Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sarah Quaylin

Jonathan Chait, The New Republic: Sarah Quaylin
Actually, Dan Quayle is looking pretty good right now.

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I've gotten confused about all the reasons I'm supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his "celebrity." But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The "celebrity" attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep. (Coldest state, hottest governor, read signs at her rallies.) With her hunky husband, touching family life and plucky personal story, she is the candidate of the People. And by People, I mean People magazine.


In lieu of opening Palin to regular questioning from the press corps, of the sort the other three candidates have all undergone many times before, the McCain campaign is helpfully leaking positive appraisals of her studiousness. "Despite the worries, [Palin] struck many campaign officials as more calm and cerebral than expected," reported Newsweek. "She was quick to ask questions, and to 'engage in a back and forth' with briefers." See, the McCain campaign says she's on the ball. That settles it, right?

But, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, this admiring appraisal of the prospective veep's intellect struck a familiar chord. With a quick search, I discovered that, indeed, the same was said of Dan Quayle in 1988. Twenty years ago, The Washington Post reported, "Bush aides, who were getting their first in-depth exposure to Quayle, were impressed by his attention span, the quality of his questions and the facility with which he moved through the agenda."

Deep as a puddle.

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