Wagons (and Wheels Coming Off)

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been on vacation for a few days up in the White Mountains of NH and have been pretty much staying away from politics this week. I arrived at the parents’ house for the last leg of my time off to find that things have changed significantly since I last checked out the political blogs and general campaign news. Obama has opened up the largest lead he has had to date in the polls, and they haven’t yet even taken into account the disastrous interview Sarah Palin had with Katie Couric.

I was pretty surprised to see Jack Cafferty say that having Palin one 72-year-old heartbeat from the presidency should scare the hell out of you.

I first heard Ron Kuby intersperse sections of Miss South Carolina’s infamous speech from the 2007 Miss Teen Pageant with Sarah Palin speaking at a town hall meeting in Michigan. Palin was attempting to answer a question from an audience member who had a very specific and precise question for the VP candidate — what did she bring to the ticket in regard to foreign policy experience. Here’s her answer:

And now I see that people on YouTube are doing the same with the Couric Interview, actually dubbing Miss South Carolina’s words over video of Palin answering the question.

The problem here is that Palin has obviously been “over-coached,” and it has just been too much for her to handle. So what comes out are these jumbled talking points that she’s had poured into her head over the past few weeks since she accepted the nomination.

The litmus test will be whether or not Palin can hold her own against Biden next Thursday in the Vice Presidential Debate. Biden had better be the ultimate statesman, and not get into any trouble for saying anything that could be remotely construed as sexist. He should just answer the questions calmly, just as Obama did tonight, and let Palin hold her own if she can. The key here is to do no damage to the Democratic ticket. If he can do that, he will win, because I highly doubt that Palin will be able to hold HER own. I predict that at least twice next Thursday, we will see a repeat of the “word salad” (to use a phrase from Boston Legal) that has plagued Palin recently. She will have been “overprepared,” and unless she’s a genius who can completely sort out where one talking point ends and the other begins, and in what categories each one belongs, she will look like she’s extremely out of place, and unqualified to lead should anything happen to the president.

As for tonight’s Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, by all accounts, Barack Obama completely held his own on stage with John McCain tonight, and completely nailed him on the fact that he said the Iraq war would be “quick and easy” and that he knew exactly where the Weapons of Mass Destruction (TM) were, and that we would be greeted as liberators. It’s about time SOMEONE nailed SOMEONE for that. So often we forget about these things, and so conveniently for the candidates who said these words at the time. Thank you, Barack Obama, for reminding us that John McCain was part of the crew who claimed these things.

One of the most heated arguments between the two candidates was whether or not Henry Kissinger, one of McCain’s advisers (and, according to McCain, a friend for 35 years), supported high-level administration talks with rogue administrations like Iran with NO preconditions. Obama reportedly claimed Kissinger did support such talks. McCain, using the argument that he knew Kissinger for years, claimed Kissinger did not.

After the debate, Katie Couric noted that this question had come up during her interview with Sarah Palin and said that she had called Mr. Kissinger for clarification on whether or not he supported such high-level talks with no preconditions.

He told Couric that yes, he did support such talks.

Now the question is, why would McCain lie about something like this, and state several times something that he knew not to be true? Or, at the very least, state so strongly something he wasn’t sure about and actually got entirely wrong? Could it be because he lies first and asks questions second? Surely he knew Kissinger’s position on this. I mean, it’s been such a hot-button topic. McCain has made a big deal about Obama’s willingness to have high-level administrative negotiations with leaders of rogue nations (although he claims that Obama would have actual face-to-face talks with these leaders, which is patently untrue). Surely McCain knew that one of his chief advisers agreed with Obama’s strategy, even as he tried to nail Obama for supporting it? Or is that a tactic? See, McCain also claimed Obama didn’t know the difference between a strategy and a tactic.

I think the difference there is pretty easy to spot, and I’m surprised McCain made such a big deal of it. Here, I’ll use the two words demonstrating what I believe their meaning to be. I’m not a college professor, I never attended law school. So perhaps I’ll use them incorrectly. But someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Here goes.

“I think McCain’s tactics in this race have failed so far. Perhaps he should adopt a different strategy?”

UPDATE: Here’s an article where Kissinger directly supported talks with Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program. It mentions, “The opinion of the former secretary of state for Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford differs sharply with that of the current GOP administration, which has maintained a strict policy of not negotiating directly with governments deemed to sponsor international terrorism.” Got the link from this post at Andrew Sullivan’s, ‘Daily Dish’.

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