

    I agree, he should dump her, but he won’t. She confirms his maverick persona and being a maverick allows him to stand apart from Bush.

    I find it curious that men seem to like Palin more than women. Any thoughts on that? I won’t speak for men.

  6. 6
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Barbara –

    I don’t think I want to go there.

  7. 7
    Joe Agnost Says:

    I will Neil: Men like her because she’s manly with a woman’s body. She likes to hunt, she likes hockey, she ~seems~ down to earth. She’s ANTI-feminist.

    All that dressed up in an ex-swimsuit model’s package…

  8. 8
    jim Says:

    Here’s a test about the Palin appointment –
    One week before election day McCain dies.
    Does anyone in their wildest nightmare think that the Republicans would have Palin step up to the plate and run as president?
    If so do you think she would win? If your reply is in the negative on these two questions, then what the hell is she doing running as VP.

  9. Good morrow, all!
    All Joe Biden would have to do is stand back and let SaWah self-destruct before the eyes of everyone watching the debate. If he is truly smart, and can rein in his ego long enough, she will bury herself with her own mouth. The whole thing is one long “Gotcha!” for her.
    I find it interesting that she claims to read every newspaper and magazine that crosses her desk, but cannot name ONE of them to save her life. She also claims that she watched the original Tina Fey satire on her, with the sound OFF, and found it hilarious. Does she appreciate pantomime? Is she an accomplished lip reader? Enquiring minds want to know.
    Perhaps the disclaimer found in the Secret Republican Primer tells the story: Any resemblance between the current Vice-Presidential candidate and a living, breathing, intelligent, educated, prepared and qualified human being is entirely delusional on your part. God loves delusional people — He made so many of them.
    Play it smart, Joe — smile, shoot your cuffs, not your mouth, and let her do the Permafrost meltdown before your, and everyone else’s, very eyes. Barbie on the barbie — now THAT’s global warming. Or so I digress — CTZen

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    “Should McCain replace Palin?”

    Absolutely not! She’s the best guarantee for an Obama/Biden win there ever was!

  11. 11
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Chimera’s got a point!

    I really hope he doesn’t ditch her… in my wildest imagination I couldn’t dream up a scenario that would make a VICE-presidential debate must-see-tv! Seriously! My house could be on fire – I still would find a way to watch this debate tomorrow night!

    The potential for comedy is off the scale! 🙂

  12. 12
    John Says:

    I quite agree with everyone.

    My previous comment was meant to show that McCain has dug himself a helluva hole. He has someone who is very popular (with certain folks) and totally unfit. Because of the former, he will never be able to address the latter. Too bad eh?

    After her snotty performance at the Republican convention, I’d like nothing better than to see her fall on her ass tomorrow night, but as CTZ says, Joe has to be careful not to put her there.

  13. 13
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Do you know Ms Palin has a few things in common with Vladimir Putin? They both love guns and hunt moose. How about an occasion for a warm relationship between the USA and Russia, especially since they are so close neighbours. However, Putin has never claimed he could see Alaska from the Kremlin..although he’d like to get it back.

  14. 14
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    The majority of people have difficulty dealing with complex issues. Palin may have a way of reducing everything to simple black and white issues and steal the show.

    She has knowhere to go but up, up, and not neccessarily away.

  15. 15
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Peter –

    You are most kind Peter.

    I would say Palin has a way of reducing everything to gibberish.

  16. 16
    Chimera Says:

    Peter, this statement of Palin’s would give you a clue as to whether or not she can deal with something as simple as geography:

    “As Putin rears his head and comes into the space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska.”

    If Putin were flying from Moscow to the United States, he would not be flying east to go over Alaska, and then across the entire North American continent to get to DC or New York. He would fly north and go over the pole!

    She’s an idiot. Dan Quayle looks brilliant by comparison.

  17. 17
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Palin is the best and most refreshing thing that has happened to U.S. presidential politics in my lifetime.

    I hope that McCain/Palin wins and that Palin accedes to the presidential soon afterwards.

  18. 18
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:


    I really don’t think you cut it as a comedien.

  19. 19
    Barbara Says:

    Peter, as a former teacher, I know that to reduce complex issues to easily digestible ones, you must understand those issues thoroughly. Otherwise you start to sound like Gov. Palin. I suspect she does not always understand the questions, never mind the answers. As a teacher, I also recognize the student who crams facts without understanding them. She reminds me of students I have taught who did just that. Even in classes where the test average was, say, in the upper 70’s, they would scarcely get a 40%.
    She has a lot of personality. That I will give her.

  20. 20
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Neil, gibberish to you may be the language a majority of the voters understand.

    Chimera, without studying the route, most people would think that Russia being so close to Alaska, USA, he would have to fly over it to go to Washington.

    Barbara, most people like short sharp answers that they can applaud, wright or wrong. I have no doubt you would see the errors in an ill prepared reply.

  21. 21
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    When interviewed by Katie Couric, this is what the candidate said:

    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”

    Of course, the stock market crash happened in ’29, well before the advent of television, so Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t have got on the television like the candidate said.

    What an asinine thing to say! Only a numbskull and an ignoramous could say such a thing!

    Of course, it wasn’t candidate Palin who said this but candidate Biden.

    Had Palin said it, you all would be on her like flees on the regurgitated discharge of Michael Moore after he gorged himself at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

  22. 22
    Barbara Says:

    As Lincoln said: You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. There’s wisdom there. I read today that independents — who arguably will decide this election — think Palin is unprepared for the job by a two-to-one margin.

  23. 23
    exposrip Says:

    Dunno ’bout you but after the debate it’s clear now that the Republicans knew what they were doing. Palin is staying put. I know a few friends of mine who are women (and apolitical for the most part) who love her. She’s real to them.

    No one is replacing anybody. Both made their choices and both VP’s are fine.

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